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Identity in Postmillennial German Films on Africa


Shikuku Emmanuel Tsikhungu

This book is a literary and cultural investigation of the different levels of identity as revealed in German films on and about Africa. Taking sexual, spatial, linguistic and body identities as its core concern, the book elucidates how the contemporary German film narratives on Africa binarize bordeline cultural and geographical identities. While this binarism assigns the metropolitan status to the German, the African is relegated to the margins in the human socio-geocultural aspects. The book contradicts this kind of binary narration as it argues that trans-border identities are fraught with complexities that cannot be simply straitjacketed. It celebrates those moments where the narratives challenge the existing boundaries at the interstice between the North and the South. It further celebrates the moments where the film narratives recognize the complexity of cultures by acknowledging the disruptiveness and continuities of linguistic, cultural, sexual, spatial and body identities especially at the contact zone of Germany and Africa.
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1.0 Contexts and Locations


A significant amount of research especially in humanities and social sciences has been dedicated and continues to be dedicated to the study of cultures at the intersections between Germany and Africa. Key texts have been written about blacks in Germany since the pre-colonial times to the post modern moments.1 There have been texts also on the historical presence and notion of blackness in Germany.2 Thus Africa within German consciousness and discourse has received substantial attention through these texts as well as the numerous organizations designed to vouch for the rights of Afro-Germans in the increasingly multicultural Germany. However this confluence between Germany and Africa seems to be concentrated at the German ‘centre’ as less and less research and studies is dedicated to the interrogation of the German presence in Africa. It is only recently that research in the German presence in Africa has started to emerge and mostly in the American universities.3 And to supplement this trickle of studies, a series of panels at the German Studies Association annual conference was dedicated to the research on Germans in Africa in the 36th annual conference held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA) in October 2012.4 Even scantier is research on the visual and artistic representations of Africa by Germans.

This book is a result of research on identity and representation of bodies, languages, spaces and sexualitites in German films on Africa. Identity, as will be used in this book involves what Weedon calls ‘constituting subjects within languages, locations and ideologies.’5 Judith...

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