In 2014, Dominic completed his BA in Political Science and Anthropology in Freiburg, Germany. Focusing on international politics, his first academic encounter with an African country was for his thesis in which he explored the concept of Imagined Communities as a process of nation building in early Tanganyika. His interest in African affairs sparks from various extended stays on the continent and living in Tanzania for one year.
Before embarking on the journey of doing the MA African Studies, he was an intern at the embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Accra, Ghana, during the peak of the West African Ebola epidemic 2014/15. This significantly shortened his search for an interesting and up-to-date topic for his thesis. Returning to Accra for field research one year later, he could draw from his valuable diplomatic and professional contacts and conducted expert interviews with WHO, UN, Ghanaian health agencies and others to disentangle how the various actors involved in combatting the epidemic framed Ebola as a problem. It turned out that framing matters: How such an actor looks at Ebola is determined by his own (institutional) background and history and can differ widely between global agencies, country-level actors and the communities directly affected in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. His MA thesis “What is Ebola? Actors’ Framing of a Multifaceted Problem” can claim to be the first socio-political analysis of the Ebola outbreak and was well received by his supervisors.
Besides politics, epidemiology thus became a second academic focus during the course of the MA. A third focus turned out to become the history of southern Africa. During the project “Usakos: Photographs beyond Ruins” Dominic did research in Namibia and formed part of a student group mounting a photographic exhibition in Basel. Out of his own research in Namibia emerged a paper discussing the concept of “space” as an instrument of historical analysis in an apartheid setting. He presented this paper at a conference in Minneapolis, USA, and gathered first experience in the academic world - perhaps paving the way for a future academic career?