Remapping Black Germany: New Perspectives on Afro-German History, Politics, and Culture

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2017-07-16 02:09Z by Steven

Remapping Black Germany: New Perspectives on Afro-German History, Politics, and Culture

University of Massachusetts Press
December 2016
310 pages
16 b&w illustrations
6 x 9
Paper ISBN: 978-1-62534-231-7
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-62534-230-0

Edited by:

Sara Lennox, Professor Emerita of German Studies
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

A major contribution to Black-German studies

In 1984 at the Free University of Berlin, the African American poet Audre Lorde asked her Black, German-speaking women students about their identities. The women revealed that they had no common term to describe themselves and had until then lacked a way to identify their shared interests and concerns. Out of Lorde’s seminar emerged both the term “Afro-German” (or “Black German”) and the 1986 publication of the volume that appeared in English translation as Showing Our Colors: Afro-German Women Speak Out. The book launched a movement that has since catalyzed activism and scholarship in Germany.

Remapping Black Germany collects thirteen pieces that consider the wide array of issues facing Black German groups and individuals across turbulent periods, spanning the German colonial period, National Socialism, divided Germany, and the enormous outpouring of Black German creativity after 1986.

In addition to the editor, the contributors include Robert Bernasconi, Tina Campt, Maria I. Diedrich, Maureen Maisha Eggers, Fatima El-Tayeb, Heide Fehrenbach, Dirk Göttsche, Felicitas Jaima, Katja Kinder, Tobias Nagl, Katharina Oguntoye, Peggy Piesche, Christian Rogowski, and Nicola Lauré al-Samarai.

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From ADEFRA to Black Lives Matter: Black Women’s Activism in Germany

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Social Justice, Women on 2017-07-16 00:18Z by Steven

From ADEFRA to Black Lives Matter: Black Women’s Activism in Germany

Black Perspectives
2017-07-05

Tiffany Florvil, Assistant Professor of History
University of New Mexico


Black Lives Matter activists in Berlin in July 2016 (WOLFRAM KASTL/AFP/Getty)

On Saturday, June 24, 2017 at 4:30pm, a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest took place in Berlin, Germany with thousands of people expressing solidarity and promoting awareness of racial injustice. The event built from the momentum of two BLM marches that occurred last summer. Initially meeting at the 2016 BLM marches, Mic Oala, Shaheen Wacker, Nela Biedermann, Josephine Apraku, Jacqueline Mayen, and Kristin Lein remained in contact and eventually established a Berlin-based multicultural German feminist collective. With their new group and local connections, they planned the 2017 demonstration as a part of a month-long series of events, which included film screenings, poetry readings, workshops, exhibitions, and more.

Taken together, these events highlight the diversity of Black protest and activism within the German context. Using these events, especially the protest, the organizers publicly drew attention to instances of racism and oppression and attempted to gain visibility for Black people in Germany and beyond. The different events as well as the BLM Movement in Berlin represent the conscious efforts of these feminist and anti-racist activists to not only engage in practices of resistance, but to create and own spaces of resistance, solidarity, and recognition within a majority white society. In this way, they demand their “right to the city” and continue to make Germany a critical site for blackness and the African diaspora.


Ika Hügel-Marshall and Audre Lorde (Feminist Wire, Image Credit: Dagmar Schultz)

[Audre] Lorde was a visiting professor teaching courses at the Free University of Berlin (FUB) in 1984, which a few of these women attended. Black German women also cultivated connections to her outside of the classroom. Lorde emboldened Black German women to write their stories and produce and disseminate knowledge about their experiences as women of the African diaspora in Germany. Inspired, Oguntoye, Ayim, and Dagmar Schultz, a white German feminist, produced the volume Farbe bekennen: Afro-deutsche Frauen auf den Spuren ihrer Geschichte in 1986 (later published in 1992 as Showing our Colors: Afro-German Women Speak Out). The volume helped Black German women and men connect and socialize with one another and forge a dynamic diasporic community after years of isolation in predominantly white settings…

Read the entire article here.

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The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Media Archive, Poetry, United States, Women on 2016-04-02 18:07Z by Steven

The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde

W. W. Norton & Company
February 2000
512 pages
6.2 × 9.3 in
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-393-31972-9

Audre Lorde (1934-1992)

A complete collection—over 300 poems—from one of this country’s most influential poets.

