|CANCELED - Between Racism and Resistance: Afro-German Literature and Film
This interactive course familiarizes students with a minority population in Germany whose representation has undergone myriad transformations. We will assess personal narratives that document efforts by this population to gain visibility by forming an empowering socio-historical identity around the self-label "Afro-German." Our study includes historical, scholarly, and autobiographical essays from the groundbreaking book Showing Our Colors, excerpts from Ika Hügel-Marshall’s memoir Invisible Woman, poetry, and film screenings. We’ll discuss literature and films with partners in groups and short lectures. Although not required, recommended readings of 40-65 pages per week will be discussed in classes. A Course Reader will be available.
Week by Week Outline
First Week: Introduction (Pre-)Colonial Images of Africa in Germany
Session One - Introduction to Afro-German studies (lecture)
Opitz, “Precolonial Images of Africa, Colonialism, and Fascism” (pp. 3-17) and “The Germans in the Colonies” (pp. 19-40)
Film screening in class: Black on Europe, followed by discussion
Second Week: Weimar Republic and National Socialism
Session Two - Opitz, “African and Afro-German Women in the Weimar Republic and under National Socialism” (pp. 41-55)
Opitz, Personal Narratives, Showing Our Colors (pp. 56-76)
Stark, Martha. “My 13 Years Under the Nazi Terror: Amazing, True Life Story of a Negro Girl.” Sara Lennox, ed. Remapping Black Germany: New Perspectives on Afro-German History, Politics, and Culture (pp. 179-202)
Third Week: Afro-Germans after 1945
Session Three - Opitz, “Afro-Germans after 1945: The So-Called Occupation Babies”
Opitz, Personal Narratives, Showing Our Colors (pp. 101-123)
Fourth Week: (In)Visible in Germany
Session Four - Ika Hügel-Marshall, Invisible Woman (pp. 13-44, 144-158)
Poem: Olumide Popoola “lagos 1996 - a long way home?” (pp. 56-58)
Fifth Week: May Ayim’s Legacy
Session Five - May Opitz (in Opitz et.al.). Poem: “Blues in Black-and-White” (pp. 232-233)
May Ayim, Blues in Black and White, Essay “White Stress/Black Nerves” (pp. 73-95) and Poems “afro-german I,” “afro-german II” (pp.14-17), “autumn in germany” (pp. 109-111), “nightsong” (pp. 163-165), “departure” (p. 166)
Film screening in class: Hope in My Heart: The May Ayim Story
Sixth Week: Everyday Racism and Resistance
Session Six - Sharon Dodua Otoo. “Reclaiming Innocence. Unmasking Representations of Whiteness in German Theatre.” Sandrine Micossé-Aikins, Sharon Dodua Otoo, eds. The Little Book of Big Visions: How to be an Artist and Revolutionize the World (pp. 54-70)
Film Screening in class: Alles wird gut (Everything will be Fine). Dir. Angelina Maccarone.
Discussion and Conclusion
Objectives of the Course
• To familiarize participants with texts and films of an active minority population in Germany.
• To cultivate an awareness of the historical specificities of the German cultural context.
• To promote critical analyses by decoding racist stereotypes and retracing their construction to underlying insecurities about the parameters of German social and national identity.
• To provide evidence of the distinction between—on the one hand—media (mis)representation and objectification of Afro-German identities, and—on the other hand—the political implications of self-representation