PD Dr. Katrin Bromber

Former Head of Research Unit "Age and Generation"

Phone: +49-(0)30-80307-237
Regional focus: East- and Northeast Africa
PD Dr. Katrin Bromber
PD Dr. Katrin Bromber


2020 - 2023
Head of the research unit "Age and Generation"
2014 - 2019
Head of the research unit “Progress: Ideas, Agents, Symbols” (research project: Progressive Citizen Bodies: Sports and Modernity in Ethiopia 1920-1974, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin)
2008 - 2013
Head of the research unit “Concepts of World and Order” (research project: Social history of sports in Africa and Asia, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin)
2003 - 2007
Research fellow: Travelling through the War. Discursive Strategies for Encouraging Transoceanic Mobility in the Swahili Military Press of the King’s African Rifles in World War II. (Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin)
Senior lecturer in Swahili and Applied Linguistics (Department of African Studies, University of Vienna)
2001 - 2002
Research fellow: Communicating Difference. Linguistic Means of Exclusion in the Swahili Press of Colonial Tanzania (Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin)
1995 - 1998
Research fellow: Body, Space and Time of Power: Studies into Historical Anthropology and Mental History of Tanzania (1850-1960). (Department of African Studies, Humboldt-University, Berlin; funded by German Research Council)
1992 - 1995
Research fellow: Historiographical Swahili Poetry. (Department of African Studies, Humboldt-University, Berlin; funded by German Research Council)
2009 - today
Adjunct Professor, Department of African Studies, University of Vienna


Habilitation, venia docendi in African Studies, University of Vienna, Thesis: Zwischen Legitimation und Regulierung: Die swahilisprachige Militärpublizistik während des Zweiten Weltkriegs (Between Legitimation and Regulation: The Swahili Military Press during World War II)
PhD African Linguistics, University of Leipzig (magna cum laude), Thesis: Politische Reden – Eine Textsorte? Eine Analyse von Dokumenten der politischen Führung Tansanias. Fallstudie: Swahili. (Political Speeches as Distinct Sort of Texts? A Speech Act Theoretical Analysis of Swahili)
M.A. Swahili Studies, University of Leipzig, Thesis: Schlüsselwörter der politischen Führung Tansanias. (Swahili Keywords of Tanzania‘s Political Elite)



2022, Sports & Modernity in Late Imperial Ethiopia, Suffolk: James Currey (Eastern Africa Series).

2009, Imperiale Propaganda. Die ostafrikanische Militärpresse im Zweiten Weltkrieg, Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag (ZMO-Studien 28).

2001, The Jurisdiction of the Sultan of Zanzibar and the Subjects of Foreign Nations, ca 1890. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag.

Journal Articles (peer reviewed)

2020: Soldier-Citizen Training. The Early Boy Scout Movement in Ethiopia, Northeast African Studies 20: 1-2 (2020), 91-116.

2019: Make Them Better Citizens. YMCA Training in Late Imperial Ethiopia (1950s-1970s), Annales d'Ethiopie 32, 19-40.

2019: with Jakob Krais: Introduction: Shaping the “New Man” in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Practices between Hope and Anxiety (1940s–1960s), Comparativ. Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung, 28, 5, 7-21.

2019: Scouting: Training the “New Man” in Post-liberation Ethiopia, Comparativ. Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung, 28, 5, 22-37.

2019: Make Them Better Citizens: YMCA Training in Late Imperial Ethiopia (1950s-1970s) Annales d'Ethiopie 32, 19-40.

2017: Von “Neuen Zeiten” und “Neuen Körpern”: Fitness im kaiserlichen Äthiopien (1940er-1970er), Stichproben: Vienna Journal of African Studies 32 (17), 1–33.

2017: The Stadium and the City: Sports Infrastructure in Late Imperial Ethiopia and Beyond, Cadernos de Estudos Africanos, 32 (1), 53–72.

2014: with Katharina Lange, Jeanne Féaux de la Croix: The Temporal Politics of Big Dams in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia: By Way of an Introduction. In: Id. (eds.), Temporal Politics of Big Dams in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, Special Issue of Water History 6(4), Springer Netherlands, Dezember 2014, 289–296.

2014: with Birgit Krawietz and Petar Petrov: Wrestling in Multifarious Modernity, The International Journal of the History of Sport 31 (4), 391–404.

2013: Muscularity, Heavy Athletics and Urban Leisure in Ethiopia, 1950s-1970s, The International Journal of the History of Sport 30 (16), 1915–1928.

