Moritz Nagel is a first-year PhD student who has set out to write a precolonial history of the area around Mount Cameroon up until colonial conquest in the nineteenth century. In his research he places a special emphasis on the political functions of West African institutions such as initiation associations, public debates and assemblies, and talking drums. Besides data mining in archives, he enjoys working with various kinds of sources including orally transmitted histories, things in museum collections, and early audio recordings.
Moritz holds an MA in economics from the University of Warsaw, Poland, and a BA in area studies with a focus on Africa from the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany. During his BA, he spent a year at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), UK.
At Northwestern, he is a Mellon Cluster Fellow with the Program of African Studies. His paper “Precolonial Segmentation Revisited: Initiation Societies, Talking Drums and the Ngondo Festival in the Cameroons” won the Graduate Student Paper Prize of the African Studies Association in 2016.