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The Fletcher Report: 75 Years On

Mark Christian

This presentation examines a controversial report that focused negatively on mixed heritage children born and raised in the city of Liverpool. The official title was: Report on an Investigation into the Colour Problem in Liverpool and other ports. The social researcher was Muriel E. Fletcher, who had been trained in the Liverpool School of Social Science at The University of Liverpool in the early 1920s. The report was published in 1930 amid controversy for its openly stigmatizing content of children and mixed heritage families of African and European origin. It could be deemed the official outset in defining Liverpool's "half castes" as a problem and a blight to the "British way of life" in the city.


Caryl Phillips and the Figure of the Black European

Louise Yelin

“I saw only one other black man in Venice,” writes Caryl Phillips in The European Tribe (1987), a collection of travel pieces that, taken together, describe the black European in the mid-1980s. Phillips himself might be considered an exemplar of the black European; his nomadic trajectory – born in St. Kitts, he grew up in Leeds and now lives and works in New York – underwrites a transnational, diasporic, black European identity. In this paper, I examine the representation of the black European in Phillips’s work and explore what his writings suggest about the history of black Europe. Focusing on characters in the novels (and historical personages discussed in his essays) who exemplify four “moments” in black European history, I look at the ways that Phillips helps us to place this history in a larger, trans-European matrix.


Mtoro bin Mwinyi Bakari – lecturer and author

Ludger Wimmelbücker

The life of Mtoro bin Mwinyi Bakari (ca.1869-1927) was strongly influenced by multiple forms of racial discrimination after he came to Berlin as a lecturer for the Swahili language in 1900. His marriage in 1904 apparently stimulated the discourse about “mixed marriages” that led to administrative measures against such unions in the German colonies, especially in South-West Africa / Namibia (for the legal and practical consequences see e.g. Sippel 1995, Wildenthal 1997). As a consequence, Mtoro bin Mwinyi Bakari and his German wife were not able to return to East Africa. Thence, they stayed together in Germany where they did not face related legal prohibitions.


The Chaâba Writes Back : « Mythological » Representations of the Postcolonial African Immigrant in France

Jennifer T Westmoreland

« Le mythe ne nie pas les choses, sa fonction est au contraire d'en parler; simplement, il les purifie, les innocente, les fonde en nature et en éternité, il leur donne une clarté qui n'est pas celle de l'explication, mais celle du constat ... »

The Barthian « mythe, » specifically the ideas articulated in his article entitled « Grammaire Africaine, » provide a clear departure point for examining the use of the language in the French media during the decolonization of Algeria in the late nineteen fifties and early nineteen sixties. In this essay, I use the concept of « le mythe » to discuss the ways in which the French press has continued to promulgate a certain image of the immigrant « other » through the use of specific, veiled terminology from the second half of the twentieth century up until the present era.


“Dieses Lied ist eine Hymne für mein Volk das es so noch nicht gibt”: Minoritarian Strategies in Afro-German Popular Music

Alexander G. Weheliye

My paper discusses the recent proliferation of Afro-German R&B, Brother’s Keepers, Sister’s Keepers, Joy Denelane, Bintia, Mic, J-Luv, Glashaus, and, above all, Xavier Naidoo, which, as opposed to hip-hop does not construe German blackness in terms of identitarian narratives often found in hip-hop. With this in mind, I will develop my points through an engagement with recent examples of Afro-German R&B, Xavier Naidoo and Glashaus, in particular.


The impact of the media on the social and psychological development of black adolescents in europe

Robin Walker

In the last 30 years, old and new media (television, radio, print and the Internet) has influentially changed the way that Black Europeans see and think about themselves as well as the way they think about others and the world. This research abstract will illustrate how the relational impact of the mass media has been even more influential on the development of today’s Black youth (aged from 18 to 24 years) than in previous generations. During the past four decades (1970-2000), cultural messages and images in international and European media broadcasts and publications have subtly and blatantly determined how adult and adolescent Black Europeans select sociological and psychological behaviors, as well as attitudes and lifestyles, that reflect this new virtual vision of themselves.


