Biographical research can illuminate imperial and colonial history. This is particularly true of Africa, where empires competed with one another and colonial society was characterised by rigid divisions. In this book, five biographical studies explore how, in the course of their lives, interpreters, landowners, students and traders navigated the boundaries between the various spaces of the colonial world. With a focus on African life worlds, the authors show the disruptions and constraints as well as the new options and forms of mobility that resulted from colonial rule. This book was originally published as a special issue of The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth Studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Biographies Between Spheres of Empire 1. The English Interpreters in Dahomey, 1843–1852 2. David Meetom: Interpreting, Power and the Risks of Intermediation in the Initial Phase of German Colonial Rule in Cameroon 3. Transcending Gender Roles, Crossing Racial and Political Boundaries: Agnes Hill’s Fight for her Inheritance in German Southwest Africa 4. The Awkward Squad: Arts Graduates from British Tropical Africa Before 1940 5. ‘No One Knows What He is Until He is Told’: Audience and Personhood in a Colonial African Diary
Achim von Oppen is Professor of African History at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. He has published widely on the history of social and economic change; space-making and translocality; religious change; and ‘development’, mainly in rural settings in Zambia and Tanzania.
Silke Strickrodt is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of African Studies and Anthropology, University of Birmingham, UK. Her research focuses on the history of pre-colonial and early colonial West Africa, particularly on Afro-European encounters in the context of trade, Christian mission and scientific exploration.