Marcia C. Schenck


Photo: Marcia Schenck

Ongoing Projects

 “Decolonization, Cold War, and the Organization of African Unity: The Creation of the African Refugee Regime in Global Perspective”

The book project examines the role of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in relation to refugee protection programmes as well as policies and legislation.

There currently exist two legally binding regional refugee protection regimes worldwide, one in Africa, the other in Europe. While the European context has been studied extensively, little is known about the African context. Even less understood are the historical circumstances under which African refugee protection regimes and their specific aspects and policies were formulated, in particular the OAU’s Convention of 1969, which remains the legal cornerstone of refugee protection in Africa today. Starting from this point, the book will examine the debates and projects of the OAU on refugee protection since its inception. It will thereby explore how the OAU perceived the so-called "refugee problem" from the 1960s onwards and how its involvement led to specific projects and policies of relevance until today.

The History Dialogues Project

The History Dialogues Project (HDP) is a so-called "blended-learning" project for applied historical studies that was developed for local students and students with refugee experience. It was developed in cooperation with the Global History Lab at Princeton University and is being carried out together with our partners on four continents, including Africa. The project enables students with different disciplinary backgrounds to formulate and conduct their own historical research projects based on, among other things, oral history interviews and to present and discuss them in an international learning environment.

A video of the project can be found here.

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Past Projects

“Socialist Solidarities and Their Afterlives: Histories and Memories of Angolan and Mozambican Migrants in the German Democratic Republic, 1975–2015”

This project examines the state-sponsored educational and labour migration between the People's Republics of Angola and Mozambique and the German Democratic Republic in the late 1970s to 1990s. During the Cold War, the political and economic relations between the "Second World" and the "Third World" opened up migration routes for young African men and women to work and study abroad. The migrants were to acquire technical skills and knowledge in order to contribute to the development of their emerging post-colonial home countries after their return. This project traces Angola and Mozambique's political transitions from decolonization, to socialism and finally to market-based democracies through the lived experiences of these migrants. Based on 268 life history interviews with former workers, students and government officials, triangulated with archival sources, collected during two years of fieldwork in Angola, Mozambique, Portugal, South Africa and Germany, this project centres the memories and life experiences of Angolans and Mozambicans who immigrated to the GDR to work and study

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