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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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I secured a scholarship to undertake the research that culminated into the writing of this book at the advice, and unwavering assistance of my colleague and friend J.K.S. Makokha. I owe immense gratitude to him for having identified me among many and believing that I could do it. The scholarship itself was awarded to me by the Deutscher Akademischer AustauschDienst (The German Academic Exchange Programme) who infact partly funded the publication of this book. Since one cannot thank an institution, I express my gratitude to its representatives, Michael Baumgardt and Joana Gerken, who worked closely with me.

It is almost impossible to account for the profound influence that Russ West-Pavlov had on my immature research horns in the earlier stages of this work. This research took its embryonic shape during the stimulating, thought provoking and often challenging hours of conversation with him in his office at the Free University of Berlin. I am grateful to him especially in assisting me find an appropriate perspective that the study adopted. I’m also very appreciative of my supervisor Cordula Lemke for reading through the many drafts I sent her and offering valuable suggestions on how best to proceed.

The often charged intellectual climate of doctoral colloquiums at the Institute of English Philology of the Free University of Berlin first conducted by Russ West-Pavlov and later by Jennie Wawrzinek and Cordula fostered some of the ideas that shaped this work. I had wonderful sets of colleagues like Ferdinand...

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