German Colonialism Revisited
African, Asian, and Oceanic Experiences
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
Nina Berman, Klaus Mühlhahn, and Patrice Nganang
Abdulrazak Gurnah’s novel Paradise (1994) chronicles the young life of Yusuf and his coming-of- age during the period of German colonialism in East Africa. The Germans, though, do not play a major role in this tale about political, social, economic, and cultural relations between various ethnicities and religious...
Part 1. Interactions
Architecture with a Mission: Bamum Autoethnography during the Period of German Colonialism
Itohan I. Osayimwese
The Bamum Kingdom of western Cameroon held a prominent place in the German colonial imagination from the first official encounter between the two groups in 1902 until the expulsion of German nationals from Cameroon in 1915. Western scholarly knowledge of Bamum history has been the result of...
“The Germans cannot master our language!” or German Colonial Rulers and the Beti in the Cameroonian Hinterlands
Germain Nyada and Translated by Amber Suggitt
In July 1884 a treaty was signed between German and local leaders in “Cameroons.” This led to the territory being placed under German “protection.” The treaty dealt only with the coastal area that was under joint control of local agencies. The leaders Jim Ekwalla (alias King Dido), Bell (alias Ndumb’a...
Sex and Control in Germany’s Overseas Possessions: Venereal Disease and Indigenous Agency
Daniel J. Walther
After Germany gained territories in Africa and the Pacific in the 1880s, the introduction of colonial rule brought political, economic, and social disruption to the populations directly and indirectly under German rule. One area where this was particularly evident was in the spread of sexual transmitted diseases...
Ruga-ruga: The History of an African Profession, 1820–1918
The caravan trade, to a certain extent, anticipated the responses of African societies toward the establishment of colonial rule. Germans often traveled along the same routes that were used by the caravans; their expeditions considerably relied on the infrastructure of that trade.1 Following this line of argument I investigate...
Bomani: African Soldiers as Colonial Intermediaries in German East Africa, 1890–1914
Between about 1890 and 1900, African soldiers (askari) of the German colonial army (Schutztruppe) in East Africa carried out the conquest of German East Africa. Once established at colonial military outposts (bomas) across the territory, Schutztruppe officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and civilian...
Pioneers of Empire? The Making of Sisal Plantations in German East Africa, 1890–1917
Hindorf’s conviction came true, and sisal’s rise to prominence, which had begun in German East Africa (GEA), continued unabated for almost three-quarters of a century, after the end of German colonial rule in the area. Sisal plantations rose from 1 in 1893 to 54 by 1913, and production jumped from a...
“Zake: The Papuan Chief”: An Alliance with a German Missionary in Colonial Kaiser-Wilhelmsland (Oceania)
The most renowned theoretician of Oceania, Epeli Hau’Ofa, was not content with discussions that focused on Oceania as a place of merely colonial exploitation and suppression. Although he taught his students to be aware of the devastating and persistent consequences of colonialism, to him the sole focus...
Part 2. Resistance, Anti-colonial Activism, and the Rise of Nationalist Discourses
Germany and the Chinese Coolie: Labor, Resistance, and the Struggle for Equality, 1884–1914
The Chinese coolie was a prominent figure in the three decades of German colonial history: as a commodity, as indentured laborer, and in discourse.2 German shipping companies and agents had long been active in coolie transfer and transportation, but it was only after Bismarck agreed to the German Empire’s...
The Other German Colonialism: Power, Conflict, and Resistance in a German-speaking Mission in China, ca. 1850–1920
Ever since research on mission history passed from the hands of the mission societies and theologians into those of historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and so on—that is, since about the 1960s—two major approaches have developed. The earlier of the two focused on the role of Christian missions within...
Nationalism and Pragmatism: The Revolutionists in German Qingdao (1897–1914)
German Qingdao (1897–1914) was the urban area of the German Kiautschou Leasehold (Jiao’ao Leasehold in Chinese), which was occupied by the Germans in 1897 and was leased under force from Shandong Province of China in 1898. Recent scholarship on German Qingdao has focused on the complexity...
Anti-colonial Nationalism and Cosmopolitan “Standard Time”: Lala Har Dayal’s Forty Four Months in Germany and Turkey (1920)
B. Venkat Mani
Cosmopolitanism—as a philosophical ideal, political value, subject of epistemological inquiry, principle of conceptual organization of communities and collectives, and above all, an empowering phenomenon that helps overcome and/or transcend the material and symbolic confines of allegiance to the nation-state...
Acting Cannibal: Intersecting Strategies, Conflicting Interests, and the Ambiguities of Cultural Resistance in Iringa, German East Africa
About eight months earlier, on 28 December 1908, ten indigenous persons had been put to trial. They were found guilty not only of murdering a number of women, men, and children but also of consuming the flesh of their victims. Captain Ernst Nigmann, who had conducted the trial and served as...
The “Truppenspieler Show”: Herero Masculinity and the German Colonial Military Aesthetic
Following the defeat of German troops in South West Africa (SWA, Namibia since 1990) by South Africa in 1915, rumors emerged of African men trained as German soldiers. These Herero men paraded in German uniforms and assumed the names and ranks of prominent German soldiers and officials in the...
Part 3. Remembering and Rethinking
Recollection and Intervention: Memory of German Colonialism in Contemporary African Migrants’ Writing
The literature of African migrants writing in German for both German and African diasporic readers is arguably one of the few strands of German postcolonial literature, even if not many of the authors originate from Germany’s former colonies.1 Typically reflecting the authors’ experience of Africa, migration...
The Shadows of History: Photography and Colonialism in William Kentridge’s Black Box/Chambre Noire
Andrew J. Hennlich
An unsettled melancholia is at work in the South African artist and filmmaker William Kentridge’s Black Box/Chambre Noire (2005, referred to here as Black Box). Kentridge’s work interrogates South Africa’s apartheid history, narrated through memory and witness, emphasizing what is forgotten in the formation...
Germans and the Death-Throes of the Qing: Mo Yan’s The Sandalwood Torture
In 2001, a century after the final suppression of the Boxer Uprising, Mo Yan, a writer of considerable standing in the People’s Republic and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2012, published a novel that has the German colonial presence in Shandong play a prominent role. The plot centers on the...
The Origins of German Minority Cinema in Colonial Film
How can one account for the changing definition of both minority and Germany while writing a history of Germany’s minority cinema? This essay is an attempt to answer this very simple question. Any reflection on minority artifacts today has to confront Deleuze and Guattari who in Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature...