Short Portrait: Ulla Schild

Ulla Schild
Ulla Schild

Ulla Schild was born in Berlin in 1938. She spent her childhood in Strasbourg. After the end of World War II she first lived in the Black Forest region and eventually moved to Karlsruhe with her family. There she finished school in 1957.

In 1958 Schild took up her studies of German and English Literature and Linguistics in Heidelberg. Moreover she attended courses on African Cultures. After five years of studying these subjects, Schild enrolled in Anthropology and specialized on African literature.

After meeting Janheinz Jahn and being influenced by his interest for "Neo-African" literature, Schild began writing articles and essays on contemporary African literature in 1968. Over the following decades she published more than 100 articles and book reviews.

In 1972 Schild completed her M.A. studies. A year later Jahnheinz Jahn died. Due to Schilds effort and the support by Prof. E.W. Müller, Jahns library was acquired by the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. The »Janheinz Jahn Library for Modern African Literature« was established at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies in 1975. Moreover, Schild became head of the library.

In 1980 Schild completed her Ph D thesis about literature in Papua New Guinea. Throughout the following years, Schild not only organized the »Jahnheinz-Jahn-Symposia» but also took care of the extension and renown of the library. Moreover, she held lectures concerning many different topics, being an influence for students of Social Anthropology and Comparative Literature Studies.

Ulla Schild died in Mainz in 1998.

(Text written by Vincenz Kokot in March 2012, based on information by the Jahnheinz-Jahn-Library:; photo thanks to Ekkehard Schröder, 15.09.2015)

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