New Books from the History of Technology Subject Area

Stefan Esselborn: Die Afrikaexperten. Das Internationale Afrikainstitut und die europäische Afrikanistik, 1926–1976, Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2018.

The International African Institute (IIALC/IAI), founded in 1926 in London, was the first and for many years the most important inter-/transnational organization in the field of African Studies. While its origins lie primarily in the colonial reformist project of creating culturally "adapted" development policies for Africa, the Institute soon achieved substantial scientific relevance as well. By connecting scholars of different nationalities and disciplines, setting scholary trends and topics, and distributing funding, it played an important part in the development of African Studies from colonial amateurs' preserve to an academically institutionalized field of regional expertise in the context of Cold War Area Studies. The history of the IAI not only illustrates the entanglements between African Studies and colonialism. It also highlights the circumstances as well as the consequences of the establishment of knowledge from the humanities and social sciences as (colonial) political expertise, the important role of transnational actors such as the missionary movement or the American philanthropical foundations, as wel as the topographic, disciplinary and intellectual changes and displacements brought forth by the onset of decolonisation and African independence.

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