Black German culture, history highlighted at Amherst-sponsored conference

Black German culture, history highlighted at Amherst-sponsored conference

Amherst College News
Amherst College
Amherst, Massachusetts

Peter Rooney, Director of Public Affairs

As more African-Americans are realizing they have German roots, and as Germans expand the notion of what it means to be German, a new academic discipline dedicated to examining the Black German experience is having its third International Conference at Amherst College this week.

Christian Rogowski, a professor of German at Amherst College, together with Sara Lennox of U Mass, helped organize this year’s conference of the Black German Heritage & Research Association Convention, which will be held from Thursday, August 8 to Saturday, August 10 and is free and open to the public.

“The conference is unique,” Rogowski said, “because it brings together researchers who work on issues of ethnicity and racial diversity and the situation of blacks in Germany with people who themselves fall into that category, people with hyphenated identities such as Afro-German, African-American German or Black German.”

One highlight of the conference is a screening of the film “Toxi”, recently released on DVD by the DEFA Library of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  The German movie from 1952 about an African-American girl who is born to a German mother after World War II, shows the impact that birth has on the girl, her family and the community that surrounds her. The film will be screened at 4 p.m. Friday in Stirn Auditorium, where Angelica Fenner of the University of Toronto will moderate a discussion about it…

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