The Kid’s Aren’t Alright: Afro-German Afrofuturism and the Fight for Futurity

Date
Dec 5, 2022, 4:30 pm6:00 pm
Location
East Pyne Room 205

Speaker

Audience
  • Faculty & Staff
  • Graduate Affairs
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Event Description

Drawing on theoretical models culled from Black (German) studies, Afrofuturism, performance studies and queer theory, in this talk I will analyze examples Black German artists’ engagement with “future-making” through fantasy and speculative and science fiction. From the “Afronauts” painting cycle (1999) of visual artist, Daniel Kojo Schrade, and the poetry of Philipp Khabo Köpsell, to the prose of Sharon Dodua Otoo and the plays and performances of Olivia Wenzel and Simone Dede Ayivi, Black German artists have increasingly employed Afrofuturist tropes in order to critique Eurocentricism, uncover German racism and confront German colonialism.For centuries, Black Germans’ existence has been inherently threatened by both ideological and repressive state apparati, in such forms as schooling, artistic representation, police and institutions. Through Afrofuturism, Black Germans create a future in which Black German life can not only survive but thrive. As such, many of these texts center children as a symbol of the future. But rather than using “the Child” as an oppressive prescription for heteronormativity, Black German Afrofuturism embraces Black Diasporic queer kinship and asserts that children are valued, not for their innocence from social discourses, but precisely because they will eventually become racially conscious and politically active Black German adults necessary for sustaining the community. Thus, Black German futurity is part of the communal activity of creating a Black German identity.
*Please note registration is required for virtual attendees only.

There will also be a graduate student workshop the next day (more information for those interested in the workshop here

Priscilla Layne’s first book, White Rebels in Black: German Appropriation of Black Popular Culture, is forthcoming April 2018 with the University of Michigan Press. In this book, she examines how, following WWII, German artists often associated white, rebellious male characters with black popular culture, because black culture functioned as a metaphor for rebellion. Priscilla is currently working on her second book, Out of this World: Afro-German Afrofuturism, which focuses on Afro-German authors’ use of Afrofuturist concepts in literature and theater. In addition to this project, some of the broader themes she is interested in are German national identity, conceptions of race and self/other in Germany, cross-racial empathy, postcolonialism, and rebellion.

Event Type
In Conversation
Event Category
AAS Recommended Events

 

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