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Dr. Memory Biwa

Memory-Biwa Dr. Memory Biwa

Short Bio

Memory Biwa resides in Windhoek, Namibia. She studied History, Law and Politics at the University of Cape Town. And completed her doctoral thesis titled, “Weaving the Past with Threads of Memory: Narratives and Commemorations of the Colonial War in southern Namibia”, at the University of the Western Cape in 2012. Her research on narratives and performance, as archive, informs notions of subjectivity and the re-centering of alternative epistemologies and imaginaries. Biwa has worked at the National Archives in Windhoek, and taught at the University of Namibia.

She is currently conducting research on a project within the Africa Multiple cluster of Excellence program. titled, “Karakul Circulations: Colonial Economies and the Un-making of Disciplinary Knowledges in Germany and Namibia”.

Selected Publication

  • Memory Biwa, ‘Afterlives of Genocide: Return of bodies from Berlin to Windhoek’, in Fazil Moradi, Ralph Buchenhorts and Maria Six-Hohenbalken eds., “Memory and Genocide: On what remains and the possibility of representation”, Routledge, 2016.

To access the lecture by Dr. Biwa, please click here.


Project Description

In our project, we are interested in the circulations of people, sheep and knowledges in and through post_colonial spaces and timescales. These Karakul circulations mark and transgress boundaries of race and species in multiple ways. Karakul sheep connect Germany, colonial South-West Africa, Namibia and South Africa with other regions in the world. They are embedded in specific articulations of power and violence. Temporal circulations bring together German colonialism, South African imperial rule, colonial revisionism in Nazi Germany as well as heritage debates in independent Namibia. Through our transdisciplinary approach we analyze the relations between bodies (human and sheep), representations (documents, scientific publications and memories) and knowledges (local, tacit, taxonomic, scientific and silenced). We discuss the ways in which Karakul circulations were instrumental in producing a racialized or nonhuman other, while simultaneously challenging conventional species boundaries. We pay particular attention to the multi-directional pathways and fluid forms of knowledges, thereby contributing to the conceptualization of Africa as multiple

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