Dr George N. Njung

Postdoctoral Fellow
George Njung

Dr George N. Njung

Email: george.njung@wits.ac.za

Dr George Njung is an Africanist historian at the University of the Witwatersrand with a concentration on West and Central Anglophone and Francophone Africa. He focuses on colonialism, violence, transnational histories, historical connections, the First World War, African military and political cultures, war-related disability and gender, and African migrant and refugee experiences. He also focuses on historical approaches to African development problems, the crisis of leadership and governance, social justice, colonialism and violence, gendered approaches to historical research, and the varying micro and macro relationships and partnerships between Africa and the Global North, which are informed by a history of the colonization of Africa. Dr Njung received a PhD in history from the University of Michigan in 2016.


On the Fringes of the British Empire: The First World War Disabled Men of the Gold Coast and their Postwar Masculinity Conundrum.

During his fellowship time at IASH for the months of November and December 2020, Dr Njung will be researching on a project that seeks to understand the so far muted aspect of the intersection between masculinity and the First World War in Africa, in particular, how the war disabled men in the Gold Coast (British colonial Ghana) perceived and dealt with their transformed masculinities, and how African women viewed and treated the “helpless” men who returned from war with mutilated bodies. It is part of a larger book project provisionally titled Amputated Men: A Comparative Study of the Struggles of Disabled WW1 Soldiers in Colonial British and French West Africa, which comparatively interrogates and explores the crisis of masculinity among WWI disabled ex-servicemen in British and French West Africa. The book project runs concurrently with his first monograph provisionally titled Violent Encounters: Colonial Gendered Violence, African Soldiers, and the First World War in Cameroon. The monograph, which emerges from his PhD dissertation, encapsulates much of his research. Critical of the over one century of androcentric scholarship on the First World War, it studies the colonial theatre of the war in Cameroon from a gendered perspective, eliciting the different ways in which both men, women, and children steered the course of the war in that then German colony. As an analytical concept, it uses gender as the representational fabric of the society that forms the basis of the measurement of all human historical endeavours. And it utilizes the concept of a transnational and global war to demonstrate that the campaigns in Africa were not “sideshows.” In doing so, it makes another major contribution to scholarship by centring the narratives of the First World War in Africa.  

Recent Publications

  • Njung, George N. "Amputated Men, Colonial Bureaucracy, and Masculinity in Post-World War I Colonial Nigeria. Journal of Social History vol. 53, no. 3 (Spring 2020): 620-643. doi:10.1093/jsh/shz123.
  • Njung, George N. “The British Cameroons Mandate Regime: The Roots of the Twenty-First-Century Political Crisis in Cameroon.” American Historical Review vol. 124 no. 5 (December 2019): 1715-1722.  
  • Njung, George N. “Victims of Empire: WWI Ex-servicemen and the Colonial Economy of Wartime Sacrifices in Postwar British Nigeria.” First World War Studies vol. 10 no.1 (December 2019): 49-67. doi:10.1080/19475020.2019.1701519.
  • Njung, George N. “Refugees swap and their socio-economic relevance between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea from the First World War to immediate post-independence.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des études africaines “Africa Refuge.”  (forthcoming 2020)
  • Njung, George N. “Playing Politics: The Saga of the Biafran Child-Refugees in Gabon and Ivory Coast during the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970.” Africa Today. (forthcoming 2021)