Impfe und herrsche. Veterinärmedizinisches Wissen und Herrschaft im kolonialen Namibia 1887–1929

Principal Investigator: Dr. Klemens Wedekind

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ursula Lehmkuhl

Duration: 2012-2017

In Namibia, just like in other settler colonies of sub-Saharan Africa, the European colonial system was literally built on the backs of horses, cattle, and sheep. Livestock played a central role in the socioeconomic fabric of the colonial societies. Due to this, animal diseases formed a major threat for the colonial rule in southern Africa. Moreover, they repeatedly triggered massive crises of knowledge and power. In short: Whoever wanted to rule had to be able to vaccinate. Leaving established colonial historical periodization behind, the project explores the entangled history of the production and adoption of veterinary knowledge. Focusing the research on rinderpest, African horse sickness and scab as examples, the project pursues a twofold strategy: In a first step, it reconstructs scientific research into animal diseases and control measures in southern Africa and maps emerging trans-imperial veterinary knowledge networks. In a second step, it demonstrates the key role of veterinary expertise in colonial Namibia in establishing and maintaining colonial rule.


Wedekind, Klemens (2020): Impfe und herrsche. Veterinärmedizinisches Wissen und Herrschaft im kolonialen Namibia, 1887-1929 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht).

Wedekind, Klemens (2017): „Eine der wichtigsten Lebensfragen der Kolonie“. Der Einsatz von Pferden und die Bekämpfung der afrikanischen Pferdesterbe im Kontext kolonialer Herrschaftssicherung in Deutsch-Südwestafrika zwischen 1894 und 1914, in: Tierstudien 12/2017. Tiere und Krieg. Hg. Jessica Ullrich / Mieke Roscher, 32-43.