Diana Miryong Natermann

Pursuing Whiteness in the Colonies

Private Memories from the Congo Freestate and German East Africa (1884–1914)

2018,  Historische Belgienforschung,  Band 3,  270  Seiten,  broschiert,  39,90 €,  ISBN 978-3-8309-3690-9

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Pursuing Whiteness in the Colonies offers a new comprehension of colonial history from below by taking remnants of individual agencies from a whiteness studies perspective. It highlights the experiences and perceptions of colonisers and how they portrayed and re-interpreted their identities in Africa. The transcolonial approach is based on egodocuments from Belgian, German and Swedish men and women who migrated to Central Africa for reasons like a love for adventure, social betterment, new gender roles, or the conviction that colonising was their patriotic duty.

The author presents how colonisers constructed their whiteness in relation to the subalterns in everyday situations connected to friendship, animals, gender and food. White culture was often practiced to maintain the idea(l) of European supremacy, for example by upholding white dining cultures. The welcoming notion of ‘breaking bread’ was replaced by a dining culture that reinforced white identity and segregated white from non-white people.
By combining colonial history with whiteness studies in an African setting the author provides a different understanding of imperial realities as they were experienced by colonisers in situ.


Seit 2017 ist Diana Miryong Natermann, Dr. Phil., als Assistant Professorin an der Universität Leiden im MA Programm International Relations tätig. Davor war sie ab 2015 als Post-doc Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Forschungsstelle „Hamburgs (post-)koloniales Erbe“, Universität Hamburg, als Mitglied eines interdisziplinären Teams eingebunden, das sich gemeinsam mit dem Hamburger Völkerkundemuseum der Erforschung deutscher Kolonialfotografie widmete. Dem vorausgegangen war ihre Magisterarbeit zum belgischen Kolonialismus im Kongo an der J.W. Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, wonach sie als DAAD Stipendiatin ihrer Promotion am European University Institute in Florenz nachgehen konnte.

Since 2017 Diana Miryong Natermann, Dr. phil., has been an Assistant Professor at Leiden University at the History Department in the International Relations programme. In 2015, she worked as a Post-doc researcher at “Hamburg´s (Post-)Colonial Legacy”, Hamburg University, where she was part of an interdisciplinary project on colonial photography with Hamburg´s Ethnological Museum. Previously, she wrote her MA thesis on Belgian colonialism at Goethe University in Frankfurt. Following her MA degree, she received a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for the European University Institute, Italy, where she defended her PhD successfully in October 2015.

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