Impossible Missions?: German Economic, Military, and Humanitarian Efforts in Africa (Texts and Contexts)
By: Nina Berman (author)Hardback
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This study of the German presence in Africa in the modern period exposes forms of cultural domination that derive from a philosophy of progress and "good intentions." The humanitarian belief in development, however, can ultimately lead to the same structural imbalances that an overtly racist model of intervention produces. Berman examines five case studies involving German individuals and their respective "missions" in Africa: Max Eyth in Egypt, Albert Schweitzer in Gabon, Ernst Udet in East Africa, Bodo Kirchoff in Somalia, and modern-day tourists in Kenya. These engineers, doctors, pilots, soldiers, and tourists believed that their presence and actions would benefit the respective countries and their inhabitants. Nevertheless, their interventions created profound problems for Africans. Nina Berman describes the structures of domination that date back to colonialism but did not disappear with decolonization and are, in fact, integral to today's global economy. She also critiques the avoidance of African material reality in most of the analyses of European images of Africa, which has led to a perpetuation of the old model of Africanism. By highlighting patterns of domination that did not disappear with decolonization, Impossible Missions? disputes previous assumptions about why global inequality has not only persisted but increased.
Nina Berman is an associate professor of German at Ohio State University.
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- ID: 9780803213340
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