Marie Huber | Chercheuse associée

Dynamiques et expériences de la globalisation
Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191, D-10117 Berlin
Email: marie.huber  ( at ) Tél: +49(0) 30 / 20 93 70700

Institution principale : Philipps Universität Marburg | Position : Chercheuse Postdoc | Discipline : Histoire |


Marie Huber étudie l'histoire du développement et de la construction des nations en Afrique dans une perspective d'histoire globale, ainsi que l'émergence et la circulation transnationales des connaissances et le développement des attentes économiques. Elle est titulaire d'un doctorat en histoire de l'université Humboldt de Berlin. 

Sujet de recherche

Dans son projet de doctorat et son premier livre, Marie s'est penchée sur l'exemple éthiopien pour examiner l'exécution de la Convention du patrimoine mondial dans les pays en développement. 

Titre de la thèse
Developing Heritage - Developing Countries, Ethiopian Nation-Building and the Origins of UNESCO World Heritage, 1960-1980

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.