Juan Latino, afrikanischer Professor im Granada des 16. Jahrhundert

Antonio Uribe

Mit dem Aufkommen des portugiesischen Sklavenhandels, wird im Verlauf des 16. Jahrhunderts die Präsenz von Afrikanern in den andalusischen Städten alltäglich. Dies schlägt sich unter anderem in der Literatur nieder. In der ersten Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts erscheinen verschiedene Dramen mit afrikanischen Hauptdarstellern: El negro del mejor amo (1599-1603), El Santo negro Rosambuco de la ciu­dad de Palermo (1612) und El Prodigio de Etiopía (1645) von Lope de Vega, El valiente negro en Flandes (1638) von An­drés de Claramonte und Juan Latino (1652) von Diego Jiménez de Enciso. Das Leben des Juan Latino, oder Juan de Sesa wie er tatsächlich hiess, bietet reichlich literarischen Stoff.


Alexander Pushkin as a “Black European” Writer

Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy

I would like to propose a contribution to the “Black European Studies” conference which, I believe, best fits the workshop topic “Representing Black European History,” although it broaches a number of the other suggested questions, most specifically the question: What is the relationship of categories like nation, gender, class and racialization to the category Black Europe? To this I would like to add a couple of further questions.


Beyond the Windrush Generation and Black British Subjects: The Afro-Caribbean in Britain

Jerome Teelucksingh

In 1948, the boat S.S Empire Windrush made its first trip from the Caribbean to Britain. After this historic maiden journey, in the post-World War Two era, there were successive waves of West Indian migrants into Britain. My proposed paper will examine the extent in which the Afro-Caribbean migrants in various communities in England have undergone successful acculturation and assimilation. These areas will include London, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool and Birmingham.


French Rap

Maboula Soumahoro

The paper I wish to present at the conference the Johann Gutemberg is organizing next November will be dealing with a survey of French rap of the late 1990s focussing on the productions of artists of this period who attempted to formulate and assert a strong black identity. My main argument is that Hip Hop in France, at a particular time, was used by a section of African immigrants’ children of as a vehicle to publicly debate racial issues in an uprecedented fashion. It thus momentarily presented a challenge to the national statu quo on the debate over issues of racism and race relations. Such an analysis shall offer a means to trace definitions and conceptions of black, African, Antillean, and African-American identities in the context of the self-proclaimed color-blind France, holding high the banner of the ‘republican model’.


Black Women and the Welfare State

Iyiola Solanke

Black women in a position of social disadvantage and prevent improvements in their condition.
The theoretical aspect of this paper focuses on mainstream comparative welfare state scholarship. The point of departure is Esping-Andersen's The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism


Upon the Reception of Race in Romania: Pre-, Communist, and Post Communist Reactions

Emil Sirbulescu

19th century In 1853, only one year after its publication in the United States, and six years before the union of the Romanian principalities, two different translations of Uncle Tom’s Cabin were published in Iaşi, the capital of Moldavia, by two different publishers. The translators had used French versions of the text.


Analyzing and Problematizing the Literature on Senegalese Immigrant Communities in France

Ibra Sene

The presence in the French mainland territory of Senegalese immigrants is one of the most visible legacies of the connection between France and its former colony. Although it is only in the last 10 or 15 years that the steadily growing numbers of immigrants and their increasing presence in the public scene have become heatedly debated in the media and among scholars, this immigration has a history that can be traced back to the end of World War I. As far as I can determine, the first studies on the topic go back to the mid 1970s, mainly consisting of grey literature publications, especially working documents of the SEDES and ORSTOM, and a few articles published in Cahiers ORSTOM – Série Sciences Humaines.


