Sara Pugach | Marxists and other Migrants: African Intellectual Pathways from the German Democratic Republic

Sponsor(s): German Historical Institute Washington | Pacific Office Berkeley, Institute of European Studies, Institute of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies 

This paper will look at the later careers of Africans who studied in the German Democratic Republic. While I intend to write about former educational migrants who took all sorts of routes after their university or vocational training, this particular talk focuses on those students who became professors in the humanities or social sciences. I will explore the impact that their studies in the GDR had – or did not have – on their academic careers. Some of the former students I will discuss are ethnologist Yalla Eballa, historian Obarogie Ohonbamu, historian Bawuro Barkindo, historian Seth Nyagava, and literary scholar Amadou Booker Sadji. I will leave the paper open-ended, since I am at the beginning of this project and at the moment I have more questions than answers.

Sara Pugach is professor of history at Cal State LA, where she has taught since 2008. She is the author of African Students in East Germany, 1949-1975 (Michigan, 2022) and Africa in Translation: A History of Colonial Linguistics in Germany and Beyond, 1814-1945 (Michigan, 2012), and co-editor of After the Imperialist Imagination: Two Decades of Research on Global Germany and its Legacies (Peter Lang, 2020). Currently, she is a Senior Fellow at the German Historical Institute’s Pacific Office.

If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) or information about campus mobility access features in order to fully participate in this event, please contact Ray Savord at or (510) 642-4555 with as much advance notice as possible and at least 7-10 days before the event.

Speaker: Sara Pugach, Professor of History, California State University
Moderator: Isabel Richter, Deputy Director Pacific Office of the German Historical Institute Washington