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Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Census/Demographics, Economics, Gay & Lesbian, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Latino Studies, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science, United States, Women on 2015-10-24 18:38Z by Steven

Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study

Macmillan
Ninth Edition
2014
732 pages
Paper Text ISBN-10: 1-4292-4217-5; ISBN-13: 978-1-4292-4217-2

Paula S. Rothenberg, Senior Fellow; The Murphy Institute, City University of New York
Professor Emerita; William Patterson University of New Jersey

Like no other text, this best-selling anthology effectively introduces students to the complexity of race, class, gender, and sexuality in the United States and illustrates how these categories operate and interact in society. The combination of thoughtfully selected readings, deftly written introductions, and careful organization make Race, Class, and Gender in the United States, Ninth Edition, the most engaging and balanced presentation of these issues available today.

In addition to including scholarly selections from authors like Beverly Tatum, Barbara Ehrenreich, Annette Lareau, and Jonathan Kozol, Rothenberg includes historical documents like the Three-Fifths Compromise, firsthand narrative accounts of how these issues have affected the lives of individuals, and popular press pieces reporting on discrimination in everyday life.

This edition includes 28 new selections considering such relevant topics as the citizenship and immigration, transgender identity, the 2010 census, multiracial identity, the 99% and the occupy movement, the tragic story of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, South Asian Identity post 9/11, multiracial identity, disability, sexual harassment in the teenage years, and much more.