Hans J. Massaquoi’s Autobiographies and Transatlantic Identities

Alexandra E. Schmitt

The emerging field of research called Black European Studies also raises the question of black Germans. Especially at this moment, exactly sixty years after the end of World War II, it is due time to raise public and scientific awareness about the fate of black Germans during the Nazi regime. Not only were they humiliated, ostracized, or even sterilized and killed, but they also suffered from an isolation that barred their way to a black diaspora community and to each individual’s identity formation. However, Afro-German identities already include multiple identities that need to be uncovered in order to come to terms with one’s ethnic identities.


Black and Swedish: Racialization and the Cultural Politics of Belonging in Stockholm

Lena Sawyer

My 2000 Ph.D dissertation, Black and Swedish: Racialization and the Cultural Politics of Belonging in Stockholm, focused on construction blackness among differently positioned Swedes of African ancestry living in Stockholm during the mid 1990s. The project had three findings: 1) The existence of specific under-recognized “routings” of racial meanings about Africa and Africans into Sweden (for example those tracked through children’s books, development and missionary discourse, and later television and radio). The presence of these images are then used to re-write Sweden into an Atlantic history where I argue that Africa and Africans have been an important “Other” employed in envisioning modern Swedish identities,


Cinematic Self-Representation(s) of the Afro-European Experience

Aboubakar S. Sanogo

I would like to propose a paper on the cinematic self-representation of Afro-Europeans over the last two decades (1980s through now). Indeed, since the eighties there has been a consistent and self-conscious seizure and deployment of the means of cinematic representation by descendants of Africans in Europe to represent their stories and histories, the specificity of their cultural contribution to Europe, and the notion that the idea of Europe an experience cannot be discussed without putting the African experience on that continent as a central feature. As a result, an increasing number of films in both fictional and documentary modes have been and are still being made which cast an illuminating lens on experiences not well-known to the public or simply not documented at all.


‘Triumph der Negerkultur über die weiße Zivilisation’: “Ernst Krenek’s Jonny spielt auf and the Question of ‘Race’

Christian Rogowski

It is well known that Ernst Krenek’s “jazz opera” of 1927, the commercially most successful and ideologically most controversial piece of modernist musical theater of the Weimar period, provided the inspiration for the racist bigotry displayed on the infamous poster advertising the Nazi “Degenerate Music” festival held in 1937 at Düsseldorf. What was it about Krenek’s opera that so incensed right-wing ideologues of German “racial” supremacy? My paper explores the contemporary reception of Krenek’s opera, from its Leipzig premiere to the scandals erupting primarily in Vienna and Munich, to highlight the nexus between the ambivalent debates surrounding the central character of Krenek’s opera, African-American “jazz violinist” Jonny during the late 1920s and the notorious depiction of an African-American entertainer during the Third Reich (complete with exaggeratedly thick lips, bulging eyes, ape-like small head, saxophone and a Star of David).


To Be Black, British and Female: Exploring Diasporic Femininity

Malinda Rhone

Scholars, such as Peter Fryer in Black People in the British Empire, have written on the Black presence in Britain, a history that dates back perhaps as far as early Roman times. However, as Black British MP Dianne Abbot comments, British society and identity rests on a “myth of a pure society” despite Britain’s multi-racial heritage ( In Beyond the Masks (1995), Mama Amina writes on the formation of Black British subjects. She focuses on the Black British subject as a process of construction which is often contradictory despite the long standing historical presence of Blacks in Britain.


Afro-Catalans: From emigration to interculturality and metissage (Black culture in Catalonia)

Carlos A. Rabasso

In this paper, we are going to study the presence of black culture in Catalonia from its origins with the slave trade until nowadays in the context of a globalised society where metissage results from the constant evolution of the world. We will look into the most significant moments by dealing with different cultural events such as African-American jazz or Caribbean and Cuban music like rumba and salsa.


Nantes Noir: Living Race in the City of Slavers

Dwain C. Pruitt

This study locates Nantes and its slaving history within the broader Atlantic World historiography, particularly within the context of the Black Atlantic. It critiques the so-called “Freedom Principle,” which, in theory, resulted in the automatic emancipation of enslaved persons who touched French soil, by shifting focus from the capital to Nantes, the “City of Slavers.”

