(Post-) Colonial Business History (PCBH)

The network "(Post-) Colonial Business History (PCBH)" started in 2023 and is funded by the DFG. Itaims at organisational networking, exchange on methodology and theory, and expanding the intersections and connections of two fields of research which so far have been conducted rather independently of each other in the German-speaking world: on the one hand, (global) historical approaches to imperial and post-imperial entanglements, and on the other hand, business history, understood broadly as not just the history of the firm, but of organised business and business activity. Given the increasingly transnational and global perspective on business history, an intensified examination of the coloniality or post-coloniality of companies is indispensable. Post-colonial here refers, at the same time, methodologically to a global decentration of the perspective, and to an awareness for colonial continuities and effects even beyond the period of formal colonialism. Conversely, business history opens up the possibility for global and colonial history to focus more on the economic dimension of historical events and to work on the history of imperial metropolises and colonies as a single, intertwined history, through studying organisational networks of economic activity. The PCBH network is built with the assumption that (postcolonial) business cannot be captured solely and separately from the perspective of economic, cultural, social and global history; a not only transnational/transimperial and transepochal, but above all also interdisciplinary approach to the subject area must be constitutive. The network aims to foster exchange over relevant recent case studies, to develop such research further programmatically, and thus to constitute and establish (Post-)Colonial Business History as a field of research in Germany or in the German-speaking countries. The participants in the network come from the fields of economic and business history on the one hand, and global history on the other, with a focus on colonial history, African studies and global architectural history. One third of the participants work at non-German, partly non-European institutions.

Bavarian-Brazilian alliance in the History of Infrastructural State and Nation-Building

The joint project of Vitor Marcos Gregório (Instituto Federal do Paraná, Brazil) and Nina Kleinöder (University of Bamberg) examines the brazilian-german networks of railway building at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century.

The initial object of analysis is the Estrada de Ferro Santa Catarina, planned and built in the transition from the 19th to the 20th century in the valley of the river Itajaí, state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. This infrastructure work carried out in response to the demands of the region's inhabitants, mainly German settlers, with German capital and technology in a clear indication of the existing links between projects and interests from both countries. From the Brazilian point of view, the railroad represented a tool for encouraging the occupation of its territory through offering a way to export its agricultural productions. From the German point of view, economic interests were central leading to the involvement of important banking institutions in the financing of the works, in a phase in which German infrastructure construction functioned as a vehicle of internationalization as well as (in)formal colonization. German companies were active in both colonial and non-colonial countries, as well as the sale of abundant material for the building and operation of the railway. Thus, national strategic issues were linked with global economic interests in a process very important for the understanding of political and business matters of the transition of the century.

The main objective of the alliance is to carry out joint research work in libraries and archives in Brazil and Germany, capable of generating unprecedented knowledge about a little explored area of the historiographical field. It aims at establishing a workgroup between Bamberg and Brazil. The work is funded by Bayerisches Hochschulzentrum für Lateinamerika (BAYLAT).

"Dynamics of Security" (SFB/TRR 138)

We are part of the transregional Collaborative Research Center "Dynamics of Security" at the universities of Marburg and Gießen (more information)