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

Doctoral Supervision



  • Hoffman, Dirk: Strange Africans – Memories of the 1894 Martin Trek from the Orange Free State (South Africa) to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)

    This research project will investigate the oral family histories amongst the settled descendants of an agricultural migration of people of mainly European descent from the former Oranje-Vrijstaat (Republic of South Africa) to the eastern Highlands of the former Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), lead by Marthinus Jacobus Martin in 1894. The scope of the investigation will include identity narratives in the oral family histories amongst settled descendants of this migration and a comparison of these with settler literature narratives from the period – instrumental in the construction of memory and identity, and integral to larger white statist or nationalistic mythmaking projects. In so doing, the project will attempt to retrace the contours of identity formation in the eventual settled African spaces of a particular agricultural migration of people of mainly European descent.


  • Kynes,  Jordan: Teaching philosophy in the Moroccan post-protectorate Period: a discourse analysis of Mohammad 'Abed al-Jabri's pedagogical approach based on his academic and political writings (Humboldt University of Berlin, Department of Theology,  Second Supervisor, First Supervisor Prof. Dr. Andreas Feldtkeller, Self-financed)

    The purpose of this dissertation is a discursive reading of the thought of Mohammad 'Abed al-Jabri. The Moroccan intellectual was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the Mohammad V University in Rabat for nearly 30 years until his death in 2010. Al-Jabri was an organic intellectual whose works were as much politically charged as scholastic. Theoretically, he sought to resolve the impasse with which the nahda thinkers of the late 19th and early 20th century were confronted: the false dichotomy of  'traditional Islam' vs 'Western modernity'. Politically, he supported the development of a democratic civil-society free from the constraints of traditional political power structures. Both objectives would obtain with the arrival of a truly Arab Modernity.
  • Oswald, Alina: Automobility in 20th Century Kenya (Humboldt University of Berlin, Institute of Asian and African Studies, First Supervisor, Grant Applications running)

    This dissertation project purports to write a history of automobility in Kenya in the twentieth century by focusing on the advent, adaption and establishment of motorised transportation from colonial rule up until the 1990s in the secondary urban centres of Mombasa and Kisumu. The main question is how residents in these urban centres used the technology of motorised transportation to maintain and augment their personal autonomy over spatial movement, therewith generating alternative urban possibilities for political and economic participation and social inclusion.
  • Yakasai, Muhammad Abubakar: A History of Shari’ah in Nigeria: A Study on the Trajectory of the Agitation for Shari’ah Revivalism in Northern Nigeria, 1929-2011 (Humboldt University of Berlin, Institute of Asian and African Studies, First Supervisor, TET Grant)

    This dissertation project will pay attention to the issues and nuances surrounding the agitation for the revival of Shari’ah in northern Nigeria from 1929 to 2011. The aim of this work is mainly to bring to the fore, the stage by stage intellectual steps followed and the contributions made to the recent Shari’ah agitations, debates and adoption in Northern Nigeria. It is hoped that this study will provoke further research on this aspect of the history of Shari’ah in Northern Nigeria.



  • Boonen, Sofie: City, architecture and colonial space in Matadi and Lubumbashi, Congo. A historical analysis from a translocal perspective (UGent, Co-Promotor, Promotor J. Lagae, FWO Ph.D. Position, defended 04/03/2019)
  • De Roo, Bastiaan: Colonial taxation in Africa. A fiscal history of the Congo through the lens of customs (1886-1914) (UGent, Promotor, Ugent funded assistant position, defended 23/09/2016)
  • Frede, Britta: Shaykhani (Manna Abba ibn Muhammad at-Tulba, 1908-1986) und die Erneuerung der Tijaniyya in Mauretanien (Freie Universität Berlin, Co-Promotor, Promotor U. Freitag, DFG funded, defended Summa Cum Laude 13/02/2011)
  • Mathys, Gillian: Borderland(s) in motion. Mobility and borders in the Lake Kivu region during the colonial period (Ugent, Promotor, Co-promotor S. Smis, FWO funded, defended 07/03/2013)
  • Mertens, Myriam: Chemical Compounds in the Congo: Pharmaceuticals and Belgian Colonialism (Ugent, Promotor, FWO funded, defended 25/06/2014)
  • Vervust, Petra: The Limits of Colonial Symbolic Power. Ethnicization and Racialization in Rwanda 1890-1960 (Ugent, Co-promotor, Promotor E. Vanhaute, BOF funded, defended 08/09/2010)