Centering attention on Nantes reveals a very different, countervailing mindset at work in France: an Unfreedom Principle. Nantes’ experience with persons of color in the eighteenth- and early nineteenth centuries was defined by a hardening of racial attitudes in the eighteenth century followed by a thirty-year period of racial paranoia that culminated with the creation of a legal process that defined racial acceptability. Rather than being the story of racial liberalism, Nantes’ history of race from 1664 to 1848 is one marked by negrophobia.


"Prussian Lovebirds" The story of a German family with African roots

Gorch Pieken

The history of the Sabac el Cher family begins with a murder. Prince Albrecht of Prussia kills a man out of jealousy, in his beautiful palace in Berlin – but a brother of the King of Prussia does not go to jail. Instead, he is sent on a long journey, until the dust has settled. It is no accident that he chooses Egypt as his destination, since all Berlin is talking about the major archaeological expedition being led by the famous Egyptologist, Richard Lepsius. An initiative of Alexander von Humboldt's, it is being financed by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV himself. Prussia is the hotbed of "Egyptomania", which will soon have all of Europe in its grip.


The Appearance and Disappearance of Moors in Spain: What Color Were They?

Tiffany Ruby Patterson

Racial discourse in the modern world turns on color and so much of our understanding of earlier periods is filtered through a modern notion of color and race. Confronting Europe and Africa in the centuries prior to the Atlantic slave trade presents particular difficulties if that encounter is understood solely within the framework of a “modern” racial discourse. Yet to understand this discourse, we must telescope back to that earlier period in which Africans and Europeans confronted each other before the Atlantic slave trade, during a moment of conquest. We must begin with the Iberian peninsula and the creation of the first and only “black” state in Europe, as well as the point of departure for the Atlantic slave trade. Here Africans, Europeans, Jews, and Arabs fashioned a complicated world out of conquest, imperial control, and economic and military power. Here too, notions of difference based on color, religion, ethnicity, culture and civilization evolved over a period of eight centuries until the expulsion of Moors, Jews, and Arabs and some of their progeny.


Black Baltics

Irina Novikova

My research project proposal deals with the studies of black people in the countries of the Baltic region (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania). Its focus is the Black Baltics

  • in its commonalities as part of Black diasporic experience, as part of Black Europe today,

  • with its differences, as a consequence of differing national histories.


Role of the African Diaspora in the formulation (and potential destabilization) of European identities

Nancy P. Nenno

My research focuses on one of the central questions of Black European Studies, namely the role of the African Diaspora in the formulation (and potential destabilization) of European identities. I am currently completing a book-length manuscript that examines the representations of, and self-fashionings by, African Americans in German culture during the tumultuous Weimar Republic, a period that represents a pivotal paradigm shift in German encounters with and perceptions of people of African descent. In effect, what I have discovered is that I am dealing with a double diaspora across the Atlantic—an African American community in the United States as the result of the slave trade, and the relocation of some African Americans to Europe for personal, political and economic reasons.


Writing a history of Blacks in France

Pap Ndiaye

I'm starting a book on the history of Blacks in continental France from the 17th century to present times. This history has never been undertaken, in spite of a few historical studies on the presence of Black Africans and Carribeans in France, as well as a pioneer work by the American historian William B. Cohen on Blacks as seen by the French. There is an obvious historiographical gap which needs to be filled. My book — under contract with a major French publisher — will be a contribution to the field of African-French studies, still in its infancy. I do not intend to extensively cover a history in need of detailed studies and archival work. My purpose is rather to encourage historians to delve into this topic by raising a number of methodological and theoretical issues, while providing a global historical overview of Blacks in France.


