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Dr. Jutta Wimmler

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

Jutta Wimmler

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


Current Position


The Imagination of African Slavery: European Concepts and Discourses 1450 – 1900

In my research project, I investigate the writings of individuals from various European speaker-communities who travelled to Sub-Saharan Africa between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries as records of European knowledge production. I postulate that they reflect concerns and discourses dominant in the writer’s community and that these impacted the way the authors wrote about “slavery” in African societies both in style and in content. Working from both a synchronic and a diachronic angle, crossing time and space, I look for trends, fissures, and contradictions; I investigate how Europeans commented on themselves and their societies through their encounter with African peoples; I explore how writers struggled to give meaning to their experiences and “discoveries” by (not always successfully) integrating them into existing frameworks; and I assess the impact of these deliberations on the development of European ways of generating knowledge and classifying information. I hypothesize that this was a two-way street: existing discursive, conceptual, and ideological frameworks managed the travelers’ expectations and interpretations – but the societies and people they encountered and the experiences they made also altered those frameworks and inspired new ones.


  • 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)


  • 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 

  • With Klaus Weber (eds.): Globalized Peripheries. Central Europe and the Atlantic World 1680–1860. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer 2020.
  • 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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