2013: Improving the Physical Self. Sport, Body Politics, and Ethiopian Modernity, ca. 1920-1974, Northeast African Studies 13 (1), 71–99. 

2013: “Muscular Christianity”. The Role of the Ethiopian YMCA Sports in Shaping “Modern” Masculinities (1950s-1970s), SDALC(47), 29–44.

2007: German Colonial Administrators, Swahili Lecturers and the Promotion of Swahili at the Seminar für orientalische Sprachen in Berlin. Sudanic Africa. A Journal of Historical Sources 14 (2004), 39–54.

Journal Articles and Online Publications

2021: Translokalität – ein Kernbegriff zur Erforschung grenzüberschreitender Beziehungen im Globalen Süden. In: GWZ (ed.), 25 Jahre Geisteswissenschaftliche Zentren Berlin, 2021.

015: with Paolo Gaibazzi, Franziska Roy, Abdoulaye Sounaye, Julian Tadesse: “The Possibilities Are Endless”: Progress and the Taming of ContingencyZMO Programmatic Texts No. 9.

2007: Blühende Medienlandschaften Britische Informationspolitik für ostafrikanische Truppen während des Zweiten Weltkriegs. sozialgeschichte.extra 2007-12-10, 1–25.

2005: mit Ravi Ahuja, Jan-Georg Deutsch, Margret Frenz, Patrick Krajewski, Brigitte Reinwald: Neuere Literatur zum Indischen Ozean – eine kritische Würdigung, Periplus. Jahrbuch für außereuropäische Geschichte, 141–172.

2000: Biashara nzuri – biashara mbaya. Eine textanalytische Untersuchung zum Abgrenzungsdiskurs in der kolonialen tansanischen Presse (Mambo Leo, 1923). Swahili Forum VII (2000), 97–125.

Further Editorship

2019: with Jakob Krais (ed.): Shaping the “New Man” in Africa, Asia and the Middle East: Practices, Networks and Mobilization (1940s–1960s), Comparativ. Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung, 28, (5).

Book Chapters

2018: Eine gerichtete Landschaft: Ostafrikanische Soldaten in Nordafrika und im Nahen Osten während des Zweiten Weltkriegs. In Steffen Wippel, Andrea Fischer-Tahir (Eds.): Jenseits etablierter Meta-Geographien. Der Nahe Osten und Nordafrika in transregionaler Perspektive. Baden-Baden: Nomos (Nahoststudien. Middle Eastern Studies, 3), 153–170.

2018: Sasa popote, majeshi yetu duniani: Swahili Poetry and the Translocal Moment of World War II, Francesca Declich (ed.): Translocal Connections accross the Indian Ocean. Swahili Speaking Networks on the Move, Leiden: Brill, 121–131.

2018: With Katharina Lange and Heike Liebau: The First World War in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia: Commemoration, New Research and Debates around the Centennial. In: Katrin Bromber, Katharina Lange, Heike Liebau, Anorthe Wetzel (Eds.): The Long End of the First World War. Ruptures, Continuities and Memories. Campus: Frankfurt a. Main, 136–174.

2016: Ustaarabu: A Conceptual Change in Tanganyikan Newspaper Discourse in the 1920s. In: Margrit Pernau und Dominic Sachsenmaier (ed.): Global Conceptual History. A Reader. London, New York: Bloomsbury [Reprint from: Roman Loimeier, Rüdiger Seesemann, 2006].

2015: Introduction: The Landscape Paradigm as Operational Concept, in: Narendra Bondlam et al. (eds.): Cultural Landscapes of Ethiopia: Conference Proceedings, Mekelle: Mekelle University Printing Press, 7–9. 

2014: with Steffen Wippel, Birgit Krawietz, Christian Steiner. The Arabian Gulf: Urban Development in the Making, in Steffen Wippel et al. (eds.): Under Construction: Logics of Urbanism in the Gulf Region, Farnham: Ashgate, 1–14.

2014: The Sporting Way. Sport as Branding Strategy in the Gulf States, in: Katrin Bromber, Steffen Wippel, Christian Steiner, Birgit Krawietz (ed.): Under Construction. Logics of Urbanism in the Gulf Region, Farnham: Ashgate, 119–130. 

2014: Muscles, Dresses, and Conflicting Ideas of Progress: Ethiopia in the 1960s and 1970s, in Josep Martí (ed.): African Realities: Body, Culture and Social Tensions, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 171–190.

