Capturing German South West Africa: Racial Production, Land Claims, and Belonging in the Afterlife of the Herero and Nama Genocide
This dissertation seeks to describe how German imperial statecraft, as driven by Lebensraum, was shaped by an anti-Black conception of biologized citizenship. Further, the genocidal Herero Wars (1904-08) in German South West Africa (present-day Namibia) materialized biomedical and political structures that endure in the present. I argue this using three case studies tethering present materialities to colonial-era biomedicine. The first is the collection and ongoing incarceration of Herero and Nama skulls in western archives. The second is a transnational analysis of anthropologist Eugen Fischer's racialist "Bastard studies" to clarify the genocide continuity thesis via eugenic research in the colony being folded into the metropole. And the last is a connection of contemporary fixations on the genomic sequencing of the San people to genomic sovereignty, the nationalizations of genetic ancestry, and indigeneity.