n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Der wissenschaftliche Reisebericht und Kolonialismus
Die Forschungsreisen von Oscar Baumann nach West- und Ostafrika

Volume 42, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



Austrian researcher of African culture and history Dr Oscar Bauman undertook several journeys to African countries towards the end of the nineteenth century which he described in several books before he died in Zanzibar at the age of 35. Particularly, in his work entitled published in 1890, he compares and contrasts the politics of colonialism put into practice by Arabs in East Africa with the colonial approach exercised by Europeans in West Africa; he criticizes the slave trade carried out by colonizers in the whole of Africa - especially by Arabs inZanzibar - and the oppression of the local work force. Another considerable topic in Baumann's travelogues is his discussion and criticism of the methods employed by English missionaries and their colonial approach, which according to him are idealistic but not practical. Thus Baumann attacks two significant practices employed by the colonizers in Africa and offers new understandings. Even if Baumann's viewpoints and suggestions, on the surface, seem to be consistent with the norms of humanism, in fact when analysed more closely, it is obvious that they are also compatible with the goals of the new colonial understanding that appeared in the 19th century.

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