dörte lerp on german settler colonialism


Dörte Lerp, ‘Farmers to the Frontier: Settler Colonialism in the Eastern Prussian Provinces and German Southwest Africa’,  Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 41, 4 (2013). Special Issue: German Colonialism

This article focuses on settler colonial practices and discourses within the German Empire. Between 1886 and 1914 German government officials funded and implemented settlement programmes in two quite distinct regions of the empire: the eastern provinces of Posen and West Prussia and the colony German Southwest Africa. So far those programmes have not been analysed together, most likely due to the largely separate disciplinary traditions of East European and colonial history. Striving for a more inclusive approach towards German imperial history this article demonstrates that the settlement schemes in both places were characterised by similar struggles over concepts of space and population. It argues moreover that völkisch ideas of Lebensraum became increasingly influential within those struggles because they bridged the gap between conflicting conservative and liberal concepts of socio-spatial organisation.

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