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Ute Schneider (U Duisburg-Essen, Germany)

Relearning? The Representation of Africa in the Work of Heinrich Schiffers

CAS Public Colloquium | Wednesday, 27 January 2016  | 05:15 pm
Date: Wednesday, 27 January 2016  | 05:15 pm - 06:45 pm
Location: Centre for Area Studies | Thomaskirchhof 20 | 04109 Leipzig, Germany
Organization: Centre for Area Studies (U Leipzig, Germany)
Website: Link

Summary:

Concluding the CAS Public Colloquium of Winter Semester 2015/16, Ute Schneider, professor of social and economic history at the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany), will introduce the work of Heinrich Schiffers on Africa, published in the 1950s and 1960s. Nearly all of his popular works are characterized by an engaging combination of text, images, and cartographic material, all of which have created different narratives. Ute Schneider will investigate the narratives in Schiffers’ works and the shifts they were subject to, particularly in connection with their use of cartographic material.


Abstract:

At the beginning of the 1960s, the Athenäum publishing house in Germany planned a revised and extended edition of Heinrich Schiffers’ successful book Wilder Erdteil Afrika (Africa, Wild Continent). The bestselling author had also declared his interest in publishing an atlas of Africa. In order to get a clearer picture of potential demand for such a publication and of who might be recruited to work on it, the publisher contacted the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation). Showing a strong interest in Africa, the foundation launched the funding initiative “Afrika Kartenwerk (African Map Series),” which allowed several generations of German geographers to conduct field research and to chart Africa over a period of three decades. The academics managing the project had initially discussed involving Schiffers, but the idea was ultimately abandoned and he was included neither as a collaborator on the project nor as a member of the editorial team.

Schiffers continued researching and publishing, as did his colleagues at universities, who, like him, had done research and published on Africa in the interwar period. He authored and edited numerous works on Africa. Of note are, for example, his collection of travelogues in Wilder Erdteil Afrika (1954 and 1962), the photographic documentary volume Afrika als die Weißen kamen (Africa, as it Was When the Whites Came), and Harms’ geographical reference book Afrika, which Schiffers oversaw in several editions. Nearly all of these works, whose substantial print runs are testament to their popularity, are characterized by an engaging combination of text, images, and cartographic material, all of which created different narratives. This contribution will investigate the narratives in Schiffers works and the shifts they were subject to, particularly in connection with their use of cartographic material.

Biographical Note:

Since 2007, Ute Schneider is professor of social and economic history at the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany). Her research deals with methodology of historical studies and social, gender, law, and culture history of Europe in the 19th and 20th century, with a special emphasis on cartographic visualization, cartography, and geography since the early modern period.

She is a member of several associations and organizations, like the work group Rechtswissenschaft und Zeitgeschichte at the Academy of Science and Literature Mainz and scientific adversary board of the project 1914 - Mitten in Europa. Furthermore, she is an associate editor of Düsseldorfer Schriften zur Neueren Landesgeschichte and Neue Politischen Literatur.