German Studies Association Annual Conference


Thirty-Ninth Annual Conference, Washington, D.C.

October 1-3, 2015


Panel Title: "An Archive of Black/Afro-German Film"


With the release of the first comprehensive English-language study of Black/Afro-German cinema, Angelica Fenner's path-breaking book Race Under Construction in German Cinema: Robert Stemmle's Toxi (2011), the long overdue work on Black/Afro-German identity, representation, performance, and authorship in cinema finally started to gain scholarly ground. Expanding Fenner's study through a broader postwar historical arc of German cinema (including contemporary achievements), we seek to piece together an archive of Black/Afro-German film. From Robert Stemmle's postwar film Toxi (1952), to Rainer Werner Fassbinder's New German Cinema investigations of race in films such as Angst essen Seele Auf (1971), Pioniere in Ingolstadt (1971), and Whity (1974), to contemporary transnational cinema as in the examples of Armin Völcker's youth comedy Leroy and Sheri Hagen's "postethnic" Auf den zweiten Blick (2012), there is a rich range of film and moving image media genres that directly and indirectly engage questions of Black/Afro-German identity both from the perspective of White German filmmakers and a growing number of Black/Afro-German filmmakers. What does looking at these films collectively tell us? What knowledge is transmitted? Finally, what insights about Black/Afro-German representation and expression can be garnered through this particular transnational history of cinema?


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:


·         Feature films from postwar Germany to the present that engage issues of Black/Afro-German identity

·         Documentaries: Survivors of the Holocaust (1997), Roots Germania (2007), Bist du stolz Deutsch zu sein? Yes I am! (2007), Günter Wallraff: Schwarz auf Weiss (2009), Brown Babies: The Mischlingskinder Story (2011), and Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 (2012)

·         The short films of Winta Yohannes

·         Cinematic self-/representations and issues of the gaze in the work of directors R. W. Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Helke Misselwitz, Doris Dörrie, Angelina Maccarone, Armin Völckers, Sheri Hagen, etc.

·         Black/Afro-German figures in the TV series, such as Polizeiruf 110, SOKO Leipzig etc.

·         Actors such as Günther Kaufmann, Pierre Sanoussi-Bliss, Tyron Ricketts, Chantal de Freitas, Carol Campbell, Araba Walton, etc.

·         Intersections of race and other categories, such as gender, sexuality, and class in Black/Afro-German film


​Please send a ca. 250-word abstract to both of the panel organizers, Mihaela Petrescu ([log in to unmask]) and Olivia Landry ([log in to unmask]), by January 31, 2015.   

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