Jan-Bart Gewald

Jan-Bart Gewald is a historian specialized in the social history of Africa. He has been appointed Professor of the history of Southern Africa at the Institute of History, Leiden University as of 1 September 2013.

His research has ranged from the ramifications of genocide in Rwanda and Namibia, through to the socio-cultural parameters of trans-desert trade in Africa. In addition, he has conducted research on pan-Africanism in Ghana, spirit possession in the Republic of Niger, Dutch development cooperation, Africa in the context of globalisation, and social history in Eritrea.

Furthermore he has a particular interest in archaeology, and has participated in archaeological research in southern Africa. Within the theme group Agency in Africa he is working on a project dealing with the social history of the motor car in Zambia in the 20th century.

Jan-Bart Gewald was awarded research funding in 2008 with Robert Ross in the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) humanities for a programme entitled: "From Muskets to Nokias: Technology, Consumption and Social Change in Central Africa from Pre-Colonial Times to the Present".

In 2005 he was awarded funding by the NWO for a five year inter-institutional multi-disciplinary research programme within the social sciences and humanities entitled, ICE in Africa: the relationship between people and the Internal Combustion Engine in Africa. The research was funded by NWO within the context of the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme within which Jan-Bart Gewald was one of the Vidi laureates for 2005.

On a personal note, Jan-Bart grew up in Africa and has lived in Botswana, Congo Kinshasa, Eritrea, Ghana, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Fellow member
African Studies Centre
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