Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Seminar für Afrikawissenschaften

Time regimes, discipline and colonial labor. Dockworkers in Douala (Cameroon), 1920 - ca. 1960


Kerstin Stubenvoll, M.A.

Postal Address:  Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
                       Institute of Asian and African Studies
                       Department of African Studies
                       Invalidenstr. 118
                       D-10115 Berlin

Visiting Address: Sophienstraße 22, Room 410
                       10178 Berlin

Student Assistent: Marieke Kelm


The standardization of time is one of the central issues of globalization. Imposing the industrialized world’s concepts and orders of time was part of the colonial project in Africa since the late 19th century. Within this context, the regulation of working hours as well as the implementation of discipline at work represented core efforts of colonial rule.

On the basis of a study of Cameroon’s (and Central Africa’s) most important port-city Douala from World War One to the Decolonization period, this research project focuses on a local group of actors growing ever more important over the colonial years, the dockworkers, and their ways to deal with efforts made by the colonial administration and by European trade companies to implement new time regimes and a new time discipline. The project also investigates Douala dockworkers’ possible affiliation to a global network of this particular professional group.