Den Diskurs fälschen!: Schwarze deutsche Selbstrepräsentation in der Weimarer Republik zwischen (Post-)Kolonialismus und Transnationalismus

Tobias Nagl

Lange Zeit folgte die akademisch-historiografische Auseinandersetzung mit der schwarzen Präsenz in Deutschland einer unausgesprochenen, wenngleich problematischen Arbeitsteilung. Fragen der Reprsentation wurden in der Form von „images of…“-Analysen an die Literaturwissenschaft verwiesen; die Wiederentdeckung der verdrängten und vergessenen Zeugnisse schwarzer deutscher Biografien hingegen dominierten oftmals Kuriositätensammler, die die Weigerung zur methodischen Reflektion durch einen obsessiven Fetischismus ersetzten. Beide Positionen relegieren dabei die schwarze deutsche Präsenz auf eine subalterne Position sprachloser und passiver Alterität. Dabei reproduzierten sie einen ausschliesslich weiβen Blick auf die deutsche Geschichte, wonach Menschen afrikanischer Herkunft ein Problem der Repräsentation darstellten und nur weiβe Deutsche zur Repräsentation und agency fähig zu sein schienen. Die Frage schwarzer deutscher Artikulation wiederum schien sich so, wenn überhaupt, allein in der Gegenwart zu stellen.


Literary methodologies and the african european author

Laura Murphy

My dissertation research focuses on West African literary representations of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In my work, I seek to counteract the notion that a seeming silence or hesitance regarding the trade indicates that there is an ignorance of its effects. Using alternative means of communication such as those divination practices, cautionary tales, and oral histories uncovered by Rosalind Shaw and Anne Bailey to decode the way literary authors explore the memory of the trade, I seek to better analyze the way memory works in Africa and the ways in which people have managed to keep their past alive in their present.


Metropolitan Caribbean Communities: Europe, Diaspora, Identity

Adlai Murdoch

This project seeks to come to terms with two related issues; the ramifications of the cultural and demographic phenomenon of Caribbean postwar migration that took thousands of West Indians to the former colonial capitals of Paris and London between 1948 and 2003, and the ways in which these new inhabitants and their descendants came to represent themselves and their experiences in literature and film. Indeed, in what became a veritable flood of peoples and cultures, there are now more than half a million persons in each of these countries claiming West Indian birth or background, and most recent census figures estimate these communities to be virtually 1% of the population in both cases. What is of even greater interest here is that many second- and third-generation immigrants to these capitals define themselves as West Indian (Guadeloupean, Martinican, Antiguan, Jamaican), irrespective of their metropolitan place of birth, and whether or not they have even visited the Caribbean island from which they draw their ethnic and cultural affiliation.


The Black Romanians. A Question of Race or a Question of Gypsiness?

Michaela Mudure

This paper explores the identity problems of the children resulting from the marriages between Romanian women and African students who came to Romania in the 1970’s and 1980’s as a result of the efforts of the Communist regime of the time to establish good relations with several leftist regimes from Africa and to turn the then dictator of Romania, Nicolae Ceauşescu, into an influential factor in world politics.


Bonamanga – eine entgrenzte Familiengeschichte

S. Michels

1884 unterschrieb Ndumbe Lobe (Bell) zusammen mit anderen Duala-Autoritäten den Vertrag, mit dem die deutsche Kolonie Kamerun begründet wurde. 1902 weilte sein Sohn August Manga Ndumbe (Bell) in offizieller Mission in Berlin, um in der deutschen Reichshauptstadt Reformen für die deutsche Kolonialpolitik in Kamerun einzufordern. Der Delegation gehörte als Dolmetscher auch der Sohn Manga Ndumbes an, Rudolf Duala Manga (Bell), der von 1891 bis 1896 in Württemberg gelebt und dort eine Schulausbildung genossen hatte. Das Leben von Rudolf Duala Manga sollte einige Jahre später vorzeitig ein Ende nehmen; die deutschen Kolonialherren richteten ihn 1914 in Duala hin. Er ist bisher als antikolonialer Held, als Protagonist des kamerunischen Nationalismus sowie auch als prominenter Vertreter der schwarzen Diaspora in Deutschland bekannt.

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