Universiteit Leiden

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Jan-Bart Gewald

Scientific Director / Professor History of Africa

Prof.dr. J.B. Gewald
+31 71 527 3372

For an overview of Prof. Jan-Bart Gewald's research and publications, visit his profile on the ASCL website.

Prof. Jan-Bart Gewald is Director of the African Studies Centre Leiden as of 1 September 2017. He is Professor of African History and is specialized in the social history of Africa.

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. For the past 15 years his prime research focus has been on the socio-cultural history of central Africa. Of late he has become interested in the “Animal Turn” in history, and is seeking to apply this in his research and supervision. Furthermore he has a particular interest in archaeology, and has participated in archaeological research in southern Africa.

Jan-Bart Gewald has acquired research funding from a wide variety of sources and was awarded research funding by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for research programmes within the social sciences and humanities that dealt with the role of technology and consumption in African societies.

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.

CV Jan-Bart Gewald.

Inaugural Lecture: To Grahamstown and Back: Towards a Socio-cultural History of Southern Africa, Leiden University, 6th June 2014.

Key publications


  • “We Thought we Would be Free”: Socio-Cultural Aspects of Herero History in Namibia 1920-1940 (Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag) 2000, pp. 272.
  • Herero Heroes: A Socio-Political History of the Herero of Namibia 1890 - 1923 (Oxford: James Currey; Cape Town: David Philip; Athens OH: Ohio University Press) 1999, pp. x + 310.


  • With Jos van Beurden, From output to outcome?: 25 years of IOB evaluations, Aksant Academic Publishers: Amsterdam 2004.


  • Jan-Bart Gewald, Marja Hinfelaar and Giacomo Macola, Living the end of Empire: Politics and society in late colonial Zambia, Leiden, Boston: Brill 2011.
  • Jan-Bart Gewald, Sabine Luning and Klaas van Walraven, The Speed of Change: Motor Vehicles and People in Africa, 1890-2000 Leiden, Boston: Brill 2009.
  • Jan-Bart Gewald, Marja Hinfelaar and Giacomo Macola, One Zambia, Many Histories: Towards a History of Post-coolonial Zambia, Leiden, Boston: Brill 2008. (Reprinted by Lembani Press in Zambia 2010).

Scientific Director / Professor History of Africa

  • Afrika-Studiecentrum

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 3A07



  • Opgenomen in intern register

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