In 1893, a group of colonial officials from thirteen countries abandoned their imperial rivalry and established the International Colonial Institute (ICI), which became the world's most important colonial think tank of the twentieth century. Through the lens of the ICI, Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2022) argues that this international cooperation reshaped colonialism as a transimperial and governmental policy. The book demonstrates that the ICI's strategy of using indigenous institutions and customary laws to encourage colonial development served to maintain colonial rule even beyond the official end of empires. By selectively choosing loyalists among the colonized to participate in the ICI, it increased their autonomy while equally delegitimizing more radical claims for independence. The book presents a detailed study of the ICI's creation, the transcolonial activities of its prominent members, its interactions with the League of Nations and fascist governments, and its role in laying the groundwork for the structural and discursive dependence of the Global South after 1945.
My broad interests are in colonial history, history of migration, and environmental history, all linking the history of Europe, Asia, and Africa. My book on Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire, 1893-1982 (Cambridge University Press 2022) shows how self-styled colonial experts established the International Colonial Institute in 1893 to reshape the world's colonial policies. By way of transimperial cooperation they redefined fields as different as colonial law and labor recruitment, the training of colonial administrators, tropical agriculture and medicine, indigenous representation in local councils and international organizations, as well as sustained development based on mutual aid and micro credits. The book is based on a dissertation defended at the European University Institute in Florence entitled "Colonial Internationalism: How Cooperation Among Experts Reshaped Colonialism 1830-1950."
My new book project is on the history of repatriations in a global perspective and examines the various attempts of European governments, NGOs, and international organizations to make migration undone. I use a critical approach to the concept of repatriation by situating it in a historical context that extends roughly from the 1960s to the 1990s. A fellowship granted by the German Historical Institue at UC Berkeley gave me the opportunity to explore various processes of repatriation that allows a comparative view on remigrations in the world.
My most recent publications explore African perspectives on the First World War and the Weimar Republic. I also wrote on the interconnections between different empires and imperial lobby groups, and examined key concepts such as the "West" in colonial discourse
Europäische Geschichte/History of Modern Europe (Nineteenth and Twentieth Century)
Transnationale und Vergleichende Geschichte/Transnational and Comparative History
Florian Wagner and Cornel Zwierlein: Special Issue: "Close Distance. Social Segregation in Trading Empires and Colonies, " Journal of Modern European History 18,2 (2020) https://journals.sagepub.com/toc/meha/18/2
Florian Wagner and Cornel Zwierlein, "Close Distance: Social Segregation in Trading Empires and Colonies—An Introduction" Journal of Modern European History 18,2 (2020), 140-155 https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1611894420910688
Florian Wagner, "Inventing Colonial Agronomy: Buitenzorg and the Transition from the Western to the Eastern Model of Colonial Agriculture, 1880s–1930s," in: Ulrike Kirchberger and Brett Bennett, Environments of Empire: Networks and Agents of Ecological Change (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press), 103-128: https://flexpub.com/preview/environments-of-empire
Florian Wagner, "Naturism, the Permanent Mandates Commission and the Denial of the Violent Nature of Colonialism", in: Haakon A. Ikonomou and Karen Gram-Skjoldager (ed.), The League of Nations. Perspectives from the Present (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2019), 78-89. https://unipress.dk/media/16340/the-league-of-nations.pdf
Florian Wagner, " Non-European Perspectives on the Weimar Republic and the German Dream of Empire (1919–1930s)", in Comparativ 26, 6 (2016), 56-72, Special Issue Citizenship in European Empires after the First World War, ed. by Sara Lorenzini. https://www.comparativ.net/v2/article/view/518/440