2013: with Birgit Krawietz, The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain as a Modern Sport Hub, in Katrin Bromber, Birgit Krawietz, Joseph Maguire (ed.), Sport Across Asia: Politics, Cultures, and Identities, New York: Routledge research in sport, culture and society 21, 189-211.

2013: Working with “Translocality”: Conceptual Implications and Analytical Consequences, in Steffen Wippel (ed.): Regionalizing Oman: Political, Economic and Social Dynamics, Heidelberg: Springer, United Nations University Series on Regionalism 6. 63–74.

2010: Mapping the Ocean: Visual Representations of the Indian Ocean in the Swahili Military Press during World War II, in: Ulrike Freitag, Achim v. Oppen (eds.): Translocality. The Study of Globalising Processes from a Southern Perspective, Leiden: Brill.

2008: Do not Destroy Our Honour: War Time Propaganda Directed at East African Soldiers in Ceylon (1943-44), in Ashwini Tambe, Harald Fischer-Tiné (eds.): The Limits of British Control in South Asia: Spaces of Disorder in the Indian Ocean, London/New York; Routledge, 84–101.

2007: Buibui: Un Débat sur le Vêtement Porté par le Femmes sur la Côte du Tanganyika (1929-1934), in Jean-Luc Vellut (ed.): Ville d'Afrique. Exploration en Histoire Urbaine, Paris: L'Harmattan, 201–17.

2007: “Furnish us with the Zanzibar History” – Geschichte im medialen Differenzdiskurs, in Catherine Griefenow-Mewis (ed.): Afrikanische Horizonte. Studien zur Sprachen, Kulturen und zur Geschichte,Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 59–69.

2007: Mjakazi, Mpambe, Mjoli, Suria. Female Slaves in Swahili Sources, inGwyn Campbell, Suzanne Miers, Joseph C. Miller (eds.): Women and Slavery. Volume One. Africa, the Indian Ocean World, and the Medieval North Atlantic, Athens: Ohio University Press, 111–128.

2006: Ustaarabu – A Conceptual Change in Tanganyikan Newspaper Discourse in the 1920s, in Roman Loimeier, Rüdiger Seesemann (eds.): The Global Worlds of the Swahili: Interfaces of Islam, Identity and Space in the 19th and 20th-Century East Africa, Berlin: LIT Verlag, 67–81.

2003: Disziplinierung – eine europäische Erfindung? Das elementare islamische Bildungswesen an der ostafrikanischen Küste des späten 19. Jahrhunderts, in Albert Wirz et al. (eds.): Alles unter Kontrolle, 37–53.

2003: Ein Lied auf die hohen Herren. Die deutsche Kolonialzeit in der Swahilidichtung der Jahrhundertwende, in Albert Wirz et al. (eds.): Alles unter Kontrolle, 73–98.

2003: with Jürgen Becher, Abdallah bin Hemedi – ein Vertreter der administrativen Elite im Transformationsprozeß zwischen Busaidi-Herrschaft und deutscher Kolonialadministration, in: Albert Wirz et al. (eds.), Alles unter Kontrolle, 54–70.

2003: with Andeas Eckert, A People's Princess? Der Besuch von Princess Margaret in Tanganyika, Oktober 1956, in Albert Wirz et al. (eds.), Alles unter Kontrolle, 203–220.

2003: Verdienste von Lehrern und Lektoren des Seminars für Orientalische Sprachen zu Berlin im Schaffen und Bewahren von Swahili-Wortkunst, in: Flora Veit-Wildt (ed.): Nicht nur Mythen und Märchen. Afrika-Literaturwissenschaft als Herausforderung, Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 34–57.

2002: Who are the Zanzibari? Newspaper Debates on Difference, 1948-1948, in Jan-Georg Deutsch, Brigitte Reinwald (eds.): Space on the Move: Transformations of the Indian Ocean Seascape in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century, Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag, 75–89.

Edited Volumes

2020: Education for Leadership: The YMCA in Late Imperial Ethiopia, 1940s-1970s, in Harald Fischer-Tiné, Stefan Huebner, and Ian Tyrrell (eds.), Spreading Protestant Modernity. Global Perspectives on the Social Work of the YMCA and the YWCA, 1889-1970 (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2020), 237-58.

2018: with Katharina Lange, Heike Liebau and Anorthe Wetzel (eds.): The Long End of the First World War. Ruptures, Continuities and Memories. Campus, Frankfurt a. Main.

2014: with Steffen Wippel, Christian Steiner, Birgit Krawietz (eds.): Under Construction. Logics of Urbanism in the Gulf Region. Farnham: Ashgate.

