On colonialism, racism, and its overcoming

Model of a skull reconstruction of the Paranthropus aethiopicus living in East A

Model of a skull reconstruction of the Paranthropus aethiopicus living in East Africa. Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

University of Jena participates in the Jena Africa Days from 30-31 October

Africa is no longer perceived as the exotic but poor continent. There is excellent science in Africa, and the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena alone has cooperation agreements with nine African universities. However, Germany has left behind a colonial legacy in Africa that needs to be dealt with in order to be able to approach the future together in a reconciled manner.

The joint activities include the "Africa Days", which will take place on 30 and 31 October in Jena. Organised for the fifth time by ANSOLE e. V. and with the support of the University of Jena, especially its Institute of Systematic Zoology and Evolutionary Biology, colonialism, its causes and how to overcome it will be on the scientific programme of the public event in 2021.

Among others, Paul Taku Bisong from the University of Jena will present the results of his master’s thesis, which dealt with the first "colonial zoologist" Dr Bernhard Weißenborn. Weißenborn (1858-1889) studied and worked as an assistant at the University of Jena and in 1887 he took part in an expedition that established the first research station in Cameroon. The research station was called Jaunde, which became today’s capital Yaounde. At that time, however, it was first converted into a military station - as an outpost of the German colonial power. Thanks to Taku Bisong’s research, especially in the archives of the Ernst Haeckel House, the archival materials are now available to write the exact history of the expedition.

In addition to colonialism, the conference will also discuss slavery, abducted artworks, racism and the Jena Declaration against Racism. On the second day, the focus will be on Africa’s present and future.

The fact that there has long been a sense of togetherness - at least in Jena - is also proven by the supporting programme. It ranges from an African market and a photo exhibition to a children’s programme and ideas for the coming energy supply.

Those interested are cordially invited to attend in person or online. The event will be held in English. Please register free of charge at the following link: https://eveeno.com/319340849 .

The Programme of the Africa Days 2021  de can be found here.

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