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.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Blackface, Whiteness and the Power of Definition in German Contemporary Theatre

Posted in Arts, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Live Events on 2012-10-08 03:21Z by Steven

Blackface, Whiteness and the Power of Definition in German Contemporary Theatre

The International Research Center “Interweaving Performance Cultures” invites Bühnenwatch
Studio 1 Kunstquartier Bethanien
Mariannenplatz 2 / 10 997 Berlin
2012-10-16, 11:00-16:30 CEST (Local Time)

With presentations by Sharon Otoo, Sandrine Micossé-Aikins, Dr. Daniele Daude, Dr. Azadeh Sharifi and Julia Lemmle

Moderated by Oliver Kontny


11.00 Introduction by Oliver Kontny
11.30 “Reclaiming Innocence: Unmasking Representations of Whiteness in German Theatre,” Sharon Otoo
12.00 “Not just a Blackened Face: The Back Stage of a Stereotyp,” Sandrine Micossé-Aikins
12.30 “The (Un)Chosen Bodies of Myths. Performing Race on Opera Stage,” Dr. Daniele Daude
13.00-13.30 Discussion
15.00 “Black artists in German theatre,” Dr. Azadeh Sharifi
15.30 ““Ich bin kein Nazi!” The blackface debate in the German mainstream media,” Julia Lemmle
16.00-16.30 Discussion…

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Berlin marks Black History Month but the struggle goes on

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Social Science, Women on 2012-02-29 03:19Z by Steven

Berlin marks Black History Month but the struggle goes on

Deutsche Welle

Anne Thomas

Berlin has become more diverse and the situation for Afro-Germans has improved, but it’s still hard to get a job or an apartment. Black History Month highlights the challenges faced by over 2 percent of the population.

A black Portuguese friend of mine once dated an African-American guy she had met in her favorite bar. “We were so surprised to see another black person, we instantly gravitated towards each other,” they told me, laughing. They were able to joke, but for many Afro-Germans, it has been a lonely struggle.

Although I live in Neukölln—reportedly Berlin’s most diverse district with inhabitants from 160 countries—I am always struck by how white the city seems compared to other European capitals. I have never seen a black doctor, civil servant, yoga teacher, ticket collector, bus driver, pharmacist, plumber, policewoman, librarian… Most of the black people I know are from the US, UK, Nigeria, Senegal, Brazil or Portugal.
As a white foreigner in Germany, I sometimes find it difficult here and am very aware of my differences. However, I cannot really imagine what it must be like to constantly be considered exotic, just because of a different skin color.

Remembering May Ayim

So this year’s Black History Month in Berlin has been especially fascinating. The Initiative of Black People in Germany (ISD) introduced this annual event in 1990, the year of German reunification, which Afro-German poet and activist May Ayim described as a celebration “without immigrants, refugees, Jewish or black people.”

To date, many in Germany maintain the country has a very insignificant colonial history and racism is not an issue. Ayim (1960 – 1996), whose father was Ghanaian and mother German, suffered from this ignorance and co-founded the ISD to change attitudes and work towards a non-racist Germany…

…Introducing Afro-Germans

Micosse-Aikins also praised the fact that Berlin had changed for the better as a result of the work of May Ayim and her fellow panelist, the historian and activist Katharina Oguntoye, who was born in Zwickau to a white German mother and a black Nigerian father.

When Caribbean-American writer, poet and activist Audre Lorde arrived in Berlin in 1984, she looked for other black women and found mainly isolated individuals, including Ayim and Oguntuye. She encouraged them to write a book.

“She said we should introduce ourselves to each other and to the world,” recalled Oguntoye, adding that this was an extremely daunting task for two women in their early 20s, but one they felt equipped to perform.

The result was “Showing Our Colors: Afro-German Women Speak Out,” a groundbreaking combination of historical analysis, interviews, personal testimonies and poetry that explored racism in Germany and was published in German in 1986…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,