2013: with Birgit Krawietz and Joseph Maguire (eds.): Sport Across Asia. Politics, Cultures and Identities. New York: Routledge. Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society 2.

2012: with Heike Liebau, Katharina Lange, Dyala Hamzah, Ravi Ahuja (eds.): The World in World Wars. Experiences, Perceptions and Perspectives from Africa and Asia. Leiden: Brill.

2004: with Birgit Smieja (eds.): Globalization and African Languages: Risks and Benifits. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

2003: with Gudrun Miehe, Said Khamis, and Ralf Großerhode (eds.): Kala Shairi. German East Africa in Swahili Poems. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

2003: with Albert Wirz, and Andreas Eckert (eds.): Alles unter Kontrolle. Disziplinierungsprozesse im kolonialen Tansania (ca. 1850 - 1960). Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.


2018: Carola Lentz and David Lowe: Remembering Independence, London/New York: Routldge, 244 p. In TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research.

2017: Rhea Marie Richter, Frauensport in Kenia: Laufsportkultur zwischen Kenia und den USA. Hildesheim: Arete Verlag. 2016. 264 p. Stichproben - Vienna Journal of African Studies 33 (2017): 127–30. 

2016: Axel Fleisch/Rhiannon Stephens (eds.), Doing Conceptual History in Africa, New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books 2016, sehepunkte16(11), 15.11.2016.

2009: Holger Stoecker: Afrikawissenschaften in Berlin von 1919 bis 1945. Zur Geschichte und Topographie eines wissenschaftlichen Netzwerkes (2008), Africa Spectrum, 44(1),139–140.

2004: Sauda A. Barwani; Feindt, Regina; Gerhardt, Ludwig; Harding, Leonard; Wimmelbücker, Ludger: Unser Leben vor der Revolution und danach: autobiographische Dokumentartexte sansibarischer Zeitzeugen = Maisha yetu kabla ya mapinduzi na baadaye. Wortkunst und Dokumentartexte in afrikanischen Sprachen, Bd. 18. Köln: Köppe 2003, Africa Spectrum 39(3), 470–72.

2001: Ulrich van der Heyden: Die Afrikawissenschaften in der DDR. Eine akademische Disziplin zwischen Exotik und Exempel. Eine wissenschaftsgeschichtliche Untersuchung. Münster: LIT Verlag 1999, Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 24(1), 57–58.


2015: Äthiopien und der Minirock, Informationsblatt Deutsch-Äthiopischer Verein e.V. German Ethiopian Association, 1(2015) , 1–4.

2015: with Katharina Lange: “Research with”. How to Implement a Methodological Approach and an Ethical Claim – Experiences from an Institutional Perspective, GWZ-Jahrbuch, 83–97.

2014: Concepts of World and Order, in: Ulrike Freitag (ed.), Researching Muslim Societies. Inside and Outside ZMO, Berlin ZMO, 18–22.

2012: Mehr als Laufen: Der äthiopische Sport als sozialwissenschaftliches Brennglas, GWZ  Jahrbuch, GWZ-Jahrbuch,120–131.

2012: Dubai Sport City, in: John Nauright/Charles Perish (eds.): Sports around the World: History, Culture, and Practice, Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2012, 287.

Teaching Activities (recent)

Winter Term 2018
Methoden der Regionalstudien: Archivarbeit. Einführung in die praktische Forschungsarbeit im Archiv am Beispiel des Nachlasses des Afrikahistorikers Peter Sebald (with Stefan Hoffman and Alisher Karabaev, Humboldt University, Berlin, ZMO)


1999 - 2000
Research Grant of the Berlin City Council: Gendered Slavery – a Study of the History of Slavery on the Basis of Swahili Sources
1988 - 1992
Doctoral fellowship (University of Leipzig)


  • Academic Association for the Studies on the Horn of Africa (WAKHVA)
  • The Anglo-Ethiopian Society

Service to the Scientific Community

Since 2020
PI De:link // Re:link - Local perspectives on transregional (dis-)entanglements, BMBF: Research Consortium 2021 – 2024
Since 2018
PI Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures and Societies
Since 2015
Editorial Advisory Board Member – Studies of the Department of African Languages and Cultures (SDALC)
Since 2015
Editorial Advisory Board Member – Stichproben. Vienna Journal of African Studies
Since 2012
Chairwoman of the Academic Association for the Studies on the Horn of Africa (WAKHVA)


  • German: native speaker
  • English: full fluency (C2)
  • Swahili: full fluency (C2)
  • Amharic: upper intermediate level (B2)