EXC 2060 A3-33 - Transregional Farming Families, Religious Revivalism, and Agrarian Colonization in Germany’s Imperial Frontiers, 1860s-1920s

in Process
Funding Source
DFG - Cluster of Excellence
Project Number
EXC 2060/1
  • Description

    My research project at the Religion and Politics Cluster of Excellence at the University of Münster deals with four generations of allied families of transnational Pietist and millenarian farming families from one village in Württemberg, who came to settle in the disparate frontiers of Prussian and German imperial expansion – Polish Prussia, Ottoman Palestine, and the German colonies in Southern Africa – between the 1860s and the 1920s. Reconstructing the genealogies of these migrant-settlers, I discovered that a small number of families supplied settlers to all these endeavors, with siblings and first cousins from families that were allied for generations spreading out between these far-flung locations. As inheritance and kinship practices continued to connect them, these families not only brought together diverse forms of imperialism – informal empire-making, internal colonization, and formal colonial rule – but also actively shaped the imperial frontiers in which they were present. Informed by postcolonial approaches to history-writing, my research traces the histories of these families by combining a “connected history” and multi-sited “global micro-history” approach to bring together village-level research in Württemberg with sources from a range of local, personal, and state archives as well as repositories of religious institutions in today’s Germany, Poland, Israel, Namibia, and Tanzania. This study and the future book-length monograph decenter the history of German imperial expansion, foreground the nexus of kinship and religiosity as a prism to study empire-making, nation-making, and agrarian settlement, and forge new conceptual linkages across the histories of the Middle East, Southern Africa, and Central-Eastern Europe.

  • Persons