Paul Lennart Sprute
Research Associate | Department for Historical Research

In April 2020 Paul Sprute started working as a research associate in the"Freigeist" project "Conquering (with) Concrete: German Construction Companies as Global Players in Local Contexts" funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. As part of this project, he writes his PhD thesis on the international construction projects of German companies with a particular focus on port constructions in West Africa.

Paul Sprute graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the Universität Bremen and holds a master’s degree in Global History from the Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. In his master’s thesis, he researched the afterlife of the GDR’s international solidarity in the activities of the association Solidaritätsdienst International. During his master’s studies Paul Sprute was active as editor of Global Histories: A Student Journal and was student employee for the M.A. program in Global History of Freie Universität Berlin as well as in the project on the history of the Treuhandanstalt charged with privatizing the former GDR’s economy at the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History Munich-Berlin.

Projects

Ongoing Third-party Funded Projects

Global construction companies impact our futures. Beyond the edifices and infrastructures they construct, they also fundamentally influence governmental development aid policies, or dislocate people to build a new dam, for example. Yet the role of these major global players and their persistent presence in different world regions has barely been reflected upon. Our project investigates how major German construction companies conquered markets and spaces, thereby cementing their presence in different regions of the Global South, and it will trace the footprints left behind, long after the dust of the construction sites settled. It draws on the observation that it is impossible to fully understand the complexity of the built environment in these regions without acknowledging and analysing the role of construction companies such as HOCHTIEF AG or Bilfinger Berger as actors, stakeholders, transnational legal entities and major driving forces in the processes of globalised construction business. However, in previous bodies of research this perspective has been overlooked, except for rare exemptions. more info

Selected Publications by Year

2021
Sprute, P. L. (2021). Ariane Komeda, Kontaktarchitektur: Kolonialarchitektur in Namibia zwischen Norm und Übersetzung. Architecture Beyond Europe, (18). DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/abe.9939
Sprute, P. L. (2021). Diaries of Solidarity in the Global Cold War: The East German Friendship Brigades and their Experience in ‘Modernizing’ Angola. In E. Burton, A. Dietrich, I. R. Harisch, & M. C. Schenck (Eds.), Navigating Socialist Encounters: Moorings and (Dis)Entanglements between Africa and East Germany during the Cold War (pp. 293-318). (Africa in Global History; No. 2). Berlin: De Gruyter.
2020
Sprute, P. L. (2020). Die Nachleben der Solidarität: Ideen und Praktiken des »Solidaritätsdienst International« im vereinigten Deutschland. Archiv für Sozialgeschichte, (60), 261-280.
Sprute, P. L. (2020). "Daß ich die Kraft zur Solidarität noch habe...". Weitwinkel, 3(1), 21-22.

Selected Publications by Type

Journal Article
Sprute, P. L. (2020). Die Nachleben der Solidarität: Ideen und Praktiken des »Solidaritätsdienst International« im vereinigten Deutschland. Archiv für Sozialgeschichte, (60), 261-280.
Contribution to Anthology
Sprute, P. L. (2021). Diaries of Solidarity in the Global Cold War: The East German Friendship Brigades and their Experience in ‘Modernizing’ Angola. In E. Burton, A. Dietrich, I. R. Harisch, & M. C. Schenck (Eds.), Navigating Socialist Encounters: Moorings and (Dis)Entanglements between Africa and East Germany during the Cold War (pp. 293-318). (Africa in Global History; No. 2). Berlin: De Gruyter.
Contribution to Special Interest Journal
Sprute, P. L. (2020). "Daß ich die Kraft zur Solidarität noch habe...". Weitwinkel, 3(1), 21-22.
Review in Journal
Sprute, P. L. (2021). Ariane Komeda, Kontaktarchitektur: Kolonialarchitektur in Namibia zwischen Norm und Übersetzung. Architecture Beyond Europe, (18). DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/abe.9939

Talks

2021
Cementing the ties: ZAB, CMEA and the architecture of multilateralism in Syria and Ethiopia

EAHN Conference 2021

June/05/2021
Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

(Re)Constructing German Colonial Capitalism from its Margins: German Companies in Liberia

Colonial Capitalism in Action

May/05/2021
Universität Hamburg, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hamburg, Germany

2020
German Construction Companies and their Port Constructions between the Global and the Local

November/05/2020

News
February/28/2021
Interview with the IRS Junior Research Group Leaders Jana Kleibert and Monika Motylinska

The IRS currently hosts two junior research groups funded by prestigious programmes. Urban and economic geographer Jana Kleibert has been researching how higher education is marketed in international "branch campuses" with her Leibniz Junior Research Group "Constructing Transnational Spaces of Higher Education" (TRANSEDU) since 2018. Architectural historian Monika Motylinska and her junior research group "Conquering (with) Concrete", funded by the Volkswagen Foundation's Freigeist Programme, have been investigating what German construction companies contributed to the globalisation of architecture in the 20th century since the beginning of 2020. In the interview, the two researchers reflect on the current state of their research groups' work and explain how they are dealing with the challenges of the Corona pandemic. more info