Dr. Diana M. Natermann
nach Vereinbarung per E-Mail
- Project WONAGO – World Order Narratives of the Global South (Africa)
- Postcolonial theories (especially whiteness and gender studies)
- Visual history and colonial photography
- Colonial and decolonised histories of Africa
- Cultural genocide
Time to Change the Narrative?
The Visualisation of the African Other and its Historical Effects on Today’s Cultural, Political, and Social Interactions
- Counter-colonial visualisation → Action / Reaction
- Colonial photography and the creation of a global stereotype
- North/South discourse and synergies
- Long-term effects on identity and collective memories into the 21. century
- Continuity and breaks of political movements and societal debates
- Restitution debates
- Visual democratisation via social media (?) → artistic debates
My project is dedicated to current societal identity debates, whose origins can be traced back to the creation of the colonial photography genre. Contemporary visualisation of non-white Africans is still a child born from the times of High Imperialism. Reason being, that colonial photography laid the foundation for both racist and racial depiction patterns of certain peoples of the earth and what their ´supposed´ traits and looks were. Until this day, social debates and political movements are linked to this visualisation of non-white peoples. This research project is about the historical and by now traditional muting of sub-Saharan Africa through stereotypical images. One can witness this repetitive visual muting as yet another form of colonial aggression by constantly perpetuating certain image(rie)s.
This means that despite past and current social and political developments since Africa´s decolonisation, a visual world order narrative continues to be in place – one that continues to perpetuate a stereotypical image of Africa. Above all, it is unfortunate that this narrative still has more in common with colonial times than with the 21st century by holding on to visualisations of violence, exploitation, disadvantage, infantilisation, and victimisation. The constant – often even unknowingly – repetition of named visual patterns makes it harder to create and distribute an updated and non-Western identity based on collective memory from the agency of sub-Saharan Africa. The global north´s traditional viewing traditions are viewing traditions that need to be changed.
The mentioned long-term effects of colonial stereotyping and othering can be seen in ongoing attempts of identity-finding processes and the creation and maintenance of a collective memory. In order to change those identity and collective memory creation paths, the power centres with their origins being in the global north need readdressing. Members of formally colonised societies can be independent of those historical connections. This project thus focusses on a visual narrative from select sub-Saharan countries that has and is creating its own narrative by taking control of its visual heritage. This will be done by starting the analysis in the Republic of South Africa to then continue to two further regions. The country selection is based on a combination of already successful anti-colonial movements in the visual, cultural, and art sectors. I coined these actions counter-colonial visualisations. These movements have become increasingly powerful and louder in the last decade and their goals are to create and communicate a self-image that is independent of Europe. One contemporary example of a change of agency towards the narrative of colonial pasts is the toppling of colonial statues. Another are works of art that use European colonial archival sources to then Africanise or de-Europeanise them. Therefore, instead of reacting to the visual narrative of the global north, a sub-Saharan narrative shall be anchored and new cultural structures made in the process.
In short: in a world of dominant social media outlets, images play a mightier part than before. This increases the importance of researching current movements and events that try to shake down the foundations of the historical visualisation of the sub-Saharan continent by its own constituents. This project is thus to be seen as part of a political and cultural counter movement to the global north. As such, my research aim is to equally analyse continuities as well as breaks within the establishment of a seeing pattern that puts African interests centre point within a twenty-first century backdrop.
- Aug. 2021 - ongoing: University of Hamburg - Postdoc Research Associate at WONAGO Project, Department of Global History
October - December 2022: Visiting Research Fellow at HUMA Humanities in Africa, University of Cape Town
March - August 2022: Maternity Leave
- 2019-2021: Universiteit Leiden – Assistant Professor at History Department (BA International Studies, MA International Relations, BA-courses at the Leiden University College)
2020/2021: Affiliated Researcher at GTGC – Global Transformations & Governance Challenges, Leiden University
- January - July 2019: Elsevier B.V., Amsterdam – Research Intelligence Team for DACH countries
- 2017-2018:Universiteit Leidern – Assistant Professor at History Department (MA International Relations)
April - December 2018: Maternity Leave
- 2015-2017: University of Hamburg – Post-doc Researcher at Global History Chair with Prof. Jürgen Zimmerer and the research centre “Hamburg’s (post-)colonial Legacy“. Researching colonial photographs in collaboration with MARKK. The interdisciplinary project was supported by the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius.
