Working Group “Territoriality and Cartographic Knowledge”


Working Group “Territoriality and Cartographic Knowledge”

The Working Group on Territoriality and Cartographic Knowledge manifested in Spring 2022 to enable closer cooperation and scientific discourse among scholars working on historical cartography, particularly focussing on the material of the Perthes Collection.

Gotha Research Library, Perthes Collection, SPK 30.16 B (03) (CC BY-SA 4.0).





Admasu Abebe is a PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at Addis Ababa University and a lecturer at Mada Walabu University (Department of History and Heritage Management), Ethiopia. He is interested in historical anthropology aspects of studying indigenous boundaries of the fortified kingdom in East Africa and local cartographic knowledge depicted in 19th to early 20th century maps. His dissertation focuses on “GIS Digital mapping of the Cultural Heritage sites of the Great Dawuro Walls/Kati Halala Keela of Dawuro kingdom, Omo Valley Southwest Ethiopia”.



Claudia Berger (University of Erfurt) is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Transcultural Studies/Perthes Collection in Gotha. She works on historical cartography of Africa and Asia, collecting as a historical practice, and 19th-century exploration culture.




Ines Eben v. Racknitz graduated with an MA in Sinology, Religious Studies, and Comparative Literature from Freie Universität Berlin in 2003, and with a PhD in history at the University of Konstanz in 2009. She joined Nanjing University in 2011 and has been an associate professor at the School of Chinese History since 2016. Her research interests include global history, Chinese history in the 19th and 20th centuries, the late Qing period, and the history of cartography. In 2021/22, Ines Eben v. Racknitz taught at the University of Leipzig and at FU Berlin.




Rouven Kunstmann is a historian of Global and African History, who specialises in the study of nationalism, decolonisatin, visuality, print cultures, maps, and statehood.




Jitka Močičková is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of History of the Czech Academy of Sciences at the Charles University in Prague. She is currently interested in the 19th and 20th-century history of cartography of Central Europe.




Samuel Kidane Haile is a doctoral fellow at the Centre for Transcultural Studies of Erfurt University, funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation. His research interests include the administrative history and geohistory of Tigray in Northern Ethiopia. Currently, he is working on his PhD dissertation titled “Historical Sources, Oral Traditions and Interpretations on the Period of Ras Sihul Mikael 1692-1780”.




Wolbert G. C. Smidt is a postdoctoral researcher at the Research Unit „Ancient Southern Arabia and Northeastern Africa” at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany, Professor in Ethnohistory as an adjunct member at the Department of Anthropology of Mekelle University, Ethiopia, and currently (Nov./Dec. 2022) a visiting professor at the Archaeoriental Seminar of Warsaw University, Poland. As an ethnohistorian he focuses on long-term field research in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, and neighbouring regions, documenting their historiographical, cultural and socio-political traditions of cultural heritage and memory, territoriality, and self-governance.




Iris Schröder is Professor of Global History and director of the Centre for Transcultural Studies Gotha at Erfurt University. Her research includes the history of science, especially cultural histories of cartography and geography as well as historical epistemology. Moreover, she is involved in historiographical issues concerning the writing of European and global history, visual history and history writing in a digital age.




Felix Schürmann (University of Hamburg) is a historian specialising in modern Africa and its global entanglements as well as the history of the maritime world.




Beatriz Véliz Argueta is an interdisciplinary scholar and photographer interested in the construction of place (people and space) and the narratives built around these (dis)encounters in the Global South. Her work rests at the intersection of history, cartography, materiality and visual culture. She is Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the College of Arts & Architecture, Penn State University, where she continues to conduct research on the history of indigenous strategies for negotiating and resisting colonization. Previously, she was Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London.




Zegeye Woldemariam is a doctoral fellow of the Gerda Henkel Foundation at the Centre for Transcultural Studies at the University of Erfurt. He is currently working on his PhD dissertation on the history of the kingdom of Kafa in South-western Ethiopia, focusing on the early modern period.




Stephanie Zehnle is assistant professor (W1) of Extra-European History at the University of Kiel. Her research encompasses the spatial and environmental history of pre-colonial and colonial Africa with its global entanglements. Her first book A Geography of Jihad (De Gruyter 2020) analyses Muslim concepts of space in the nineteenth century Sahel based on Arabic manuscripts and maps.

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