Episode 1, Part 1: Decolonizing Berlin

In part 1 of the inaugural episode, we invited Dr. Noa Ha and Prof. Dr. Tahani Nadim to discuss the relationship between German colonial history and Berlin—the metropole of that colonial past. We focus on Berlin’s street names and the Natural History Museum as spaces of remembrance and resistance. In this episode we ask ourselves, in what ways does colonialism continue to shape Berlin institutions and the city of Berlin itself?

“The decolonization of buildings and of public spaces is inseparable from the democratization of access.”

Achille Mbembe
“Decolonizing Knowledge and the Question of the Archive.” In Africa is a Country, 2015 (ebook).

Episode 1, Part 1: Decolonizing Berlin


In part 1 of this inaugural episode, we invited Dr. Noa Ha and Prof. Dr. Tahani Nadim to discuss the relationship between German colonial history and Berlin—the metropole of that colonial past. We focus on Berlin’s street names and the Natural History Museum as spaces of remembrance and resistance. In this episode we ask ourselves, in what ways does colonialism continue to shape Berlin institutions and the city of Berlin itself?

Photograph taken by edna bonhomme

Dr. Noa Ha
Born in West-Germany and child of an Indo-Dutch-German family, Noa Ha has directed the Center for Integration Research at the TU Dresden since 2018. After her formation as landscape gardener, she studied landscape planning at TU Berlin and did her doctorate in architecture on the topic of informality and racism exemplified by street vending in Berlin. She taught and researched in the areas of historical urbanism, urban sociology and the sociology of space at TU Berlin, Center for Metropolitan Studies, and the Humboldt-Universität. Her research investigates processes of urban production from decolonial, critical race theory, feminist and queer theory perspective. She’s a founding member of the “Critical Race, Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies Association” and was active in several organizations such as Migrationsrat Berlin-Brandenburg e.V., of korientation e.V. (an Asian German network) and of Critical Ethnic Studies Association (CESA).

TU Dresden
herstorycity

Prof. Dr. Tahani Nadim

Prof. Dr. Tahani Nadim is Junior Professor for Socio-Cultural Anthropology in a joint appointment between the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and the Department for European Ethnology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and a researcher at CARMAH since 2017. Her interdisciplinary research combines the sociology and the anthropology of science and focuses on problematizing data practices and data infrastructures in biodiversity discovery and natural history collections. She heads the interdisciplinary research centre Humanities of Nature at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, which examines the politics of nature past and present. She also runs the experimental research unit Bureau for Troubles in which she collaborates with artists and curators. Her writings have appeared in Science as CultureBig Data & Society and the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Her most recent exhibitions include The Influencing Machine (neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, Berlin 2018-19) and Dead wasps fly further (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, 2015).

Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin

Organizations and projects mentioned in this episode

CREDITS

Interviewed by edna bonhomme, Kristyna Comer, and Marianna Szczygielska, April and May 2019
Recordings by edna bonhomme, Kristyna Comer, and Marianna Szczygielska
Editing and post-production by edna bonhomme
Music by ispeakwaves (384935, Attribution License), X3nus (450539, Attribution License, Creative Commons), pryght one (27130, Sampling+ License, Creative Commons), EHR (33987, Attribution License, Creative Commons), scotcampbell (263709, Creative Commons 0 License)
Logo by Nina Prader, Lady Liberty Press
Photo by Kristyna Comer

Special thanks to Gina Grzimek, Stephanie Hood, Anja Krieger, Nina Prader, Dr. Lisa Onaga, Prof. Dr. Dagmar Schäfer, Karin Weninger, and Dr. Danyang Zhang.