Connected Families: West Africa and Southern Germany, 1891–1896

28.02.2019, Public Lecture, DHI London

Stefanie Michels (Hamburg)

GHIL in co-operation with the Modern German History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London

Taking the example of Tube Meetom and Rudolf Duala Manga Bell, two boys from elite families of Duala, Cameroon, living with a petty bourgeois German family, this lecture discusses child circulation practices of the Atlantic contact zone in relation to notions of ‘family’ and home-making. On the level of colonial control the ambivalent practices of state control through the male custodian and the agency of the African father by means of financial and social interaction are highlighted. On the affec-tive level an array of relations between extended families points to bonds not governed by the logic of ‘race’ and coloniality. Although in the end the German colonial authorities forcefully limited the ambitions of the two boys by exiling one and executing the other, their life stories advanced African independence movements in the 1930s.

Stefanie Michels focuses on German colonial and African history. She teaches at the University of Hamburg and has recently co-edited Global Photographies (2018) and Koloniale Verbindungen — Transkulturelle Erinnerungstopographien: Rheinland und Grasland, Kamerun (forthcoming).

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