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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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List of Illustrations


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1 ‘Hergestellt unter ausschließlicher Verwendung von Kakaobohnen deutscher Kolonien’: On Representations of Chocolate Consumption as a Colonial Endeavor

Figure 1.1. ‘2. Westafrikanische Pflanzungs-Gesellschaft “Viktoria”, Kamerun. Transport der Kakaobohnen zur Trockenhalle’ [2 West African Plantation Company ‘Victoria’, Cameroon. Transportion of cocoa beans to the drying hall], 1910.


6 ‘Africa in European Evening Attire’: Defining African American Spirituals and Western Art Music in Central Europe, 1870s–1930s

Figure 6.1. Rudolf Arnheim, ‘Negersänger’, Stimme von der Galerie: 25 kleine Aufsätze zur Kultur der Zeit [Voice from the Gallery: 25 Short Essays on the Culture of the Time] (Berlin: Verlag Dr. Wilhelm Bernary, 1928).

Figure 6.2. ‘A Black Attack’, Kladderadatsch (16 December 1877), 1.

Figure 6.3. Hans Ewald Heller, ‘Negermusik’, Radio Wien (4 September 1931), 12.

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