|This Panel examines issues around the near-extermination of the Herero people in German South-West Africa in 1904, focussing especially on the question of whether German policy was following some "Sonderweg" specific to itself. The debate includes aspects such as the ideological pre-conditions, the particular dynamics present in the German colonies, the role of decision makers and the impact of German participation in crushing the Boxer Rising in 1900, but also draws comparisons with other colonial powers. Is there any connection between the genocide practised against the Herero and the Holocaust?
George Steinmetz, Professor of Sociology and German Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Steinmetz focuses on aspects of colonialism and imperialism in Germany, and this year published his latest book Precoloniality: "Ethnography, Symbolic Competition, and 'Native Policy' in the German Overseas Empire" (Southwest Africa, Samoa, and Qingdao/China). He is currently working on a publication entitled Decolonizing German Theory and on a documentary film "Living among Ruins: Detroit (USA) and Komsomolsk on Amur (Russia)". Together with Julia Adams he has edited the Politics, History, and Culture series published by Duke University Press.
Jürgen Zimmerer, Doctor of History at the Centro de Estudos Interdisciplinares do Século XX at the University of Coimbra in Portugal, where he is doing research on the transnational history of Europe in the 20th century. He has written many works on German colonial history, the relationship between colonialism and National Socialism, as well as comparative studies on the history of genocide. His most important publications are "Deutsche Herrschaft über Afrikaner. Staatlicher Machtanspruch und Wirklichkeit im kolonialen Namibia" (2001) and "Völkermord in Deutsch-Südwestafrika: Der Kolonialkrieg (1904-1908) und seine Folgen" (co-authored with Joachim Zeller, 2003). He is currently theme editor of the history journal "Sozial.Geschichte" (previously entitled "1999") and the online review "sehepunkte".