Table of Contents *Articles new or revised for this edition

  • Part I THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF DIFFERENCE: RACE, CLASS, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY
    • 1 Racial Formations / Michael Omi and Howard Winant
    • 2 The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch / Richard Wright
    • 3 Constructing Race, Creating White Privilege / Pem Davidson Buck
    • 4 How Jews Became White Folks / Karen Brodkin
    • 5 “Night to His Day”: The Social Construction of Gender / Judith Lorber
    • 6 The Social Construction of Sexuality / Ruth Hubbard
    • 7 The Invention of Heterosexuality / Jonathan Ned Katz
    • 8 Masculinity as Homophobia / Michael S. Kimmel
    • 9 Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History / Douglas C. Baynton
    • 10 Deconstructing the Underclass / Herbert Gans
    • 11 Domination and Subordination / Jean Baker Miller
    • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Part II UNDERSTANDING RACISM, SEXISM, HETEROSEXISM, AND CLASS PRIVILEGE
    • 1 Defining Racism: “Can We Talk?” / Beverly Daniel Tatum
    • 2 Color-Blind Racism / Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
    • 3 Smells Like Racism / Rita Chaudhry Sethi
    • 4 Oppression / Marilyn Frye
    • 5 Patriarchy / Allan G. Johnson
    • 6 Homophobia as a Weapon of Sexism / Suzanne Pharr
    • *7 The 10 Percent Problem / Kate Clinton
    • 8 White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack / Peggy McIntosh
    • *9 Unequal Childhoods: Race, Class, and Family Life / Annette Lareau
    • *10 Class in America—2012 / Gregory Mantsios
  • Part III Complicating Questions of Identity: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
    • 1 A Nation of None and All of the Above / Sam Roberts
    • 2 A New Century: Immigration and the US / MPI Staff, updated by Kevin Jernegan
    • *3 Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of America / Mae Ngai
    • 4 Los Intersticios: Recasting Moving Selves / Evelyn Alsultany
    • *5 For many Latinos, Racial Identity Is More Culture than Color / Mireya Navarro
    • *6 Testimony / Sonny Singh
    • 7 Asian American? / Sonia Shah
    • 8 The Myth of the Model Minority / Noy Thrupkaew
    • 9 Personal Voices: Facing Up to Race / Carrie Ching
    • Suggestions for Further Readings
  • Part IV DISCRIMINATION IN EVERYDAY LIFE
    • 1 The Problem: Discrimination / U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
    • 2 Abercrombie Settles Class-Action Suit
    • 3 Apparel Factory Workers Were Cheated, State Says / Steven Greenhouse
    • 4 Women in the State Police: Trouble in the Ranks / Jonathan Schuppe
    • *5 Why Transgender Identification Matters / Rebecca Juro
    • 6 Where “English Only” Falls Short / Stacy A. Teicher
    • 7 Blacks vs. Latinos at Work / Miriam Jordan
    • 8 Manhattan Store Owner Accused of Underpaying and Sexually Harassing Workers / Steven Greenhouse
    • 9 Muslim-American Running Back off the Team at New Mexico State / Matthew Rothschild
    • 10 Tennessee Judge Tells Immigrant Mothers: Learn English or Else / Ellen Barry
    • *11 Tucson’s Ousted Mexican-American Studies Director Speaks: The Fight’s Not Over / Julianne Hing
    • 12 My Black Skin Makes My White Coat Vanish / Mana Lumumba-Kasongo
    • 13 The Segregated Classrooms of a Proudly Diverse School / Jeffrey Gettleman
    • 14 Race and Family Income of Students Influence Guidance Counselors’ Advice, Study Finds / Eric Hoover
    • 15 College Choices Are Limited for Students from Needy Families, Report Says / Stephen Burd
    • 16 Wealthy Often Win the Race for Merit-Based College Aid / Jay Mathews
    • 17 On L.I., Raid Stirs Dispute over Influx of Immigrants / Bruce Lambert
    • 18 More Blacks Live with Pollution / Associated Press
    • *19 National Study Finds Widespread Sexual Harassment of Students in Grades 7-12 / Jenny Anderson
    • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Part V THE ECONOMICS OF RACE, CLASS, AND GENDER
    • *1 Imagine a Country—2012 / Holly Sklar
    • *2 Dr King Weeps from His Grave / Cornel West
    • *3 Rich People Create Jobs! And Five Other Myths That Must Die for our Economy to Live / Kevin Drum
    • *4 It’s Official: The Rich Got Richer: Top Earners Doubled Share of Nation’s Income, Study Finds / Robert Pear
    • *5 Study Finds Big Spike in the Poorest in the U.S. / Sabrina Tavernise
    • *6 The Making of the American 99% and the Collapse of the Middle Class / Barbara Ehrenreich and John Ehrenreich
    • *7 Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics Twenty-to-One: Executive Summary / Rakesh Kochhar, Richard Fry, and Paul Taylor
    • 8 The Economic Reality of Being Asian American / Meizhu Lui and others
    • 9 The Economic Reality of Being Latino/a in the U.S. / Meizhu Lui and others
    • *10 Hispanic Children in Poverty Exceed Whites / Sabrina Tavernise
    • *11 Gender Gap on Wages is Slow to Close / Motoko Rich
    • 12 Women Losing Ground / Ruth Conniff
    • 13 Lilly’s Big Day / Gail Collins
    • 14 “Savage Inequalities” Revisited / Bob Feldman
    • 15 Cause of Death: Inequality / Alejandro Reuss
    • *16 Undocumented Immigrants Find Paths to College, Careers / Gosnia Wozniacka
    • 17 Immigration’s Aftermath / Alejandro Portes
    • *18 Inequality Undermines Democracy / Eduardo Porter
    • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Part VI MANY VOICES, MANY LIVES: SOME CONSEQUENCES OF RACE, CLASS, AND GENDER INEQUALITY
    • 1 Civilize Them with a Stick / Mary Brave Bird (Crow Dog) with Richard Erdoes
    • 2 Then Came the War / Yuri Kochiyama
    • 3 Yellow / Frank Wu
    • 4 The Arab Woman and I / Mona Fayad
    • 5 Crossing the Border Without Losing Your Past / Oscar Casares
    • 6 The Event of Becoming / Jewelle L. Gomez
    • 7 This Person Doesn’t Sound White / Ziba Kashef
    • *8 In Strangers’ Glances at Family, Tensions Linger / Susan Saulny
    • 9 Family Ties and the Entanglements of Caste / Joseph Berger
    • 10 Pigskin, Patriarchy, and Pain / Don Sabo
    • 11 The Slave Side of Sunday / Dave Zirin
    • 12 He Defies You Still: The Memoirs of a Sissy / Tommi Avicolli
    • 13 Requiem for the Champ / June Jordan
    • *14 Against Bullying or On Loving Queer Kids / Richard Kim
    • 15 Before Spring Break, The Anorexic Challenge / Alex Williams
    • 16 The Case of Sharon Kowalski and Karen Thompson: Ableism, Heterosexism, and Sexism / Joan L. Griscom
    • *17 Misconceptions Regarding the Body / Jennifer Bartlett
    • 18 C. P. Ellis / Studs Terkel
    • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Part VII HOW IT HAPPENED: RACE AND GENDER ISSUES IN U.S. LAW
    • 1 Indian Tribes: A Continuing Quest for Survival /U.S. Commission on Human Rights
    • 2 An Act for the Better Ordering and Governing of Negroes and Slaves, South Carolina, 1712
    • 3 The “Three-Fifths Compromise”: The U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 2
    • 4 An Act Prohibiting the Teaching of Slaves to Read
    • 5 Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, Seneca Falls Convention, 1848
    • 6 The Antisuffragists: Selected Papers, 1852–1887
    • 7 People v. Hall, 1854
    • 8 Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857
    • 9 The Emancipation Proclamation / Abraham Lincoln
    • 10 United States Constitution: Thirteenth (1865), Fourteenth (1868), and Fifteenth (1870) Amendments
    • 11 The Black Codes / W. E. B. Du Bois
    • 12 Bradwell v. Illinois, 1873
    • 13 Minor v. Happersett, 1875
    • 14 California Constitution, 1876
    • 15 Elk v. Wilkins, November 3, 1884
    • 16 Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896
    • 17 United States Constitution: Nineteenth Amendment (1920)
    • 18 Korematsu v. United States, 1944
    • 19 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954
    • 20 Roe v. Wade, 1973
    • 21 The Equal Rights Amendment (Defeated)
    • 22 Lawrence et al. v. Texas, 2003
    • *23 Equal Protection Indeed / The Economist
    • *24 Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution / Linda Hirshman
    • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Part VIII MAINTAINING RACE, CLASS, AND GENDER HIERARCHIES: REPRODUCING “REALITY”
    • 1 Self-Fulfilling Stereotypes / Mark Snyder
    • 2 Anti-Gay Stereotype / Richard D. Mohr
    • 3 White Lies / Maurice Berger
    • 4 Am I Thin Enough Yet? / Sharlene Hesse-Biber
    • 5 Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse / Sut Jhally
    • 6 The Plutocratic Culture: Institutions, Values, and Ideologies / Michael Parenti
    • 7 Media Magic: Making Class Invisible / Gregory Mantsios
    • 8 Still Separate, Still Unequal: America’s Educational Apartheid / Jonathan Kozol
    • 9 Masked Racism: Reflections on the Prison Industrial Complex / Angela Davis
    • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Part IX SOCIAL CHANGE: REVISIONING THE FUTURE AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE
    • 1 Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference / Audre Lorde
    • 2 Feminism: A Transformational Politic / bell hooks
    • 3 A New Vision of Masculinity / Cooper Thompson
    • 4 Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression: The Role of Allies as Agents of Change / Andrea Ayvazian
    • 5 Rethinking Volunteerism in America / Gavin Leonard
    • *6 The Most Important Thing in the World / Naomi Klein
    • *7 Beyond Elections: People Power / Mark Bittman
    • *8 Demand the Impossible / Matthew Rothschild
    • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Index
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What is the Black German Experience? A Review of the Black German Cultural Society of New Jersey 2nd Annual Convention

