Marcia C. Schenck is an Assistant Professor (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) in Global History at Freie Universität Berlin. She joined the faculty in 2018 after a year as Postdoctoral Fellow at re:work at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. She holds a PhD and MA in history from Princeton University, an MSc in African Studies from the University of Oxford, and a BA in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College. She was a visiting scholar at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo in 2014.
Schenck is currently a member of working groups focusing on critical migration studies and refugee and forced migration studies in Africa in the Migration Laboratory (Labor Migration) and the Network Refugee Studies (Netzwerk Fluchtforschung). Moreover, she is collaborating with Professor Jeremy Adelman and Princeton’s Global History Lab in providing access to higher education in the humanities to refugee learners around the world. Furthermore, she is organizing an international workshop titled Rethinking Refuge: Processes of Refuge Seeking in Africa and beyond to be held in Berlin in June 2019, funded by the Forum Transnationale Studien.
Originally from Germany, Marcia C. Schenck has gained research experience in South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, the US, Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany, and Portugal. She complimented her academic experience as Mercator Fellow on International Affairs working for international organizations on global labor migration in Germany, Argentina, and Indonesia.
The history of migration and refugees, labor, education, development, and international organizations, oral history, African history, and global history are among Schenck’s research and teaching interests.
Marcia C. Schenck is currently on leave as a Visiting Research Scholar in the Department of History at Princeton University.
As a global historian of Africa, Marcia C. Schenck is committed to the study of Africa and Africans as an integral part of writing global history. Her research interests follow this concentration, focusing on the nexus between migration, labor, and development between Africa and the world. Her background lies in African Studies and African and global history. Her areas of specialization include the history of southern and Lusophone Africa from the late 19th century to the present, and global history 1850 to the present.
At Princeton University, Schenck defended her dissertation titled Socialist Solidarities and Their Afterlives: Histories and Memories of Angolan and Mozambican Migrants in the German Democratic Republic, 1975-2015 in September 2017. This social history draws on oral histories of Angolan and Mozambican men and women who worked across various industries in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) during the 1980s. Framed by the chronology of the migrants’ life histories, the project discusses the reasons for leavening and returning home, lived experiences regarding production and consumption, integration and exclusion in the GDR, and the present-day legacies of the migration processes in Angola and Mozambique. Schenck is currently transforming her dissertation into a book and publishing on related projects about African migrations during the Cold War period.
Schenck’s latest research project The African Refugee Regime in Global Perspective 1963-1984 traces the historic genesis of the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa within the context of debates about decolonization, pan-Africanism, and the Cold War in Africa.This political and legal history analyzes the history of international organizations such as the UNHCR and the OAU with regard to the formulation of the African refugee regime. The implications of the convention in question, however, cannot be understood without taking into account the formalization of a European refugee regime after the Second World War or considering the discussions about a Latin American regional refugee complex in the early 1980s.
Trained in higher education in emergency settings, Schenck has taught refugee learners in Kakuma refugee camp in the north of Kenya in connection with Professor Jeremy Adelman's Massive Open Online Course Global History Lab. Schenck remains involved in projects that contribute to redefining access to university level history learning in non-traditional settings. In this context, she is currently reflecting upon the role of humanitarian history-in-action (different from the history of humanitarianism).
Negotiating East Germany: Angolan Student Migration during the Cold War 1976-90. In: Africa, Vol.89, S.1, pp.144-166.
A Chronology of Nostalgia: Memories of Former Angolan and Mozambican Worker Trainees to East Germany. In: Labor History, Vol. 59, No. 3, 2018, pp.352-374.
Constructing and Deconstructing the “Black East” – a helpful research agenda?. In: Stichproben. Wiener Zeitschrift für kritische Afrikastudien, Vol. 18, No. 34, 2018, pp.135-152.
A Conversation about Global Lives in Global History: South Korean Overseas Travelers and Angolan and Mozambican Labourers in East Germany during the Cold War. In: Atelier, Revue électronique du Centre de Recherches Historiques, Special Issue on Experiments in Global History – a collaborative approach, No. 18, 2018.
From Luanda and Maputo to Berlin: Uncovering Angolan and Mozambican migrants’ motives to move to the German Democratic Republic (1979-90). In: African Economic History, Vol. 44, 2016, pp.202-234.
Uncomfortable Pasts: Talking about Slavery in Angola (with Mariana P. Candido). In: African Heritage and Memory of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World, Ana Lucia Araujo (eds.), Cambria Press, 2015, pp.213-252.
Between Hammer, Machete, and Kalashnikov: Contract Labor Migration from Angola and Mozambique to East Germany, 1979-1990, Europe Now, Issue 15, March 2018.
The increasing numbers of refugees are not an aberration, they are likely to be the new norm, Interview with Prof. Alexander Betts, University of Oxford. In: AdHoc, September 2016, pp.24.-25.
Ostalgie in Mosambik: Erinnerungen ehemaliger mosambikanischer Vertragsarbeiter in der DDR. In: Südlink, Vol. 43, No. 172, 8. June 2015, pp.21-23.
The End of Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk but Not of South Africa’s Path to Unity. In: Alumnae Quarterly, Mount Holyoke College, Spring 2014, p.80.
Mandela: How South Africa Saw Him. In: The Ship, St. Anne’s College, Oxford, 2014, pp.74-76.
Wie kommt der Reis zur Currywurst? Oder: wie Arbeitsmigration Entwicklung fördern kann. In: Internationale Politik, Jan./Feb. 2014, Special Edition Mercator Kolleg 2013, pp.63-65.
Jeffrey James Byrne. Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order. In: Connections, Oct. 20, 2018.
Tanja R. Müller: Legacies of Socialist Solidarity: East Germany in Mozambique; Ulrich Van der Heyden, Wolfgang Semmler and Ralf Straßburg, (eds.): Mozambican Contract laborers in the GDR economy: Background – Course – Consequences. In: African Studies Review, Vol. 58, No. 1, 2015, pp.247-250.
Ute Dieckmann: Hai||om in the Etosha Region: A History of Colonial Settlement, Ethnicity and Nature Conservation. Introduction by Robert Gordon. In: International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 42, No. 3, 2009, pp.492-493.