Dr. Margret Frenz

Margret Frenz


I am a global, transnational, and imperial historian, with a strong emphasis on comparative social and cultural perspectives. My interests are in how individuals experienced different social positions in colonial and post-colonial settings; how they remember their lives during and especially at the end of colonialism; and how these experiences can be related to the broader, structural history of empires, and of relationships between empires, and across nation-states.

Before joining the Faculty of Cultural Studies at the University of Bayreuth as a Heisenberg-Fellow, I held posts at the Universities of Oxford (Oxford Centre for Global History and St Cross College), Leicester, Berlin, and Heidelberg. In 2010/11 I was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, and in 2015/16, I worked as a Fellow at the Institut d'Études Avancées de Nantes. 



My current research project, Globalization from Below: Circular Migration between South Asia and Africa, c. 1850-2000, or short GloBe, investigates South Asian migrants to Africa, their historical trajectories, the continuities and transformations of their movements, as well as similarities in and differences between their migrations to different parts of Africa. It differentiates the various types of migration in order to create a novel understanding of circular migration movements between South Asia and Africa. Methodologically, the project involves consulting archives in three continents (Europe, South Asia, Africa) and weaving the analysis of oral history interviews with surviving South Asian migrants into my work. I contribute new aspects to existing scholarship: on the circulatory character of movements; on intra-imperial connections within the British and the Portuguese Empires; on inter-imperial connections between the British and Portuguese Empires, and from the mid-twentieth century on, between empires and nation-states bridging the colonial and post-colonial divide.