Marie Huber | Associated Researcher

Dynamics and Experiences of Globalisation
Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191, D-10117 Berlin
Email: marie.huber  ( at ) Tel: +49(0) 30 / 20 93 70700

Home Institution : Philipps Universität Marburg | Position : Postdoctoral Research Fellow | Disciplines : History |


Marie Huber researches the history of development and nation building in Africa from a global history perspective as well as the transnational emergence and circulation of knowledge and the development of economic expectations. She graduated with a PhD in History from the Humboldt University in Berlin. 


In her Ph.D. project and first book, Marie looked at the Ethiopian example to examine the execution of the World Heritage Convention in developing countries. 

Title of thesis
Developing Heritage - Developing Countries, Ethiopian Nation-Building and the Origins of UNESCO World Heritage, 1960-1980
Summary of thesis

The history of development has paid only little attention to cultural projects. This book looks at the development politics that shaped the UNESCO World Heritage programme, with a case study of Ethiopian World Heritage sites from the 1960s to the 1980s. In a large-scale conservation and tourism planning project, selected sites were set up and promoted as images of the Ethiopian nation. This story serves to illustrate UNESCO’s role in constructing a “useful past” in many African countries engaged in the process of nation-building. UNESCO experts and Ethiopian elites had a shared interest in producing a portfolio of antiquities and national parks to underwrite Ethiopia’s imperial claims to regional hegemony with ancient history. The key findings of this book highlight a continuity in Ethiopian history, despite the political ruptures caused by the 1974 revolution and UNESCO’s transformation from knowledge producer to actual provider of development policies. The particular focus on the bureaucratic and political practices of heritage, bridges a gap between cultural heritage studies and the history of international organisations. The result is a first study of the global discourse on heritage as it emerged in the 1960s development decade.


Since 2021        German foreign trade with Africa

-Funding of a preliminary study on German direct investment in Africa from 1950-1990 by Africa Policy Research Institute (APRI), Berlin

-Case studies on 1. German political economy of development aid from 1960 on, 2. Lufthansa’s international route expansion towards the Global South and 3. German-Ethiopian economic relations within the framework of the sub-project "Foreign Economic Securitisation" in the SFB/TRR 138 "Dynamics of Security".

-Archival Research in Germany and Ethiopia

-Stay of a visiting scholar: Shakila Yacob, Malaysia. 


Since 2020        State-owned enterprises and industrialisation in Africa after 1960

-Submission as ERC Starting Grant in 2021 (rejected, ranking range 33 - 34 %) and 2023

-seed funding of HU Berlin for the preparation of an ERC Starting Grant (25,000 €)

-Conducting an international workshop in 2020

-Archival research in Germany, Ethiopia, USA, Côte d' Ivoire, Netherlands, France


2018-2023         Aviation in post-colonial Africa

-funded by DFG "Eigene Stelle" (337,600 €) and PostDoc scholarship of HU Berlin

-Part of the DFG Priority Programme

-Principal Investigator, management of a team (1 research assistant, 3 support staff)

-Research stays in France, Ethiopia, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Netherlands, USA

-Stay of a visiting scholar: Waqar Zaidi, Lahore University of Management and Science, Pakistan

-Conduction of 3 international workshops in 2020 and 2022, cooperation with Lahore University of Management and Science, Pakistan

Organisation of Events



2022                 Organisation and leadership (with Waqar Zaidi, LUMS, Pakistan): "Fractured Skies: Civil Aviation and the Global South", online, 28-30.6.2022

2021                 Organisation and direction (with Stefanie Ettmeier, DIW Berlin): Masterclass with Ute Röschenthaler "What can Economics and Economic History learn from Memory Studies", 6.4.2022, DIW Berlin.        

2020                 Organisation and leadership: Digital Workshop "Global History of State Enterprises, 1950 to present", online:, 26/27.11.2020, HU Berlin

2020/21            Panel "Disciplinary Trends: History" at Africa Knows! (with Larissa Schulte-Nordholt, Paul Nugent, Jan Bart Gewald, Enocent Msindo), Dec 2020- Jan 2021, Leiden University/online

2020/21            Panel "History of State Enterprises in African states after independence", ENIUGH VI, Turku/online (with Alexander Keese)


since 2021         Consultant, APRI - Africa Policy Research Private Institute, Berlin

since 2021         Co-founder and editorial member of - contributions on career perspectives for humanities scholars and social scientists

Since 2017        Mentor at mentorme, career-related support programme for women

2016                 Consultant (Heritage and Tourism), UNESCO Mission to Ethiopian Biosphere Reserves, 15-21 July.

2014                 Consultant (Urban Development), copes Berlin

2013-2014         Specialist translation and editing (history, French-German), for Prof. Dr. Sandrine Kott, Université de Genève



                        International Journal of Cultural Property (Cambridge), Cogent Social Sciences (Taylor & Francis)

                        Journal of Educational Media, Memory and Society (Berghahn)

                        De Gruyter Publishers, Berlin



Working Group for Critical Corporate History (AkkU eV)

European Network in Universal and Global History (ENIUGH)

Association of Historians of Germany (VHD)

Scientific Working Group on the Horn of Africa (WAKVAH eV)

Eurafrica in the Jet Age – Air Transport and new economic spaces between Africa and Europe after 1950

This project aims to write a history of air transport to and from Africa with the intention to gain insight into the emergence of new economic spaces in the postcolonial period between Europe and Africa between 1950 and 1980. With my background in Africa-focused international history, I want to fill a gap in the current field of European studies by highlighting the role of Africa for the economic and geopolitical dimensions of European integration and by bringing an African postcolonial perspective to the table.

Four airlines: Air Afrique, Ethiopian Airlines, Union Aéromaritime du Transport (UTA) and Lufthansa will serve as case studies and be analysed from a business and political viewpoint, based on records of government institutions and international organisations, trade journals, interviews with former managers and civil servants, and, where available, corporate archives. Each of these airlines played an important and distinct role in building up the infrastructure for air transport between Europe and Africa after 1950. The West African multinational airline Air Afrique, was formed when 11 francophone states of Africa joined their airspace rights, initially taking over infrastructure and equipment as well as a small fleet from the French. Ethiopian airlines was and still is considered the most successful African airline, set up in the early 1950s with the help of US American managers from the US American Trans World Airlines (TWA), but soon fully Africanised and operating with profit. The French Union de Transports Aériens (UTA) was founded with state funds, as a private company, and one of three major national carriers in the framework of a strict government-controlled air transport sector. The company took over the former colonial network of routes in Africa, it also owned 33 % of the shares in Air Afrique. After 1945, the German flag carrier Luftag, to be renamed Lufthansa in 1954, faced financial difficulties and restrictions to aerial sovereignty, but due to the importance of Frankfurt in international air travel and the economic growth occurring from the mid- 1950s on, the state-owned airline expanded operations throughout the 1960s and 1970s and became an important provider of European-African transport. My key hypothesis is that efforts to produce a distinct Eurafrican airspace between African and European political and economic actors were supposed to foster European integration and to mitigate the impact of US power and Cold War dynamics on European and African states and economies. Air transport is a key element to both the theoretical and practical dimensions of the unfolding of high modernity from the 1960s, which was characterised by the increasing international connectivity and dependency of markets, production, and consumption – and an increasing need for global mobility. By using airlines as a lens, we can understand how economic and political relations were intertwined and resolved on a day-to-day basis of business operations.