Sandra Näf-Gloor, MA


After teaching for six years at a pre-primary school and travelling for seven months in Southern Africa, Sandra Naef-Gloor decided to continue her education and to enrol at the University of Basel. In order to be best prepared for the MA programme, she chose history, English studies and (international) law for her basic studies. In 2006 she started the interdisciplinary Master Programme of African Studies with her majors being History and Environmental and Human Well-Being. She successfully completed in May 2009. After her studies she worked as an assistant at the coordination office of the Centre for African Studies Basel. Sandra Naef-Gloor is currently working at the University of Zürich as a project collaborator at the Institute for Educational Sciences. There she is responsible for the teacher trainings in the PATHS project (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies).

MA Thesis

Wanderlust or career planning? How the journey to South Africa in the years 1802-1806 determined the life of Hinrich Lichtenstein

When Hinrich Lichtenstein arrived in Cape Town in December 1802, he just had received his university degree in medicine in Helmstedt/Germany. Ten years later, he held a chair of zoology at the new university in Berlin and again thirty years later he founded the zoological garden in Berlin.
In my examinations I focused on the factors that predisposed the young medical scientist to become Berlin’s first Professor of Zoology. As a man of multiple interests, he contributed after his journeys at the Cape many articles in the fields of medicine, linguistics, anthropology and the natural sciences and published the two volumes of his book ‘Travels in Southern Africa in the years 1803, 1804, 1805 and 1806’ in 1811 and 1812.
At a time, when a body of professional scientists emerged and Berlin became one of the principle settings for the meteoric rise of German science, Lichtenstein was able to negotiate and exploit social life in the Prussian capital to further his career.
The research showed that Lichtenstein’s role in Berlin was rather that of an organiser and patron of knowledge than that of a researcher. But since he became the director of the Natural History museum, he was responsible to raise funds, acquire collections, buy specimens, mount expeditions and send collectors to the Cape and elsewhere. With the latter, Lichtenstein shaped the scientific landscape of Prussia probably more than is evident at a first glance.