Shared Colonialism

SNSF-Research Project (2015-2019)

Project Leader: Prof. em. Dr. Madeleine Herren-Oesch
Project Member: Daniela Hettstedt

This project dealt with the international administration of the city of Tanger (Morocco) from 1840 to 1956. It looked at the history of the internationalization of Tanger from a global historical perspective in order to make complex processes of globalization visible on a local level.

In the Moroccan city of Tanger, international organizations took on central functions of public administration and infrastructure from 1840. Within the mandate of these international organizations: Waste disposal and disease control as well as a lighthouse at Cap Spartal, which controlled the passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean and therefore the access to the Muslim pilgrimage sites in the Middle East form 1865.

The project discussed in which spatial dimension a multitude of actors - institutions as well as individuals - defined their scope of action. The internationalization of Tanger was no longer seen only as the development of a "cosmopolitan" city, but in the context of the colonization and decolonization of Morocco also looked at from a perspective beyond eurocentrism. The cooperation of institutions in Tanger led to a setting that can be called "shared colonialism". While Morocco was colonized step by step by various states, Tanger was given the status of an "international zone", which it kept until Morocco's independence in 1956. The particularity of Tanger as an international location was the central object of investigation in the application of the concept of "shared colonialism".