Colonial Capitalism in Action: The New Social and Economic History of German Colonialism

Colonial Capitalism in Action: The New Social and Economic History of German Colonialism

Kim Sebastian Todzi, Research Centre “Hamburg’s (post )colonial legacy / Hamburg and early Globalization”, Universität Hamburg; Tristan Oestermann, Department of History, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Deborah Neill, Department of History, York University Toronto
Gefördert durch
Research Centre “Hamburg’s (post-)colonial legacy / Hamburg and early Globalization” (Universität Hamburg), re:work – IGK Arbeit und Lebenslauf in globalgeschichtlicher Perspektive (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), Department of History at York University
Vom - Bis
05.05.2021 - 07.05.2021
Kim Sebastian Todzi, Fachbereich Geschichte - Arbeitsbereich Globalgeschichte, Universität Hamburg

This three day workshop will bring together scholars who explore German colonial capitalism and put its economic conditions, material aspects and social structures at the heart of their research.

Colonial Capitalism in Action: The New Social and Economic History of German Colonialism

If you want to register for the conference please send an email with the subject „Colonial Capitalism in Action“, your name and your institution to


Preliminary Programme as of 19 April 2021. Subject to changes.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021

16:45 – 17:00 (UTC+2) Workshop Opening

Kim Sebastian Todzi (University of Hamburg), Tristan Oestermann (Humboldt University Berlin), Deborah J. Neill (York University, Toronto): Introduction and Welcoming Remarks

17:00 – 19:00 (UTC+2) Panel I: Money and Markets
Chair: Tristan Oestermann (Humboldt University Berlin)

Emma Thomas (University of Michigan): “Entangled Economies: Bridewealth, Colonial Capitalism, and Gendering of Labor in German New Guinea”

Robin Frisch (University of Bayreuth): “The Colonial Myth of Barter. Money and German Colonialism in West Africa (late 19th century-1914)”

Holger Droessler (Worcester Polytechnic Institute): „Coconuts and Coercion: Colonial Capitalism in German Samoa”

Ana Carolina Schveitzer (Humboldt University Berlin): “Photography, Market and Colonialism: Ideas about Colonial Commodity”

Comment: Nina Berman (Arizona State University)

Thursday, 6th May 2021

12:00 – 14:00 (UTC+2) Panel II: Companies and the State
Chair: Kim Sebastian Todzi (University of Hamburg)

Nina Kleinöder (Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg): „Whose „safety“? – Business in the German „Schutzgebiete“ at the turn of the 19th/20th century”

Olisa Godson Muojama (University of Ibadan): “Dispossession and Repossession: The Dynamics of German Properties in Colonial Africa”

Matthew Fitzpatrick (Flinders University): “Population Policy and the Plantation Economy in German Samoa”

Comment: Bronwen Everill (University of Cambridge)

17:00 – 19:00 (UTC+2) Panel III: Infrastructure
Chair: Caroline Authaler (University of Bielefeld)

Monika Motylinska / Paul Sprute (Leibniz-Institut für Raumbezogene Sozialforschung (IRS)): „(Re)Constructing German Colonial Capitalism from its Margins“

Andreas Greiner (German Historical Institute, Washington, DC): „Tensions of Transport: Caravan Trade and Colonial Transformation in German East Africa”

Walter Gam Nkwi (University of Leiden): „Technologies of Labour Mobility during the Mandate in Cameroon Province: 1924-1945: German Capitalism in British Southern Cameroons and its Durability”

Sean Lawrence (University of California, Santa Cruz): “A Fertile Plain for Our Concern: The Konya Irrigation Project and monetary valuation of Anatolian rain, 1903-1913”

Comment: Lasse Heerten (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Friday, 7th May 2021

15:00 – 17:00 (UTC+2) Panel IV: Labor
Chair: Deborah J. Neill (York University)

Henry Kam Kah (University of Buea): “Coercion and Violence in German Labour Conscription in Cameroon”

Jonas Kreienbaum (University of Rostock): „A History of Violence. Railway Construction and local labourers in German South West Africa, 1903-1909”

William Blakemore Lyon (Humboldt University Berlin): “Italian Laborers in the Namib: Subcontractors, Trains and War in German Colonial Namibia”

Michael Rösser (University of Erfurt): “Tracing the Tracks – A Portrait of European Railway Employees in German East Africa”

Comment: Robert Heinze (University of Trier)

17:00 – 17:30 (UTC+2) Wrap-up