Modern Art History

Dr. Yann LeGall


New release

Atlas der Abwesenheit
Kameruns Kulturerbe in Deutschland

Authors' collective. Andrea Meyer and Bénédicte Savoy (Coord.)
520 pages, 110 images and 51 maps
Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 2023
ISBN: 978-3-496-01700-4

Open access version

English translation (automatic)
French translation (automatic)

About the person

Research focus

  • Repatriation of ancestral remains
  •  Restitution of looted art and artefacts
  •  Colonial heritage
  •  Memory studies
  •  Digital humanities
  •  Academic activism


since 2020
Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Art History, TU Berlin

Researcher at the Institute for Anglophone Studies, University of Potsdam

Fellow at the DFG Research Training Group "Minor Cosmopolitanisms", University of Potsdam
Visiting researchers at the University of Cape Town

since 2014
Member of Berlin Postkolonial e.V.

since 2015
Member of Postcolonial Potsdam




  • LeGall, Yann & Napo Oubo-Gbati (forthcoming). "The fish who fed museums: Remembering colonial violence and the plunder of northern Togoland." Curiositas.
  • LeGall (forthcoming). "Racial anthropology, ancestral remains, and repatriation." The Routledge Encyclopedia to Race and Science, edited by Zimitri Erasmus & Sibille Merz. London: Routledge.
  • Aguigah, Elias & Yann LeGall (forthcoming). "Remnants of Adibo dali and the plunder of Yendi in German museums." History Workshop Journal.
  • LeGall, Yann (2023), "« Ne s’obtient que par la force »: La violence militaire coloniale au Cameroun et les collections muséales en Allemagne, histoire d’une symbiose"VisionsCarto.
  • LeGall, Yann (2023). "'Nur mit Gewalt zu erlangen': Militärgewalt und Museumssammlungen." In Atlas der Abwesenheit: Kameruns Kulturerbe in Deutschland. Berlin: Reimer, 113–137.
  • Aguigah, Elias, Yann LeGall & Jeanne-Ange Wagne (2023). "Colonial violence in the North of Togo and the Plunder of Biema Asabiè’s Belongings." VOICES, blog of the State Collections in Saxony, 19 January 2023.
  • Yann LeGall & Gwinyai Machona (2022), "Possessions, Spoils of War, Belongings: What Museum Archives Tell us About the (Il)legality of the Plunder of African Property"VerfassungsBlog, 2 December 2022. 
  • --- (2022). "1914 – In der Hedemannstraße nimmt die Kriegsrohstoffabteilung unter Walther Rathenau ihre Arbeit auf." Die postkoloniale Stadt lesen. Edited by Mark Terkessidis & Natalie Bayer. Berlin: Verbrecher Verlag, 203–211.
  • --- (2020). "Songea Mbano, Maji Maji Flava, and the 'Halfway Dead' of the Majimaji War (1905-07)." Human Remains and Violence. Manchester University Press (Fall 2020), 4–22. Open Access.
  • Kopp, Christian, Yann LeGall & Mnyaka Sururu Mboro (2021). "'Small is beautiful': Postcolonial Walking Tours as a Form of Street Justice." Everything Passes Except the Past: Decolonising Ethnographic Museums, Film Archives, and Public Spaces. Brussels & London: Goethe Institute & Sternberg Press, 221–234. ISBN 978-3-95679-601-2
  • Mboro, Mnyaka Sururu, Yann LeGall (2021). "Deutsch-Ostafrika - Ein Permanenter Kriegszustand." Kritik des Deutschen Kolonialismus: Postkoloniale Sicht auf Erinnerung und Geschichtsvermittlung. Wolfgang Geige and Henning Melber (eds), Frankfurt a. M.: Brandes & Apsel, pp. 95–111.
  • (2016). "The Return of Human Remains to the Pacific: Resurgence of Ancestors and Emergence of Postcolonial Memory Practices." Postcolonial Justice: Reassessing the Fair Go. Edited by Gigi Adair and Anja Schwarz. Trier: WVT 2016, pp. 45–60.

Conference papers and talks:

  • LeGall, Yann (2023). “Another story: Semantics, propaganda and a macro-history of ‘punitive’ expeditions in German colonial contexts in Africa.” ECAS 2023 “African Futures”, University of Cologne, 31 May 2023.
  • --- (2023). “A fish who goes around in Togo, comes around in Kamerun”. Imperial Lives, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum Cologne, 30-31 March 2023. Video.
  • --- (2022). “Colonial extraction and implicated rocks”. Berlin Science Week, 10-11 November 2022.
  • --- (2022) ‘Needles of agency in haystacks of violence: Museum archives and collections as evidence of anticolonial resistance?’. Decolonial Dialogues: Narratives of the Objects, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, 10 May 2022. Video.
  • --- (2022) “‘White hunters’ and their spoils of war: Evidence of the plunder of West Africa in German ethno-colonial museums”. Colonized Objects and Bodies in Europe: New challenges and new perspectives on the Decolonialization of Cultural Heritage, University of Würzburg, 24 & 25 Jun. 2022.
  • LeGall, Yann (2022). “Plunder in German Togo”. Round table The Restitution of Knowledge: Plunder in German Togo. Technische Universität Berlin, 21 Jan. 2022. Video.
  • LeGall, Yann & Mnyaka Sururu Mboro (2021). "Re-Membering “Scattered” Pieces of Colonial History: Wachaga Ancestors at the Institute of Anatomy in Strasbourg." Colloque Anthropo-Responsabilité. Musée du Quai Branly, Paris. 29 Jan. 2021. Video.


Non-scientific journals:

Blog articles:

Completed projects