Posted in Articles, Europe, Live Events, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, United States on 2014-08-18 00:35Z by Steven

What is the Black German Experience? A Review of the Black German Cultural Society of New Jersey 2nd Annual Convention

MixedRaceStudies.org
2012-08-17

Steven F. Riley

All photographs ©2012, Steven F. Riley

I received more than a few raised eyebrows after describing the recent trip my wife and I took to attend the Black German Cultural Society of New Jersey’s Second Annual Convention at Barnard College in New York. If you are tempted to believe that being both Black and German is an oxymoron; think again. African and German interactions go back as far as at least 1600. A fact that is unknown to most, Germany played a significant role during the American Civil Rights Movement as described in Maria Höhn and Martin Klimke’s book Breath of Freedom: The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs, and Germany. Although Black Germans, or rather Afro-Germans, consist of less than 1% of the German population (exact numbers are difficult to determine because German demographics do not track race), they are a growing and vocal segment within Germany and beyond.

Panel Session I: Teaching the Black German Experience – Roundtable Discussion, (Professor Priscilla Layne, Professor Peggy Piesche, Noah Sow and Professor Sara Lennox.) (2012-08-10)

I had the opportunity to experience a bit of this Afro-German experience at the screening of Mo Asumang’s autobiographical film Roots Germania at the BGCSNJ inaugural convention last year here in Washington, D.C. What I saw made me want to learn more.

