CfP: Black German Diaspora panel at German Studies Association Conference (October 1-4, 2020; Washington, D.C.)

Blackness and Queerness in German Studies: Sister Outsidergrenzenlos und unverschämt

Without question a pivotal figure within both Black German and Queer Studies is Audre Lorde. Her presence is palatable and historically significant for the development of Afrodeutsche discourses during her years spent in Berlin (1984-1992), but also as an inspiration and impetus for the thoughts that intersected both Blackness and queerness, femininity and activism, which became so central for May Ayim, Katharina Oguntoye, and others. In her seminal work, Sister Outsider (1984), Lorde spoke to all her sister outsiders and others pushed to the periphery of society on account of their queerness, Blackness, politics, and gender expression, stating:

Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women...know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish (112).

Seeking to engage with the ideas of otherness and outsider, we invite 15-20 minute papers or presentations that engage with the question of both Blackness and queerness in pan-German- speaking literature, history, art, theory, and activism. We encourage papers that explore new aspects of Black Queer German Studies, as well as revisit more common discourses, to promote and foster an increased presence and interest in the field. Although Lorde speaks to her sister outsiders, papers need not be limited to a gendered voice nor one within a traditional gender binary.

Papers from the following potential questions/ topics (but not limited to) are encouraged:

-a general (re)exploration of blackness and queerness within German language, culture, and history

-the influence of queer studies on Black German Studies, including but not limited to Audre Lorde

-the impact of Fatima El-Tayeb’s scholarship, particularly Undeutsch (2016) and European Others (2011), on Black Queer German Studies

-the question of orientation and creating space within culture, literature, language as per Sara Ahmed (Queer Phenomenology, 2006).

-the writings and activism of Noah Sow, in particular the tenth anniversary of Deutschland Schwarz Weiß (2008), and their recognition of both blackness and queerness

-new and potential narratives and readings for the intersection between blackness and queerness 

-critical readings of ethnological studies of black queerness in Europe and the presence (or lack) of a central POC voice

-new and old queer coalitions and solidarities between organizations, such as the Afro-German group ADEFRA and the Afro-Dutch group Sister Outsider (with Gloria Wekker, Tania Leon) 

-Black Trans identity and representation in literature, art, film, and activism in Europe

-intersectionality at new and existing Pride/ Christopher St. events in German-speaking areas 

-the significance of Black Lives Matters internationally for Black queer bodies

Please send a max 350-word abstract and short bio by January 15, 2020 to Adrienne Merritt, [log in to unmask] for consideration.

This panel is sponsored by the Black Diaspora Studies Network. 

**Please note that if accepted, you must become a member of the German Studies Association.

Vanessa Plumly, PhD
Assistant Professor of German
Lawrence University
ACM Mellon Faculty Fellow

Co-chair Black Diaspora Studies Network, GSA
H-Net Black Europe, Review Editor
Series Co-Editor "Imagining Black Europe" Peter Lang Press

******************* The German Studies Call for Papers List Editor: Sean Franzel Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt Sponsored by the University of Missouri Info available at: