ICAS:MP Special Lecture by Andreas Eckert on ‘Where are the workers? Metamorphosis of labour politics in Africa after the end of colonial rule’; 3 March 2023

Date: 3 March, 5:00 pm IST

Venue: Seminar room, CSDS

Introduction by Rupa Viswanath (University of Göttingen/Director, ICAS:MP)

Where are the workers? Metamorphosis of labour politics in Africa after the end of colonial rule

This presentation starts with the observation that the “labour question”, which practically disappeared from African studies from the 1980s onward, is staging a comeback. The current re-emergence of this topic is linked to a profound interest in informal and precarious work and goes hand in hand with the scrutiny of a wide variety of forms of labour: from women doing household labour and care work to the activities of smugglers. The talk reflects on the state of research on labour and workers in Africa against the backdrop of some observations about major trends and transformations in labour politics, labour relations and work practices since decolonization. It particularly asks: to what extent have the activities of workers, even though their possibilities in postcolonial Africa have been often very limited, nevertheless shaped the development of labour regimes?

Andreas Eckert holds the chair of African history at Humboldt University Berlin. Since 2009 he is also Director of the International Research Center/Käte Hamburger Collegium “Work and Human Life Course in Global History” (re:work), funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. He widely published on 19th- and 20th-century African history, colonialism, labour, and global history. Eckert regularly publishes for German newspapers like the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” and “Die Zeit”. His most recent book is a global history of slavery, published in German (“Geschichte der Sklaverei. Von der Antike bis ins 21. Jahrhundert“ Munich: C.H. Beck, 2021).

Interested participants can register till 28 February at manocha@mwsindia.org.

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