Ziegler Lecture: Michelle Moyd, “Askari, Gurnah’s Afterlives, and History: Some Reflections”

Wednesday February 28, 2024
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Join CENES on February 28th at 11:00am Pacific Time for an online Ziegler Lecture with Associate Professor Michelle Moyd from Michigan State University.

Title: Askari, Gurnah’s Afterlives, and History: Some Reflections

“View of the thematic areas ‘Colonial Contact Zones and Societies’ and ‘Dominion and Violence’ © Deutsches Historisches Museum/David von Becker”

Abstract: “The history of African soldiers (askari) who fought in the German colonial army (Schutztruppe) in German East Africa (1890-1918) garnered new attention in 2020 when Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Afterlives was published. Gurnah’s Nobel Prize for Literature win in 2021 brought his body of work to much wider audiences. Where do fiction and history meet in his acclaimed novel? Reflecting on over two decades of historical research on the askari and their roles in the First World War in eastern Africa, I discuss how insights from Gurnah’s recent fiction have shaped my thinking about the askari and the German colonial past. I also situate Afterlives within a growing literary landscape of novels, short stories, and film that feature African colonial soldiers as central subjects.”

Bio: Michelle Moyd is Associate Professor of History at Michigan State University. She is the author of Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa (Ohio University Press, 2014). She is co-author, with Yuliya Komska and David J. Gramling, of Linguistic Disobedience: Restoring Power to Civic Language (Palgrave, 2019). She is currently at work on Africa, Africans, and the First World War, under contract with Cambridge University Press.

Watch Michelle Moyd ’s Lecture Online:

Missed Michelle Moyd ’s  lecture on February 28th? You can access the video and audio recording on UBC’s cIRcle database.