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

William Lyon, M.A.

William Lyon M.A.
Doctoral candidate
lyonwill (at)

Humboldt-Universität → Präsidium → Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät → Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften → Geschichte Afrikas II
Visiting address
Hausvogteiplatz 5-7 , Room 304b
Phone number
(030) 2093 66113
Mailing address
Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin


I completed my Bachelor’s in history at the University of California, San Diego and my MPhil in Modern European History at the University of Cambridge. My Master’s thesis focused on Anglo-German relations in the South West Africa  Company, which operated in German colonial Namibia.

My current doctoral research focuses on global migrant labour in colonial Namibia between 1890 and 1925. This includes labourers, mainly male but some female who came to the settler region of German South West Africa, which in 1915 came under South African control for work in mines, railway construction, harbours, transport as well as domestic settings, finance and small business. These individuals in general intended to return home after their contracts and came from locations ranging from the Ovambo Kingdoms north of the Namibian colonial settler region, South Africa, the West African coast centred on Liberia and Italian speaking Southern Europe. The project seeks to examine the perspectives of these diverse workers, their experiences and how their stories fit into larger patterns of migration throughout the African content. The Project is funded by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung and my supervisor is Prof Dr phil Andreas Eckert.



Research focus:

  • Migrant labour
  • Namibia
  • German Empire
  • Global History
  • Social History


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