A native of southern Germany, Jochen S. Arndt has had academic and professional experiences in Germany, France and Portugal, resulting in a multilingual background. He completed a B.A. degree in International Marketing, an M.A. degree in History, and, in 2008, entered the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Ph.D. program in history, with a concentration in Encounters, Empires and Ethnographies.
In 2010, he published “Treacherous Savages & Merciless Barbarians: Knowledge, Discourse, and Violence during the Cape Frontier Wars, 1834-1853,” in the Journal of Military History. His research for this article served as inspiration for his dissertation, which focuses on the history of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal regions during the nineteenth century.
His dissertation research, conducted over twelve months in South Africa and Europe in 2012 and 2013, was supported by a Social Sciences Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship and an American Historical Association’s Bernadotte Schmitt Research Grant. Entitled “The Great Bifurcation: Missionaries, Africans and the Emergence of Xhosa and Zulu as Distinct Language Communities, 1800-1900,” his dissertation emphasises the complex interplay between European and African ideas in the constructivist processes that produced standard African languages and language communities in nineteenth-century South Africa. He was awarded a University of Illinois at Chicago Dean’s Scholar Dissertation Completion Fellowship in 2014 to complete this work.
His future research interests include examining how particular South African groups, who did not historically identify themselves as Xhosa or Zulu, negotiated the bifurcated language terrain in the apartheid and post-apartheid eras; and actively cooperating with archaeologists and linguists to develop a better understanding of how language and identity interacted in Southern Africa’s deeper past. He will be teaching African and World History at Florida Atlantic University as a visiting instructor during the 2015-16 academic year.