Priddis, Nathan C. Frieda Zieschank: Through the Eyes of a Colonizer Faculty Mentor: Robert McFarland, German and Slavic Languages Colonialism and imperialism are important topics in the study of modern history. Germany as a nation joined the colonial race relatively late, in the late 1800’s. It had a relatively short history of colonialism ending with the end of World War I, in 1916. Because of this short history, the discussion of colonialism often focuses very little attention on Germany’s colonies and on Germany’s role in colonialism. One area that receives very little attention is the German colony of Samoa, which Germany held as a colony for nearly twenty years. Frieda Zieschank was a German woman who lived in Samoa for one decade when it was a German colony. She provided descriptions of the land and the people as she viewed them, as a colonizer. She wrote a book called Ein Jahrzehnt in Samoa after living there. My purpose in this project was to further the study of colonialism and the colonial rhetoric as it applies to the German colony of Samoa by making the text Ein Jahrzehnt in Samoa more easily accessible. I planned to do this by digitizing the text, and posting it on BYU’s Sophie website. I have not at this point finished digitizing the text, however. Second, as part of my project, I traveled to Germany to learn more about the colonization of Samoa. I was going to study the journals of a famous anthropologist, Augustin Kramer, who lived in Samoa for several years, and studied the Samoan people and culture, the data from which studies he wrote in his journals. The journals are kept in an archive in Stuttgart. I was not able to read his journals in Germany because the keepers were not willing to make them available to me. However, while I was in Germany I found a novel written by Frieda Zieschank, of which there are no copies made publicly available in the United States. I made a copy of this book from the University Library in Frankfurt, and brought it back to BYU, after reading it myself. This novel shed more light on Zieschank’s ideas of Samoa and its people. As the last part of my project, I prepared and presented a paper on Zieschank’s, Ein Jahrzehnt in Samoa. The paper discussed her views of the Samoans, within the context of colonialism. I compared and contrasted her views of the Samoans with her views of the German people, and also with her views of other dark-skinned races from other areas of German colonization. I presented the paper at the SISSI conference, The Image of the Open Road in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I also published the paper in the conference proceedings. Overall this project was a valuable learning experience. I gathered valuable experience in preparing and presenting information in the academic world. This experience came through digitizing the text, preparing and presenting a paper. I was also able to hone my German speaking and comprehension abilities. Most I also hope that I have furthered the discussion of colonialism, especially concerning German Samoa and its colonial history.
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