Black German culture, history highlighted at Amherst-sponsored conference

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, United States on 2013-08-07 04:55Z by Steven

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…

Read the entire article here.

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Black German Heritage and Research Association Annual Convention 2013

Posted in Media Archive, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2013-03-08 18:20Z by Steven

Black German Heritage and Research Association Annual Convention 2013

Black German Heritage and Research Association

The third annual convention of the Black German Heritage and Research Association (formerly the Black German Cultural Society NJ) will be held on August 8-11, 2013, at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. This year’s convention will focus on Black Germans in Diaspora. The conference will feature a keynote address by Maisha Eggers, Professor of Childhood and Diversity Studies at the University of Magdeburg, a screening of the 1952 film “Toxi” at the Amherst Cinema, with an introduction and Q & A by Professor Angelica Fenner of the University of Toronto, author of “Race Under Reconstruction in German Cinema” (2011), and presentations by guest artists Sharon Dodua Otoo and Sandrine Micossé-Aikins, editors of “The Little Book of Big Visions: How To Be an Artist and Revolutionize the World,” published by the Berlin publishers Edition Assemblage in October 2012.

The BGHRA Review Committee invites proposals for papers that engage the multiplicity and diversity of the experiences of Blacks of German heritage and on Blackness in Germany. We welcome submissions for twenty-minute presentations on three academic panels and two sessions devoted to life writing, oral history, and memoir…


For more information, click here.

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Race under Reconstruction in German Cinema: Robert Stemmle’s Toxi

Posted in Books, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2012-03-16 21:17Z by Steven

Race under Reconstruction in German Cinema: Robert Stemmle’s Toxi

University of Toronto Press
June 2011
288 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9781442640085

Angelica Fenner, Associate Professor of German and Cinema Studies
University of Toronto

Race Under Reconstruction in German Cinema investigates postwar racial formations via a pivotal West German film by one of the most popular and prolific directors of the era. The release of Robert Stemmle’s Toxi (1952) coincided with the enrolment in West German schools of the first five hundred Afro-German children fathered by African-American occupation soldiers. The didactic plot traces the ideological conflicts that arise among members of a patrician family when they encounter an Afro-German child seeking adoption, herein broaching issues of integration at a time when the American civil rights movement was gaining momentum and encountering violent resistance.

Perceptions of ‘Blackness’ in Toxi demonstrate continuities with those prevailing in Wilhelmine Germany, but also signal the influence of American social science discourse and tropes originating in icons of American popular culture, such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Birth of a Nation, and several Shirley Temple films. By applying a Cultural Studies approach to individual film sequences, publicity photos, and press reviews, Angelica Fenner relates West German discourses around race and integration to emerging economic and political anxieties, class antagonism, and the reinstatement of conventional gender roles.

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