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Johanna Kreft

History, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Beyond "colonial amnesia" - Decolonising German institutional memory through transformative social activism

My PhD research seeks to map out the role of civil society and activist initiatives in promoting postcolonial remembering and an engagement with the colonial history in Germany, as it has been emerging over the last four decades. It seeks to go beyond the debates about narratives such as colonial amnesia and explore more closely, where in German society postcolonial discourses are taking place, who is having them, who is neglecting them, and how do they relate to one another. In doing so, a key aim of my research is to produce a critique of whose perspectives have thus far been recognised as authoritative sources of knowledge production and knowledge dissemination in the debate on postcolonial remembering in Germany.

Research Area

  • History


Kreft, J. (2023). Book review: Commemorating Muslims in the First World War Centenary: Making Melancholia. Memory Studies16(5), 1390–1393. https://doi.org/10.1177/17506980231184541b


  • Memory Studies Association (since 2021)
  • Association of German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland (since 2021)

Relevant Employment

  • Teaching Associate / German Language Tutor, Department of Modern Languages, University of Birmingham, since September 2021

Papers & presentations

  • "Postcolonial walking tours as a tool of disruptive memory activism in Germany", as part of the panel 'Contesting the Coloniality of Memory', presented at Memory Studies Association 7th Annual Conference, Newcastle University, July 2023
  • "Challenges of unpaid memory activism", presented at Mnemonics Summer School 2023, University of Westminster, June 2023
  • "Should we pay our interview participants?", presented at Doing Research Differently, MGS DTP Research Conference, Aston University, June 2023
  • "Challenging memories, challenging identities: Postcolonial activist walking tours in Germany", presented at Culture, Power and Identity: School of History and Cultures Conference, University of Birmingham, May 2023
  • "Postcolonial memory and contested urban landscapes: Street renaming debates in Berlin", presented at Power, Production, Perception, Online Student Symposium, De Montfort University and Coventry University,
    September 2021
  • "Public debates on postcolonial approaches to history and collective memory in Germany in 2020/21 and the question of positionality", presented at Voices at the Margins? Cultural Memory and Methodology Summer School,  University of Brighton, September 2021

Other activities

  • Co-organiser of the Doctoral Forum 21-22 at the Institute for German and European Studies (IGES) at the University of Birmingham (monthly forum for doctoral students to present their work, discuss questions and share feedback)