Corinna Schaefer

University of Sussex

Project Title: A precarious web of identities, places and communication infrastructure: The German colonial settler press in Africa, 1898-1916.

In my research project I am exploring the German colonial settler press in Africa, 1898-1916. Via dispositive analysis, I’m going to examine the settler newspapers’ material preconditions and impacts and follow the different strands of discourse that tied them in with other (German) colonies, their home country and other imperial powers like Britain. The research centres on the question of how the settler press might have contributed to shaping German imperial identities and the imagination of colonial space. I am also focussing on the question of whether the German settler press, like its British counterpart, had the potential to form a web-structure that connected and created places and enabled German colonialists to situate themselves discursively among other imperial powers. Through the reprinting of articles in the German domestic press the settlers may have been able to disseminate their radical supremacist notions. According to an initial investigation into the settler newspapers, discourse in the colonies was shaped by the ambivalent relationship to the home country, colonial administration and missionaries, to local African communities and other non-German migrants in the colonies and by the rivalry with other imperial powers. Furthermore the spread of (communication) infrastructure and frequent conflicts between the different settler newspapers may have had an impact on the press landscape in the German colonies. My research will lead me into archives in Germany, Namibia and Tanzania, but also to sources of material on other imperial powers like Britain. This project has an interdisciplinary approach and is situated in German colonial history, media history and historical geography.

Supervised by Dr Kate Lacey (School of Media Film and Music) and Prof Alan Lester (School of Global Studies).