Jesse Bucher, Bettina Brockmeyer: Chasing a Phantom: An African Skull in European Politics

12.12.2023, Vortrag, DHI London, vor Ort (Senate House) und online

This presentation addresses some of the ways in which the skull of Chief Mkwawa has functioned as an object of European politics, memory, and imagination. It will trace claims about the skull that have appeared in political treaties, scientific research, novels, films, and comics in order to demonstrate how human remains—even ones that do not always exist as ‘real objects’—feature within European cultural heritage. The talk will also address how two historians respectively based in Europe and the United States have sought to both investigate the known history of Mkwawa’s skull and problematize their own work on this history.

Bettina Brockmeyer is Professor of Modern History at Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany. Her research focuses on gender, the body, and colonial history. Her book Geteilte Geschichte, geraubte Geschichte (2021) analyses colonial biographies in East Africa, and, together with Frank Edward and Holger Stoecker, she published the article ‘The Mkwawa Complex: A Tanzanian–European History about Provenance, Memory, and Politics’ in the Journal of Modern European History in 2020.

Jesse Bucher is Director of the Center for Studying Structures of Race, and Associate Professor of African History at Roanoke College, USA. Bucher’s research utilizes postcolonial and critical theory to interpret the history of political violence, colonialism, and slavery in Tanzania, South Africa, and the United States. He published ‘The Skull of Mkwawa and the Politics of Indirect Rule in Tanganyika’ in the Journal of Eastern African Studies in 2016.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at Senate House and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

5:30 pm

Organisiert durch das DHI London.

Zur Veranstaltungsseite des DHI London.