Michelle M. Wright advocates a conception of Blackness as multidimensional as opposed to one solely tied to the violence and injustice of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in an attempt to give voice to Black discourses of belonging outside of the Americas. Through a transnational approach we seek to highlight this complex exchange as it presents itself in Black German Studies in both theory and literature. In this seminar we explore ways in which linear narratives of Blackness are intertwined with, but also decoupled from, canonical theories from the United States, which then challenge and revise a singular, static conception of Blackness in the world. We will investigate the undeniable intertextualities between Black Studies and literature in the US and that of Germany; however, we place the focus of this seminar on Black German Studies as a mode of cultural expression in its own right. In considering artistic endeavors from various cultural backgrounds and countries of origin, this course will highlight the complexities and benefits of knowledge exchange in identity building inside hegemonic discourses. The transatlantic voices of the Diaspora as they shape the Black German context play an important role in understanding the complexities of the Black/African Diaspora in our current moment. This course therefore seeks to familiarize students with contemporary debates within and about identity and belonging in Black German Studies as well as the vast networks of knowledge and community building within the emerging discipline.
Please note: This course is being offered as a joint block seminar between the German and English departments. Readings will include German and English language texts and the course will be taught in a combination of German and English. Because this class will be taught in the block format, each session will require reading-intensive preparation.