Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies



Current project: 

The Politics of Campaign. Temporal and Spatial Configurations of Colonial Governmentality in the British Colonies of East Africa, 1919-1960.
Project leader:
: Dr. phil. Michael Pesek
Funding institution: Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft
Funding Period:09/2020-08/2023


This project examines health campaigns in the British colonies of East Africa from the end of World War I to the end of colonial rule in the 1960s. Such campaigns were often in response to epidemics and other acute crises in the health of the population. The campaigns were intended to contain these epidemics, overcome the crises, and bring about a general improvement in the health, education, and living conditions of the African population. Although often limited in time and space, they were particularly invasive as well as experimental forms of colonial policy. In the temporal and spatial configurations of campaigns, the project sees the emergence of a specific colonial governmentality that focused on narrowly defined problem solving rather than sustained institutional change. In this regard, the campaigns are described as laboratory situations in which new forms of population and health policy were experimented with. Central to the project is the question of the relationship between campaigns and the longer-term process of change in British colonial policy in the interwar period and after the end of World War II. The focus on campaigns allows the project to better understand this change. . By conceptualizing campaigns as a common field of action and interaction between science and politics, the project attempts to rethink and relate colonial history and the history of knowledge. In this way, the project makes an important contribution to the current debates in the context of the Corona crisis.




Completed projects:

  • Africa and the Cold War. The continent's foreign policy in the era of decolonization, the Cold War, and the Third World Movement.


  •  The First World War in Africa: Safari ya bwana lettow (blog).


  • A Visual History of the Great Lakes of Africa (Blog)