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Prof. Dr. Marcia C. Schenck

Professor of Global History, University of Potsdam


Campus Am Neuen Palais
Haus 11, 0.02


consulting hours
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Supervisor's Main Webpage

Academic Background

Marcia C. Schenck studied International Relations, History, and African Studies at Princeton University (NJ, USA), the University of Oxford (GB), and Mount Holyoke College (MA, USA). She first turned her attention to South Africa and Namibia, studying San land rights. She then shifted her focus to Lusophone Africa and transnational history as she completed a PhD at Princeton University about memories of labor migration from Angola and Mozambique to the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Schenck has published on Mozambican school students, Angolan university students, and contract workers from both countries examining their lived experiences during their sojourns in the GDR. More recently, she has become interested in the history of processes of refuge seeking on the African continent and is currently exploring the way the Organization of African Unity saw and governed the “African refugee” during the second half of the 20th-century.  Since January 2020 she is the Professor of Global History at Potsdam University.

Research Interests

  • Global history
  • African history
  • History of migration, mobility and processes of refuge seeking
  • Labor history
  • Education history
  • Oral and life history
  • History of international organizations

Select 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 OAE 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.

Select Publications