Niagara Falls, New York
Organization: Northeast Modern Languages Association
Aside from the transatlantic slave trade, the second darkest period of the history of Blacks and the black continent is the colonial period. Colonialism is the territorial domination and subjugation of a people by another group of people which encompasses political and economic exploitation. Among the factors that led to the imperial and colonial event in Africa was the industrial revolution with the need for a labor force, an expansion, new markets as well as the concept of white supremacy over other races. The colonial period has had profound effects on the African continent in all ramifications of human endeavor. The transatlantic slave trade as well as colonialism have brought Blacks in contact with Germany. These migratory movements have shaped identity, race relations and the destinies of many diasporic black communities across the world. In addition to these aforementioned events, the World War I and World War II have been two major events that have determined Germany’s encounters with Blacks with the presence of black French soldiers in the Rhineland leading to amorous relationships with German women who gave birth to mixed-race children called “Rhineland bastards” by the Nazis. Moreover, American GIs who were involved with German women also gave birth to brown kids called “occupation children.” The hate campaign that followed the presence of these children births led to their many racialized experiences in Germany and influenced the representation of mixed-race people and Blacks in western films, media and literature. This panel considers the debates surrounding the representation of Afro-Germans and Blacks in western media and literature with emphasis on Germany, Race relations and racism, migration, and identity construction, belonging/unbelonging. Further, it examines the legacies of imperialism, colonialism and Nazism. How did colonial encounters influence Germans’ perception of Blacks in general and Africans in particular? Why and how did Germany become a site of migration for Blacks and African-Americans after the Second World War?