British Imperial Imagination, Colonial Infrastructure, and the Cape-to-Cairo Road, c.1890-1960

The proposed Ph.D. study forms part of a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF)-funded project entitled ‘How Infrastructure Shapes Territory in Africa’. It will explore various dimensions of the Cape-to-Cairo road—an initiative planned by Cape colonial Prime Minister, John Cecil Rhodes, and funded by the British government—as a handle to facilitate colonial governance and resource extraction, particularly in southern Africa. Also, the subsequent alterations on the ground as the building of the railroad unfolded will be traced to reveal complex negotiations shaped by contested notions of territory and the supposed modernist credentials that the railroad represented in British imperial imagination.

Supervisor:Kenny Cupers

Co-Supervisor: to be determined


Ernest Sewordor is interested in urban and architectural history and has previously researched Basel Mission encounters in the Gold Coast/Ghana. Before joining Urban Studies in the University of Basel in Fall 2018, Ernest held Graduate and Teaching Assistant responsibilities in the Department of History and University Studies Abroad Consortium respectively (both in the University of Ghana), and actively worked with professors like Jesse Weaver Shipley (Prof. of African and African American History, Dartmouth College, U.S.A.) as a Research Assistant. These experiences mainly exposed him to academia and informs his aspiration to become an African urban historian.

His B.A. and M.Phil. degrees—both in History—were earned from the University of Ghana between 2010 and 2017.

Portrait Ernest Sewordor G3S 2018

Ernest Sewordor
Urban Studies
Spalenvorstadt 2
4051 Basel