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Call for Interest and for Submission of Research Proposals

Young Scholar’s Network – Black Diaspora and Germany

In recent years, scholarly work on Germany’s colonial past and its continuing consequences has stressed the relevance of notions of Blackness and whiteness to German national identity formation. Afro German feminists conducted pioneering work in exploring the various histories and experiences of People of Color in Germany. Together with a critical examination of whiteness, the complex role Germany plays in Black diasporic thought is also being explored. Aiming at an exchange on current issues in Afro German and African American, Black Diaspora and Critical Whiteness Studies, a young scholar’s network is currently in the process of being established at the University of Muenster, for which we seek to bring together a diverse, interdisciplinary group of scholars. Our collaborative research network will run over an estimated period of three years and will consist in several workshops which will conclude with a publication on the subject.

The research areas aforementioned often overlap with the self-organization and knowledge productions of People of Color. In this contested space, issues of representation, one’s own positionality and the power and authority to define have to be addressed. Building on already existing work in these fields, what conceptual tools can help continue the ongoing, yet often disparate debates? For instance, can the diaspora serve as an all-encompassing concept, and if so, how is it being modified, gendered, re-articulated? Within the field, are there tendencies toward an Americanist hegemony that should be counterbalanced? Can there be a more fruitful dialogue among scholars of Afro German and African American Studies? Do deconstructivist analyses of race run the risk of obscuring persistent effects of racialization/racism? And, if so, which other ways can be found to tie the world of experience to theorization?

The workshops we are going to plan during our network collaboration may center around issues of Black Diaspora and Critical Whiteness Studies, Gender and Sexuality, Authenticity and Performance of Blackness(es), Modernity and Transnationalism, Anticolonialism and Slavery, and Black Power (and its Reception in Germany). Further ideas are welcome.

If you would like to actively participate in the network, please send a short CV with your contact information and a brief description of your research project (250 words) in German or English to bdg@uni-muenster.de.

The submission deadline is February 15, 2009.

You may want to get in touch personally and meet current participants at the CAAR conference 2009 in Bremen (http://www.caar2009.eu/), where a network workshop will be held. Here, individual projects of network participants will be presented and the general network idea and its concept will be discussed. For further information and a list of associated members, please visit us at http://blackdiasporaandgermany.blogspot.com/.

Young Scholars Network Black Diaspora and Germany Westfälisch Wilhelms-Universität Münster Englisches Seminar Johannisstrasse 12-20
48143 Münster