My main topic of research is  the economic history of developing countries from a global historical perspective. My results help us to better understand the complexity and interconnectedness of our globalised world. The role of Africa and Asia in the context of post-colonial development policy is particularly important to me.

Aviation in post-colonial Africa: Driven by the desire to better understand colonial continuities and other factors shaping global aviation infrastructure, I looked at the decision-making processes and business operations of Air Afrique and Ethiopian Airlines as case studies.

Supported by a DFG “Eigene Stelle” grant and a post-doctoral fellowship from the HU Berlin, my research was also part of the DFG Priority Programme 1859 “Experience and Expectation”. I conducted research as the project leader/PI of a small team (1 researcher, 3 assistants), in France, Ethiopia, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal and the Netherlands.

Among the highlights of the project are the 2022 workshop “Fractured skies”, organised jointly with visiting scholar Waqar Zaidi of the Lahore University of Management and Science from Pakistan, and a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Transport History. 

The project findings have been published in a first research paper in 2022, three more papers/chapters are scheduled to be published in 2024. The manuscript for the monograph is in progress throughout 2024 and will be completed in 2025.

My research on the development of German foreign trade in Africa and Asia has focused on explicit case studies of German companies that were active in developing countries, as well as on the history of the expansion of the Lufthansa network to Africa and Asia.

This research area also includes my work German-Ethiopian economic relations, a study of Lufthansa’s network expansion towards Africa and Asia, and an analysis of industry lobbying around taxation and subsidies for investments in developing countries. My work is part of the subproject “Foreign Economic Securitization” in the SFB/TRR 138 “Dynamics of Security“, which aims to conduct interdisciplinary research on the historical development of security concepts and their implementation in political measures. The main findings will be published in 2025.

In addition to the cooperation with visiting scholar Shakila Yacob from the University of Malaya, Malaysia, intensive archival research in both Germany and Ethiopia has led to a deeper understanding of the evolving dynamics in the development of foreign trade and to a more global perspective. We are working on a publication of a comprehensive historical anthology on German companies in Asia.

After laying the groundwork with an international workshop on the global history of state-owned enterprises in 2020, my research in the coming years will focus on state-owned enterprises and industrialisation in Africa after 1960.

The aim is to conduct a comparative historical study of middle management in African companies, which will allow me to ask large-scope questions on industrial policy, development and institutionbuilding through the lens of specific organisational units and industries in relation to their respective development.

After receiving seed funding from the HU Berlin, I am planning to apply for an ERC Starting Grant to build a team of researchers and conduct extensive global field and archival research in Germany, Ethiopia, the United States, Cote D’Ivoire, the Netherlands, the US, and France.

Ethiopia and the beginnings of the UNESCO World Heritage Programme were the topic of my doctoral research, funded with a scholarship from the Gerda Henkel Foundation as well as an Open Access Grant from the Humboldt University of Berlin.

My starting points were questions about the beginnings of the World Heritage List and the role of developing countries in that process. The results addressed the economic importance of tourism and the nationalist politics of history as the main drivers of heritage conservation. It also highlighted the colonial origins of Western conservation knowledge and practices.

For this project, I conducted archival and field research in Ethiopia, at the UNESCO headquarters, and in the US, UK, and Switzerland. My findings were published in a monograph, Developing Heritage, Developing Countries and four research articles (see my google scholar), and translated into Portuguese. 

in Lalibela