Jutta Wimmler
Dr. Jutta Wimmler

Dr. Jutta Wimmler

Researcher and Coordinator of Research Group
"The Concept of Slavery in African History"

University of Bonn
Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
Niebuhrstraße 5
D-53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 / (0)228 / 73 62563



I am interested in discovering how Sub-Saharan Africa and its people have impacted Europe and its people since the establishment of direct trade relations in the fifteenth century. Such an impact can be found both in the economic and in the conceptual sphere. In my current project, I focus on the latter. I investigate the concept of "slavery" as constructed in travel accounts and letters written by speakers of several European languages about Sub-Saharan Africa from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries.

I postulate that in writing about Africa South of the Sahara, writers not only employed their established conceptual framework and discursive elements, but also had to adapt this framework in reaction to the people and circumstances they encountered. I thus hope to discover what role contact with African societies may have played in European understandings of "slavery". I follow a mixed-methods approach, using the software MAXQDA.

Current Position

  • 2020–present            Research Group Leader "The Concept of Slavery in African History”, Research Area A, Bonn Center for
                                         Dependency and Slavery Studies, University of Bonn, Germany


  • 2008–2011                 Ph.D. Studies, Department of History, University of Graz, Austria
  • 2008–2012                 M.A. Studies, Comparative Religion (Religionswissenschaft), University of Graz, Austria
  • 2003–2008                 M.A. Studies (Diplomstudium), Department of History, University of Graz, Austria

Academic Positions

  • 2011–2020                 Postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Chair of Comparative European Economic and Social History, European University Viadrina, Germany
  • 2015–2019                 Co-director of the DFG-funded project The Globalized Periphery: Atlantic Commerce, Socioeconomic and
                                          Cultural Change in Central Europe (c.1680–1850), European University Viadrina, Germany (with Klaus Weber)
  • 2008–2011                 Doctoral researcher in the FWF-funded project Cultural Exchange from the Southern Atlantic to Central Europe
                                          in Times of War and Crisis (1640–1740): France and Spain as Mediators for the Habsburg Empire, University of Graz, Austria (directed by Renate Pieper)

Participation in Collaborative Project

  • 2018–present             Asia Slavery Database project member
  • 2017–present             Slavery in the Indian Ocean World and beyond network member
  • 2015–2016                 Free/Unfree Labor France-Stanford program member
  • 2014–2016                 Scientific committee member of the Travail Libre/travail forcé. Contraintes locales et dynamiques globales research program
  • 2012–2014                 Indian Ocean World: Forms of bondage in the Indian Ocean. Origins, Structure and transformations research program member
  • 2011–2015                 Legalizing Space in China research program member


  • 07–10/2016                Research Stipend at the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, Germany
  • 08–09/2014                Karl-Ferdinand-Werner Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Paris, France
  • 03–06/2013                Research Fellow at the International Research Centre for Cultural Studies at the University of Art and Design Linz in Vienna, Austria


Selected Publications

  • The Sun King's Atlantic: Drugs, Demons and Dyestuffs in the Atlantic World, 1640–1730. Leiden/Boston: Brill 2017.
  • Religious Science Fiction in Battlestar Galactica and Caprica: Women as Mediators of the Sacred and Profane. Jefferson: McFarland 2015.
  • Centralized African States in the Transatlantic Slave Trade: The Example of 18th Century Asante and Dahomey. Graz: Leykam 2012.
  • From Senegal to Augsburg: Gum Arabic and the Central European Textile Industry in the Eighteenth Century. In: Textile History 50/1 (2019): 4–22.
  • "Dreieckshandel", Glasperlen und Gender: Eine De-Konstruktion mythischer Narrative zum transatlantischen Sklavenhandel in aktuellen deutschen und österreichischen Schulbüchern. With Roland Bernhard. In: Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht 70/3-4 (2019): 149–164.
  • The Devil’s Beatings: African Dimensions of Early Modern Demonology in the Atlantic World. In: Journal of Religion in Africa 45 (2015): 249–278.
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