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Black and Queer in the City

Coalition of Women in German sponsored panel

45th annual German Studies Association Conference

Indianapolis, Indiana

September 30-October 3, 2021

The city, particularly Berlin, has served as an organizing space for
centuries for Germany’s Black diaspora. It has also been a center of gay,
lesbian, queer, and transgender culture, life, and resistance. This panel
explores not only the Black German radical tradition of queering and
querying the gaze, knowledge, theory and praxis, and ontologies through
spatial politics but also examines Black Germans’ embrace of their
intersectional identities in coming out and being out.

From the renaming of M-Strasse to Anton Wilhelm Amo Strasse in Berlin-Mitte
to the No-Humboldt 21 protests, Black Germans expand and queer sites/sights
of (non-)belonging through activist practices, engage in acts of
emplacement, and incite political and social change in exclusionary German
cultural landscapes and the public sphere. In literary works and cultural
productions such as Pierre Sansoussi-Bliss’s film Zurück auf Los (2000),
Fatima El-Tayeb’s film Alles Wird Gut (1997), Guy St. Louis’s poetry
collection Gedichte einer schönen Frau (1983) and Olivia Wenzel’s debut
novel 1000 Serpentinen Angst (2020), Black Germans embody their queerness
and express their sexuality and desires. This panel poses questions such
as: how do Black German subjects orient and position themselves in cities
and also in more intimate spheres within these larger and intersecting
frameworks? How do they use such sites to carve out spaces of recognition
and enable modes of survival vis-a-vis their cultural production, activism,
and kinship networks? What role did cities play during the Black women's
movement in Germany in the 1980s and 1990s, and what role do they play
today for Black German activism? How do Black German radical politics
expand our understanding of queer geographies that are both literal and
figurative? Can connections to queer activism in other cities in Europe and
the world be traced, and what meaning do these have within the global Black
diaspora? What crossings and transitionings do Black German and LGBTQIA+
communities pursue with their politics and kinships that move beyond
normative understandings of gender, sex, and race? In what ways, do
LGBTQIA+ Black Germans and others of the Black diaspora transform politics
by pursuing new mediums of engagement? We particularly encourage
submissions from junior and BIPOC scholars.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to the organizers by
January 25, 2021.

Co-organizers: Tiffany Florvil, Jeannette Oholi, Vanessa Plumly

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Vanessa Plumly, PhD
Assistant Professor of German
Affiliate Faculty, Ethnic Studies
Lawrence University
ACM Mellon Faculty Fellow
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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
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: