Universiteit Leiden

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Diana Natermann

Assistant Professor

Dr. D.M.S.M. Natermann
+31 71 527 1256

I am an historian of modern European and African history, with a specialization in nineteenth- and twentieth-century colonial history and post-colonial studies as well as the ideals of Internationalism during the past century. My fields of interest also include memory studies, micro history, global history, food studies, and East-Asian studies.

More information about Diana Natermann


As a cultural historian, my intellectual interests lie on (post-)colonial theories in an African-European context. My expertise includes biographical research, use of ego-documents, digital humanities, visual history with a special interest in photography, women’s and masculinity studies, food history, and the interplay between culture and politics in decolonised states. When teaching my goals are to transfer to students the value of critical thinking and raising their own voices.

Fields of interest

  • Post-colonial studies
  • Colonial history
  • Nineteenth- and twentieth-century history
  • Global history
  • International history
  • African history


My research explores the history of European imperialism in sub-Saharan Africa and the cultural, political and social effects these joint histories have until today. I am especially interested in the creation of certain racial structures and their effects on the creation and alteration of previous cultures that affected both European and African societies.

My current book project, The Pursuit of Whiteness in the Colonies. Private Memories from the Congo Free State and German East Africa (1884-1914), traces the entanglement of a so-called white culture in non-white colonial territories. By applying egodocuments from Belgian, German, and Swedish colonials who worked and lived in either of the above mentioned colonies, I draw cultural whiteness into everyday life occurences and how they were experienced by colonisers as well as recorded in their private documents and photographs. By doing so I not only draw whiteness studies into a global frame of new scholarship on post-colonial studies, but at the same time, my research tracks the links between the interconnectedness of colonialism and racial ideologies with topics related to friendship, masculinity studies, feminist studies, and food history. Belgian and German colonial history emerges as a comparative space for those interested in the broader twentieth-century history of colonial whiteness and its long-term effects on European-African racialisation until the twentyfirst century. 

Grants and awards

  • 2017: Axel Springer Stiftung – funding of printing costs for the publication of the Ph.D. thesis
  • 2017: HEC Department (EUI) grant for the publication of the Ph.D. thesis
  • 2016: James Kaye Memorial Prize 2016 – Short-listed for best PhD thesis in history & visuality
  • 2016/2017: Gerda Henkel Stiftung, Düsseldorf – Successful grant application for tandem Ph.D. scholarship and art fellowships (Germany and Namibia) starting 2017
  • 2014/2015: EUI grant holder for the completion of the PhD thesis
  • 2011/2015: Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst
  • (DAAD), Bonn, Germany, grant holder to accomplish research within the PHD programme of the EUI
  • 2011: History Department of the Goethe-University, Frankfurt, Germany Grant holder for archival research in Brussels for the M.A. thesis 

Key publications

Affiliated activities

  • Member of “Verband Deutscher Historikerinnen und Historiker“
  • Affiliated Researcher with research centre ”Hamburg’s (Post)Colonial Legacy”
  • EUI Alumni Member

Assistant Professor

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • History and International Studies

Work address

Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 0.18c



No relevant ancillary activities

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