Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Call for Submission of Research Proposals

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 (which has historically been constructed as white). Afro-German feminists did pioneering work in exploring the various histories and experiences of Black people in Germany. This increasing recognition and analysis of the Black presence in Germany has provoked a critical examination of whiteness as a hitherto largely unexamined category. The complex role Germany plays in Black diasporic thought is also being explored. Furthermore, in public and academic discourse, more recent processes of migration, transnationalism, and the flow of transcultural forms and commodities pose the question whether issues of race, racialization and racism have to be re-examined and re-conceptualized.

In many cases, these fields of study overlap with self-organization and productions of knowledge by 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 existing work in the field, what conceptual tools can help continue the ongoing, yet often disparate debates? For instance, can “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? In order to establish a setting in which to address these pertinent questions and to stimulate an exchange of ongoing projects from a variety of perspectives, we seek to establish 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 possibly conclude with a publication on the subject. These workshops 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).

If you would like to 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 15th, 2009.

You can 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.

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