- 2014-2015: European University Institute (EUI) – Research Assistant at History & Civilization Department
- 2010-2011: Historische Zeitschrift, Frankfurt a.M. – Research and Editing Assistant
- 2010-2011: Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt – Student Assistant at History Department
Academic Training and Qualifications:
- 2011-2015: European University Institute (EUI), Florence, Italy
PhD at the History & Civilization Department (HEC)
Dissertation: Pursuing Whiteness in the Colonies. Private Memories from the Congo Free State and German East Africa (1884-1914); Ph.D. Supervisor: Prof. Dirk A. Moses; Ph.D. Defence Jury: Prof. Elizabeth Buettner (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Prof. Corinna Unger (Universität Bremen), Prof. Jorge Flores (EUI)
2011-2012 Master of Research (M.Res.) in conducting archival and historical work (EUI)
- 2004-2011 Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt
M.A. in Medieval and Modern History, Catholic Theology and Spanish Studies
- 2004-2006: Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt
Completed substantial coursework in Business Studies
- 2000-2003: European Business School London (EBSL)
Completed six semesters in International Business and Management with Spanish
Exchange semester at Suffolk University, Boston, MA, USA
- 1999-2000: European Business School (EBS), Oestrich-Winkel, Germany
Commenced a four-year degree in Business Studies with Spanish
Organised Conferences, Guest Lectures and Workshops (selection):
- WONAGO Workshop on "Decolonising Africa in German Research - Changing Narratives from the Global South", Participants: Prof. Dr Heike Becker, Dr Divine Fuh, Dr Napandulwe Shiweda
- WONAGO Guest Lecture Series with speaker Dr. Bodhisattva Kar (Unviversity of Cape Town)
- WONAGO Guest Lecture Series with speaker Prof. Dr. Heike Becker (Unviversity of the Western Cape)
- Imperial Artefacts: History, Law, and the Looting of Cultural Heritage, Leiden University and in collaboration with Dr Inge Van Hulle, Tilburg University (2-day conference)
- Unwanted Histories. The legacies of contested monuments and objects: new homes, new interpretations, new meanings, Leiden University and in collaboration with Dr Alexandra Ortolja-Baird from King´s College London (conference)
- Familiarizing the Colony: Visualizing the Colonial World, in collaboration with Dr. Johannes Müller, Leonie Rupp, and Jan Becker (all Leiden University) and Prof Jens Jäger from University of Cologne (workshop)
- WONAGO Guest Lecture Series with speaker Dr Vineet Thakur (Leiden Unviversity)
Service to Profession:
2020 - ongoing: Member of Scientific Advisory Board of LawArt – Journal of Law, Art & History, Milan
2016: Historikertag, Hamburg – voluntary work
2015: EUI Imperial History Working Group – Organising workshops & lectures
2013: June Workshop for First-Year Ph.D. Researchers, EUI
2013-2014: Zeitenblicke, Germany – Co-editor for the magazine’s EUI edition
2012-2015: European University Institute (EUI), Florence: Member of the Ethics Committee, Chair of the EUI Social Welfare Fund, Member of the Imperial History Working Group (2013-2015), HEC Ph.D. Researcher Representative (2012), Academic Collaborator and Manager of Bar Fiasco (2012-2013)
Pursuing Whiteness in the Colonies. Private Memories from the Congo Free State and German East Africa (1884-1914), Historische Belgienforschung, Sebastian Bischoff, Christoph Jahr, Tatjana Mrowka, Jens Thiel (Eds.), Vol. 3, Waxmann Verlag, Münster 2018. (Open Access)
- 2018 Book Prize Finalist - Waterloo Centre for German Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada.
Colonial Masculinity Through Time. One Man’s Story of Monarchy, the Military, Colonialism, Fascism, and Decolonisation, in: Laura Almagor, Haakon Ikonomou, Gunvor Simonsen (Eds.), Global Biographies, Manchester University Press, 2022, 62-81.
Frieda von Bülow and Bibi Titi Mohammed: (De)Colonized Feminism in Tanzania, Anaïs Angelo (ed), The Politics of Biography in Africa, Routledge Studies on Gender and Sexuality in Africa, 2021, 139-157.
Hamburg und die Visualisierung Afrikas: Ein verstörender Nachlass im Kollektivgedächtnis der Stadt?, Kim Sebastian Todzi and Jürgen Zimmerer (eds), Hamburg: Deutschlands Tor zur kolonialen Welt, Wallstein 2021, 229-246.
"The White Bibi"- Female Memories from the Congo Free State and German East Africa (1884-1914), in: Belgica – terra incognita? Resultate & Perspektiven der Historischen Belgienforschung, Sebastian Bischoff, Christoph Jahr, Tatjana Mrowka, Jens Thiel (Eds.), Vol. 1, Waxmann Verlag, Münster 2016, 68-76.
