A Symposium on Blackness, Germany, and the Concept of Race

Friday, April 6, 2012 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm UCLA Faculty Center

Friday, April 06, 2012
1:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Symposium organized by Michael Saman

Fatima El-Tayeb, Comparative Literature, UC San Diego
Damani Partridge, Anthropology, University of Michigan
Mark Thompson, English, Johns Hopkins University
Michael Saman, Germanic Languages, UCLA

German philosophy of the eighteenth century yields the first attempt to define scientifically the highly indeterminate concept of Rasse (borrowed, without any precise definition, from the French race). German political culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries moves the concept of race indelibly from the realm of scientific speculation into political and social reality. While there have been many studies on the general concept of "race" in Germany before and after the Nazi period, the purpose of this symposium is to focus in particular on notions of Black race and identity in German social as well as intellectual history.

In order to explore the specificity of Blackness within German discourses on race and culture, this symposium brings together a group of scholars to examine the question from the viewpoint of multiple disciplinary methodologies, including anthropology, intellectual history, cultural studies, and literature.

Symposium Schedule:

1:00  Fatima El-Tayeb
The End of Multiculturalism?  Colorblind Europe, Black Germans, and Diaspora Studies

1:45  Damani Partridge
Occupying "Black" Bodies and Reconfiguring European Belonging – Berlin and Other Scenes

3:00  Mark Thompson
Ape Autobiography: On Kafka's "A Report to an Academy" as a Slave Narrative

3:45  Michael Saman
"A Depth of History and Meaning": J. G. Herder, W. E. B. Du Bois, and the Songs of Black Folk

5:00  Roundtable Discussion

The symposium is organized by Michael Saman.

Special Instructions

Pay-by-space and all-day parking is available in lot 2. Enter Hilgard Avenue and Westholme Avenue for closest parking. The UCLA Faculty Center is located on the UCLA campus at 480 Charles Young Dr. East, Los Angeles, CA 90095.

Tel: 310.825.3955.


Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, Anthropology, Germanic Languages, Mellon Cultures in Transnational Perspective Postdoctoral Program.