Bernhard C. Schär, SNSF Eccellenza Professor, Project Leader

Bernhard C. Schär has been serving as an SNSF Eccellenza Professor since 2022, leading an international research group dedicated to crafting a new “collaborative history of global Switzerland” at the Institute of Political Studies, University of Lausanne. Prior to his tenure in Lausanne, Bernhard was the recipient of an ERC Marie Sklodowska Curie Grant and held a position as an invited researcher at the Centre for Global History at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. From 2014 to 2021, he held roles as a lecturer and senior researcher at Harald Fischer-Tiné’s Chair for Global History at ETH Zurich, while also spending time as an invited fellow at the Universities of Leiden (NL) and Singapore.
Bernhard’s scholarly interests span a range of topics including empire and science, colonial armies, imperial masculinities, racism, and the 19th-century Protestant mission movement. Initially grounded in the interconnected realms of the Dutch South-East Asian empire, the Netherlands, and its European hinterland, his research has recently shifted focus. He now employs Switzerland’s historical integration into various imperial formations during the 19th century as a framework for exploring new transimperial histories of Europe.

Amal Shahid, PhD, postdoctoral researcher

Amal Shahid is a postdoctoral researcher in the Collaborative History project, focusing on the Basel India Mission. She completed a PhD in International History from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. Her doctoral research explored colonial governance of famine relief in the North-Western Provinces of India between c. 1860-1920, with a focus on labour regulation. During her doctoral studies, she obtained more than three years of teaching experience in interdisciplinary courses. Amal also trained in basic quantitative methods during her Masters in Economic History (research) at the LSE. Her research interests are history of imperialism and colonialism, history of labour, and history of political economy.

Fabio Rossinelli, PhD, postdoctoral researcher

Fabio Rossinelli is a doctor in Contemporary History (PhD). From 2013 to 2019, he worked at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) as a research and teaching assistant, where he conducted his doctoral thesis on Switzerland’s involvement in colonial imperialism during the 19th century. He received the Whitehouse Prize for the quality of his work. Since 2020, he continues his activities as a post-doc researcher at the University of Italian Switzerland (USI) on the topic of migration remittances between 1750 and 1950. Two years later, he joined Prof. Bernhard Schaer’s team at UNIL on the project presented here. He also collaborates with other institutions, such as the Museum of Ethnography in Geneva (provenance research) and the Italian Geographical Society in Rome (missionary history).

Last publications:

Book: ​ROSSINELLI, Fabio, Géographie et impérialisme. De la Suisse au Congo entre exploration géographique et conquête coloniale, Neuchâtel: Editions Alphil – Presses universitaires suisses, 2022.

Peer-reviewed article: ​ROSSINELLI, Fabio «Une enquête historique sur “L’Afrique explorée et civilisée” (1879-1894), la revue de Gustave Moynier» in Le Globe, vol. 161, 2021, pp. 163-184.

Conference report: ​ROSSINELLI, Fabio, «Ready for the past? On the state of decolonisation in Swiss museums» in, 8 juin 2022 (online here).

Izabel Barros, doctoral researcher

Izabel Barros is a historian, decolonial feminist and anti-racist activist in Brazil and Switzerland. She is an SNSF doctoral student in history in the project “Moral and economic entrepreneurship in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. A collaborative history of Global Switzerland, c. 1830-1900” (IEP-UNIL). From 2020 to mid-2022, she was a program officer at the feminist peace organization cfd and a member of the collectives Taoca and Berner Rassismusstammtisch. From 2013 to 2020, she was program officer at the Cooperaxion Foundation and responsible for various projects for the defense and self-determination of indigenous communities and quilombos in Maranhão in Brazil. She is involved in the collectives Taoca, Livingroom and Berner Rassismusstammtisch. In addition, she has accompanied numerous cultural and artistic projects, such as Wie die Geranie nach Bern verschleppt wurde (2020), Black Box Bern (2020-2021) and We Talk. Schweiz ungefiltert (2021).

Michael Schmitz, doctoral researcher

Michael Schmitz is a doctoral researcher associated to the Collaborative History project. His PhD project focusses on Swiss cacao traders and plantation owners in Bahia in the first half of the 20th century. Since concluding his licenciate studies in General History at the University of Zurich in 2008, he has worked as a history and German language teacher on different educational levels, including a prison. In 2024, he co-edited a book on the history of the housing cooperative Baugenossenschaft Wiedikon. From 2009 to 2022, he has been involved with the anti-racist projects Autonome Schule Zürich and Papierlose Zeitung. Through his long-time activity in Capoeira, he co-organizes events aimed at the preservation and divulgation of Afro Brazilian history and culture.

Léa Boldo, MA, student assistant

Léa Boldo is doing her master’s degree in the faculty of political science with a focus on transnational history, where she’s interested in history of XIX-XX centuries and international politics.