Event—Scholarly Seminars

Andrew Denning, University of Kansas


Empire by Automobile: Entrepreneurial Imperialism and the Weak Colonial State in German East Africa, Andrew Denning, University of Kansas

This paper examines the trans-African automotive expedition of Paul Graetz, who drove from Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) to Swakopmund (Namibia) between August 1907 and May 1909. Graetz used the automobile as a tool of entrepreneurial imperialism, through which he sought to garner personal acclaim while also advancing Germany’s overseas interests by demonstrating how the automobile would revolutionize colonial rule. Although Graetz successfully drove across Africa, his journey showed that the power of the automobile created perceptions of supremacy that did not translate to the entrenchment of administrative rule or territorial control.