Mag. Dr Martina Kopf

Alumni Fellow

Research Project at the Centre

Developing Africa in Colonial and Postcolonial Imaginations

"Development" - as a political and economic concept - has shaped the global order from 20th-century to the present day. Africa is the continent that was and is most strongly associated with development as a historically new way to measure, to plan, to control and to manage social and economic change. Since the first half of the 20th century African societies are - in the formal colonialism and since then - faced with a high degree of interventions in social, cultural and economic processes that are recognized and legitimized by the terms "development" and "cooperation."
This project is approaching the history of "development" in the area East Africa by the tales and stories that connect to it. It explores narratives of development in literature and film, and examines how popular narrative worlds interact with institutional discourses of development. How are concepts and practices of development culturally represented? How is “development" presented as practice and ideology, if we look at it through narratives that are created in literature and art? What change has gone through thinking about development from colonial times to the present? The regional focus is on Kenya, the corpus contains stories from and about Kenya in different media cultures from 1920 to the present.


September 2015