Cassandra Thiesen-Mark

Dr. Cassandra Thiesen-Mark

Assistant / Postdoc (Departement Geschichte)


Hirschgässlein 21
4051 Basel

Cassandra Thiesen-Mark

BA Florida State U.; MA Florida State U.; DPhil. Oxford University.

Dr. Cassandra Mark-Thiesen is a Research Associate (Marie-Heim Vögtlin / Swiss National Science Foundation) of the History Department of the University of Basel, where she was previously a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow from 2012-2016. 

She has researched the social and economic history of West Africa, especially Ghana and Liberia. Her first book took a global labor history approach to the history of the first mechanized gold mines in the Gold Coast Colony. Currently, she is working on an entangled history of state-sponsored agricultural research and practices in Liberia. She is also co-editing a volume on memory, commemoration and the politics of historical memory in Africa.

Areas of Interest

Liberia and Ghana, and their global entanglements. Capitalist intensification in West Africa from a comparative perspective. Nineteenth and twentieth century. Labor, Development, Knowledge Production, Rurality, Race, Gender, Science and Empire.

Selected recent publications

IRSH cover Mark-Thiesen
Harries Mark-Thiesen
Etui mark-thiesen
vernacularization Mark-Thiesen


Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, Michelle Sikes and Moritz Mihatsch (eds.), Memory,
Commemoration and the Politics of Historical Memory in Africa: A Commemorative
volume to celebrate the scholarship of Jan-Georg Deutsch. (Contract with De Gruyter
Oldenbourg; expected October 2021).

Michelle M. Sikes, Cassandra Mark-Thiesen & Moritz A. Mihatsch, ‘Public
Memorialisation & the Politics of Historical Memory in Africa,’ (forthcoming) in (eds.)
Cassandra Mark-Thiesen & Moritz A. Mihatsch, Michelle M. Sikes The Politics of Historical
Memory & Commemoration in Africa Essays in Honour of Jan-Georg Deutsch (Berlin: De
Gruyter, 2021).

Rouven Kunstmann & Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, ‘The Memory Process in the
Commemorations of the Dead in West African Newspapers,’ (forthcoming) in (eds.)
Cassandra Mark-Thiesen & Moritz A. Mihatsch, Michelle M. Sikes The Politics of Historical
Memory & Commemoration in Africa Essays in Honour of Jan-Georg Deutsch (Berlin: De
Gruyter, 2021).

Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, ‘Contentions over Agricultural Production in Colonial Africa,’
(forthcoming) in (ed.) Jeannie Whayne, The Oxford Handbook of Agricultural History (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2021).

Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, ‘Knowing Women: Same-Sex Intimacy, Gender, and Identity in
Postcolonial Ghana by Serena Dankwa’, Afrika-Bulletin (Basel), March 2021.

Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, 'Review: AG Hopkins, Economic History of West Africa (2nd Edition)', Revue d'Histoire Contemporaine de l'Afrique, May 2021.

Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, ‘Transferring” Formal Agricultural Education to Liberia in the
1920s’, in (eds.) Julia Tischler, Heinrich Hartmann Planting Seeds of Knowledge in an
Agrarian World: Agriculture and Education in Rural Societies in the Twentieth Century
(New York, Oxford: Berghahn 2022).


Cassandra Mark-Thiesen & Moritz Mihatsch, ‘Liberia an(d) Empire: Sovereignty,
‘Civilisation’ and Commerce in Nineteenth-Century West Africa,’ Journal of Imperial and
Commonwealth History, 47:5, December 2019: 884–911


Mediators, Contract Men, and Colonial Capital: Mechanized Gold Mining in the Gold Coast Colony, 1879-1909 (University of Rochester Press, 2018).                                         

Link to Boydell & Brewer Press.

Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, ‘Of Vagrants and Volunteers during Liberia’s Operation Production, 1963-69,’ African Economic History, 46, 2 (2018).

Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, ‘Dreams of a ‘Johannesburg of West Africa’: Southwest Gold Coast Moment in the Imperial Rush for Gold,’ in Stephen Tuffnell and Ben Mountford, Gold Rush: A Global History c.1848-1910 (University of California Press, 2018).


Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, ‘African Women and the “Lazy African” Myth in Nineteenth Century West Africa,’ in Peter-Paul Bänziger and Michael Suter (eds.) Histories of Productivity: Genealogical Perspectives on the Body and Modern Economy (New York: Routledge, 2016).

Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, ‘Goldminen, Akkordarbeit und Weibliche Bergarbeiterinnen –ein neuer Blick durch Global Labour History’, ETÜ – HistorikerInnen-Zeitschrift, 2016.

Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, The Need to Be Indebted: Political Considerations for the Mobilisation of Mining Labour in Southwest Ghana, c. 1879 - 1900, in Bhattacharya, Sabyasachi and Rana P. Behal (eds.) The Vernacularization of Labour Politics (Tulika Books, 2016).


Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, ‘From Mining Pit to Missionary Bungalow: Trading Spaces in the Writing of Patrick Harries,’ in Veit Arlt, Stephanie Bishop, and Pascal Schmid (eds.) Explorations in African History: Reading Patrick Harries (Basel: Basler Afrika Bibliographien, 2015).

Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, Taxing Colonial Africa: The Political Economy of British Imperialism, by Leigh Gardner, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 43 (1), January 2015.


Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, ‘The “Bargain” of Collaboration: African Intermediaries, Indirect Recruitment, and Indigenous Institutions in the Ghanaian Gold Mining Industry, 1900-1906,’ International Review of Social History, 57, December 2012: 17-28.



Professional memberships

  • Member of the Historical Preservation Society of Liberia
  • Member of the African Studies Association Germany 
  • Member of the European Congress on World and Global History
  • Member of American Historical Association
  • Member of African Studies Association
  • Member of Swiss Society for African Studies
  • Member of African Economic History Network