World squared: Mannheim and German colonialismAs the largest inland port in southern Germany and the industrial heart of Baden, the city of Mannheim became a hub of transcontinental connections with the colonial world of the southern hemisphere in the 19th century. Mannheim's economy processed colonial raw materials, and in the stacks of the Reiß-Engelhorn Museums thousands of objects of colonial provenance bear witness to the long-cherished dream of establishing the Colonial Museum of the German Southwest here.
The anthology resulting from the project examines the colonial interconnections of the commercial and industrial metropolis from a biographical perspective. It starts with the enigmatic personality of Mannheim's "colonial hero" Theodor Bumiller, critically analyses his entanglements in colonial violence, the connections between corps studentism and colonialism and his manifold stagings of imperial cosmopolitanism. Other contributions contrast Bumiller's biography with the subaltern cosmopolitanism of his long-time Comorian companion Silimu bin Abakari as well as other colonial biographies of Mannheim provenance. The volume thus provides a first, urgently needed examination of the square city's connections to overseas colonialism in the decades around 1900.