On the longevity of visual colonial stereotyping and its influence on twenty-first-century societal and identity debates, Antíteses, Londrina, v. 16, n. 31 (2023), 58-81.
To Maintain or Adjust? On the Whiteness of Swedish Men in the Congo Free State (1884 – 1914), Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 51:3 (2023), 464-486. DOI: 10.1080/03086534.2023.2205746.
Constructing a White Self. The Photographic Depiction of White Dining Culture in Colonial Central Africa, in: The Visual Turn in Legal Studies, LawArt (3) 2022, 219-250.
Weißes (Nicht-)Essen im Kongofreistaat und Deutsch-Ostafrika (1884–1914), in: Nicht-Essen: Gesundheit und Ernährung seit 1850, Norman Aselmeyer & Veronika Settele (Eds.), Special Issue: Historische Zeitschrift, Oldenburg 2018, 237-264.
Weiße Männlichkeit(en) zur Zeit des Maji-Maji-Kriegs. Deutsch-tansanische Kolonialfoto-grafie im postkolonialen Sinne diskutiert, zeitgeschichte, 2/45, 2018, 131-154.
“Neither here nor there”: About modern racism and how to engage with it in academia, https://voicesyoungacademics.nl/articles/modern-racism-and-academic-community
Die ‚indigene Frau‘ aus Sicht des deutschen Kolonialisten – ein Titel, zwei Interpretationen, https://kolonialismus.blogs.uni-hamburg.de/2016/10/18/sprechende-fotostalking-images-die-indigene-frau-aus-sicht-des-deutschen-kolonialisten-ein-titel-zwei-interpretationen/
Jos van Beurden, Ongemakkelijk Erfgoed. Koloniale collecties en terruggave in de lage landen, Zutphen, Walburg Pers 2021. Review from June 2023 on www.anonymousswisscollector.com.
Matthew Stanard, The Leopard, the Lion, and the Cock. Colonial Memories and Monuments in Belgium, Leuven University Press 2019; review in Historische Zeitschrift, de Gruyter, 315/3, 2022.
Visions of African Unity: New Perspectives on the History of Pan-Africanism and African Unification Projects, Frank Gerits and Matteo Grilli (eds), Palgrave Macmillan 2021; review published in Afronomicslaw, April 2022.
Georg Solmssen – ein deutscher Bankier. Briefe aus einem halben Jahrhundert 1900-1956. Harold James, Martin L. Müller (Eds.), C.H. Beck, Munich 2012.
Forthcoming Articles and Book Reviews
Emancipation Through Nursing. White Frieda in German East Africa, Special Issue, Social History of Medicine, Oxford University Press, 2023. Peer reviewed.
Stereotyping, colonial rule-making and the Herero Nama Wars of 1904-1908, in: Jochen von Bernstorff and Rotem Giladi, The Laws and Customs of Colonial War, The Theory and History of International Law, Oxford University Press, 2024.
Daniel Tödt, The Lumumba Generation. African Bourgeoisie and Colonial Distinction in the Belgian Congo (Africa in Global History, Vol. 5.) Berlin/Boston, De Gruyter 2021. VI; review in Historische Zeitschrift.
Grants, Scholarships, and Honours
Visiting Research Fellow at HUMA Institute for Humanities in Africa at University of Cape Town, South Africa
Funding for hiring two research trainees from February-August 2021, History Department, Leiden University
Conference funding from African Studies Centre, MAIR Programme, History Department at Leiden University, and YAL Young Academy Leiden (3000 €) for the two-day conference titled: Imperial Artefacts: History, Law, and the Looting of Cultural Property (January 2021)
How to design a course, Didactics University Teaching Qualification course (BKO – Basis Kwalificatie Onderwijs), organised by ICLON
2018 Book Prize Finalist of Waterloo Centre for German Studies, Canada
Grants for the publication of my PhD thesis: Hamburger Stiftung für Kultur & Wissenschaft (1800 €), Axel Springer Stiftung (1000 €), and HEC Department (EUI) (1000 €)
Peer Reviewer for Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies
Newsletter of the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, Nr. 20, June 2016
James Kaye Memorial Prize 2016 – Short-listed for best PhD thesis in history & visuality
Gerda Henkel Stiftung – Assisted in writing successful grant application for PhD scholarship and three art fellowships (Germany and Namibia) started June 2017 (105,000 €)
EUI Teacher Training Certificate: Developing course portfolio & 20 hrs teaching experience
EUI scholarship holder for the completion of the PhD thesis
PhD scholarship from Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), Bonn
History Department at J.W. Goethe-University Frankfurt: Grant for archival research in Brussels for my M.A. thesis (500 €)