Jan Dammel

Doctoral Fellow


Campus am Neuen Palais
Am Neuen Palais 10
Building 1, Room 0.15
14469 Potsdam


by appointment only

Dissertation Project

Theatre and German Colonialism: Tanzanian-German Entanglements

The research project seeks to investigate a number of significant constellations that have emerged since the late 19th century between theatre and colonialism in the context of German colonialism in Africa, by looking namely at entangled histories between Germany and Tanzania, which together with Ruanda, Burundi, parts of northern Mozambique and without Zanzibar was colonized as 'German East Africa‘.

Research questions include: Which constellations between theatre and colonialism have been prevalent since the 1890s in the history of German colonialism with regards to Tanzania?  What kind of performances did occur in the everyday life both in German East Africa and in Tanganyika (administered by the British from 1916 to 1961)? How did Tanzanian theatre between the late 1960s and mid-1970s affirm anti-colonial resistance against the Germans? How have theatre makers and activists in Dar es Salaam and Berlin addressed Tanzanian-German colonial/postcolonial entanglements through performance since 2005? Concurrently, the project reflects on the epistemological underpinnings within German Theatre Studies shaped by colonialism and its multiple legacies.


I studied Theatre and Performance Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, l’Université Lille III and the Universiteit van Amsterdam, graduating in 2016 with an M.A. in Theatre Studies.

Since 2017, I have supported activities by Berlin Postkolonial as a volunteer, such as events, conferences and archival research on acts of anti-colonial resistance by citizens of former “German East Africa” residing in Berlin. I also worked in conference management for two years. In 2019, I joined the RTG Minor Cosmopolitanisms.

Research Interests

  • Postcolonial Studies                 
  • Tanzanian Theatre History
  • History of Theatre Studies
  • Theatre and (Anti-)Racism
  • Artistic Practices between Visual and Performing Arts

Co-organized Events

Embodied Practices - Looking From Small Places - an online event with Sruti Bala and Dylan Kerrigan, November 19 2020, conceptualized and organized together with Tori Sinanan, Johanna Heide and Saskia Köbschall as part of the Minor Constellations in Conversation series. Transcript to be published in 2021.

Panel discussion on decolonial student movements, Humboldt-University Berlin, September 2017.

Symposium How To Dance with Art, Berliner Festspiele, July 2014.



Conference Papers

"Negotiating Positions: Performance Analysis as a Collaborative Practice", THE YES CONFERENCE, Justus-Liebig-University, Gießen, February 13, 2016.

“Aktion im Kasten, Aktion mit dem Kasten’. Zu Peter Weibels tele-aktionen.“, Conference “Kunst (im) Fernsehen: Akteure, Formate und Rahmungen von Fernsehperformances”, Free University Berlin, September 06 –07, 2014.