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Rethinking Black German Studies

Approaches, Interventions and Histories


Edited By Tiffany N. Florvil and Vanessa D. Plumly

Black German Studies is an interdisciplinary field that has experienced significant growth over the past three decades, integrating subjects such as gender studies, diaspora studies, history, and media and performance studies. The field’s contextual roots as well as historical backdrop, nevertheless, span centuries. This volume assesses where the field is now by exploring the nuances of how the past – colonial, Weimar, National Socialist, post-1945, and post-Wende – informs the present and future of Black German Studies; how present generations of Black Germans look to those of the past for direction and empowerment; how discourses shift due to the diversification of power structures and the questioning of identity-based categories; and how Black Germans affirm their agency and cultural identity through cultural productions that engender both counter-discourses and counter-narratives.

Examining Black German Studies as a critical, hermeneutic field of inquiry, the contributions are organized around three thematically conceptualized sections: German and Austrian literature and history; pedagogy and theory; and art and performance. Presenting critical works in the fields of performance studies, communication and rhetoric, and musicology, the volume complicates traditional historical narratives, interrogates interdisciplinary methods, and introduces theoretical approaches that help to advance the field.

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Notes on Contributors


TIFFANY N. FLORVIL is Assistant Professor of Twentieth-Century European Women’s and Gender History at the University of New Mexico. She received her PhD from the University of South Carolina in Modern European History in 2013 and her MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in European Women’s and Gender History in 2007. She is Co-Chair of the Black Diaspora Studies Network at the German Studies Association; the Network Editor for H-Emotions and an Advisory Board Member and a Network Editor for H-Black Europe. She has received fellowships from the American Council on Germany, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Feminist Research Institute at the University of New Mexico. She has published in the Journal of Civil and Human Rights and The German Quarterly, as well as chapters in Audre Lorde’s Transnational Legacies, Gendering Post-1945 German History and Gendering Knowledge in Africa and the African Diaspora.

SILKE HACKENESCH is Assistant Professor in the Department of North American History at the University of Cologne in Germany. A selection of her publications include Chocolate and Blackness: A Cultural History (Campus, 2017); ‘“These Black Americans Appear to Be the Color of Chocolate or Walnut or Caramel”. Zu Schokolade als racial signifier und Konstruktionen von Schwarzsein in den USA des 20. Jahrhunderts’ in Historische Anthropologie, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2017 and ‘“I identify primarily as a Black German in America”: Race, Bürgerrechte und Adoptionen in den USA der 1950er Jahre’, in Kinder des Zweiten Weltkrieges – Stigmatisierung, Ausgrenzung und Bewältigungsstrategien...

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