Andrew Zonderman, Emory University
“Embracing Empire: Eighteenth-Century German Migrants and the Development of the British Imperial System”
My dissertation focuses on four studies of German-speaking migrants within the eighteenth-century British Empire —merchants, missionaries, soldiers, and borderland settlers— to explore how these people shaped that imperial project. British metropolitan and colonial officials sought to use Germans’ labor and expertise to meet a variety of needs, from fighting colonial wars against European rivals and indigenous populations to producing highly desired resources. German migrants, in turn, negotiated their roles and responsibilities within the new imperial context they found themselves living in. Frequently the migrants and British imperial agents came to understandings that furthered both sides’ aims, while at other moments disagreement led to resistance and even outright rebellion. My project underscores the British Empire’s fundamental transnational nature as well as Central Europeans’ critical roles in European overseas colonies generations prior to the German Empire’s formation.