Global History and Culture Centre Blog
The Travel Account of Francisco Álvares: Ethiopian-European Relations in the Late Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century
PhD student Mathilde Alain explores Ethiopian-European interactions in the late fifteenth century and early sixteenth century via Francisco Álvares’ travel account. Álvares accompanied a Portuguese embassy to Ethiopia and his account depicts the diplomatic relations between the Portuguese and the Ethiopian sovereign, Ləbnä Dəngəl. Alain also highlights traces of contacts between Ethiopia and Europe in the account and points to its limits.
Why Are We Not Reading More Histories on Italian Imperialism and Museum Collections?
PhD student Fleur Martin discusses the challenges of researching and writing histories of Italian imperialism and museum collections. Through the figure of the Italian imperial explorer Vittorio Bottego (1860–97), Martin explores issues of training, historiography, support, and memory. In doing so, Martin reflects on the meaning of 'decolonisation' in the context of Italian museum collections.
‘A Very British Way of Torture’: Researching for a TV documentary
PhD student Niels Boender had a chance to research for, and be part of, the Channel 4 and Al Jazeera documentary ‘A Very British Way of Torture’, also featuring Professor David Anderson. The documentary focuses on the use of torture by the British colonial authorities in Kenya against members of the anti-colonial Man Mau movement, and traces the historical research into official British attempts to cover this up. Niels reflects on the research here.
The International Origins of the Malawi Young Pioneers
From a Ghanaian emphasis on respect for state leaders and Soviet-style patriotism to an Israeli interest on agricultural production and a scout-like enthusiasm for bushcraft, the creators of the Malawi Young Pioneers drew inspiration from a range of different places. In this blog, Emma Orchardson traces the origins of Malawi's agricultural-turned-paramilitary youth organisation and explores some of its foreign influences in the 1960s. In doing so it reveals the effect these had on the organisation’s early construction and development, as well as highlighting some of the wider international connections Malawi forged in the initial years of independence.
The James Collection: Connecting Sussex with Somalia and Sudan through thefts of cooking pots and gifts of cloth
Europeans who ‘explored’ and hunted in eastern Africa in the later nineteenth century engaged local caravan traders to act as guides and protectors on their journeys from the coast to the interior. Each with loads carried by more than 200 porters, caravans brought trade goods into the region, and took out the material culture collected by the Europeans. Fleur Martin discusses how these processes of exchange – and theft – can be understood, highlighting the violence and agency that lies behind imperial collections in a case study of the James brothers’ journeys through Somalia and Sudan. Their collection of eastern African material cultural heritage is now housed at West Dean, an arts and conservation college in Sussex.