BGCSNJ President, Rosemarie Peña (2012-08-10) Professor and BGCSNJ Trustee Leroy T. Hopkins (2012-08-11)

This year’s convention ran from August 10 to August 11, 2012 in Barnard’s Diana Center with the exception of the spoken word performances held at the Geothe-Institut’s Wyoming Building in lower Manhattan. I attended most of the sessions which consisted of five panels; a keynote address by Yara Colette Lemke Muniz de Faria; live readings by authors Olumide Popoola and Philipp Kabo Köpsell; a movie screening of the films “Hope in My Heart: The May Ayim Story” and “Audre Lorde—The Berlin Years 1984-1992;” a dinner banquet; and finally a live performance by author, artist, media personality, musician, playwright, actress, scholar and human rights activist Noah Sow’s band, Noiseaux at the Blue Note.

Olumide Popoola and Professor Peggy Piesche pay close attention during Panel Session II: Historical and Popular Cultures of Blacks in Germany. (2012-08-11)

It is very important to note that the term “Afro-German” is a socio-political term that includes all Germans (or German identified) individuals of African descent. Although most Afro-Germans are what we in the United States might refer to as, “of mixed-parentage” (usually a “white” mother and “black” father), no distinction is made within the Afro-German diaspora between individuals of so-called “mixed” and “non-mixed” parentage. I heard the term “biracial/multiracial” no more than five times during the entire conference. I theorize that this social taxonomy is derived from the desire not to fragment an already tiny group within German society and also create internalized marginalization within an already marginalized group. A further defining of this group identity was made by Noah Sow, near the end of the first panel, “Teaching the Black German Experience,” when she emphasized that the most appropriate terminology, should be the German term, Afrodeutsche, rather than Afro- or Black- German. During her introduction of the keynote speaker, BGCSNJ president Rosemarie Peña obliged, by referring to herself as Afrodeutsche. Time will tell if this label will stick.

Witnessing Our Histories–Reclaiming the Black German Experience. From presentation by Professor Tina Campt. (2012-08-11)

The highlight of the conference was Yara Colette Lemke Muniz de Faria’s keynote address, “In their Best Interest… Afro-German Children in Postwar German Children’s Homes” which explored the plight of so-called “War/Brown/Occupation Babies”—the children born of the union between white German women and Black American GIs after World War II. She described the systematic removal of Afro-German children from their birth families into substandard orphanages or foster homes, where many faced emotional and physical abuse. Her keynote touched on the story of Ika Hügel-Marshall, who describes her saga in her autobiography, Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in Germany.

Also of note were the two touching presentations by Vera Ingrid Grant, “Ruby Road: An Excerpt from Paper Girl,” and Debra Abell, “Sauerkraut and Black-Eyed Peas” within the panel “Telling Our Stories – Black German Life Writing” which both explored the life experiences of growing up in the United States as children of a white German mother and black American soldier. Lastly, Jamele Watkins’s, “Performing Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park in Germany” within the panel “ Historical and Popular Cultures of Blacks in Germany” explored the representation of blacks within theatrical presentations in Germany and discussed the controversial continued use of blackface by white German actors to represent black people.

Vera Ingrid Grant, “Ruby Road: An Excerpt from Paper Girl” (2012-08-11) Debra Abell, “Sauerkraut and Black-Eyed Peas” (2012-08-11)

One slight disappointment was the poor sound, poor ventilation, poor visibility and poor lighting of the Goethe Institut’s Wyoming Building that was used as a venue for the artist performances (who traveled all the way from Europe). Were they trying to recreate a German U-boat aesthetic? Barnard’s Diana Center Event Oval on Lower Level 1—which was used for all of the panels—would have sufficed nicely. If a smaller venue was needed, the Glicker-Milstein Black Box Theatre on Lower Level 2 would have fit the bill also. I looked forward to what appeared to be an excellent documentary, “Audre Lorde—The Berlin Years 1984-1992,” on the life of American feminist scholar and poet Audre Lorde (1934-1992), who allegedly was the inspiration encouraging Black-German women to “call themselves ‘Afro-German’ and to record ‘their-story’.” Like Lorde, who’s life was sadly cut short due to cancer, the film screening was also sadly cut short about a third of the way in due to a defective DVD.

Philipp Kabo Köpsell ponders his forthcoming anthology while waiting for a turkey burger. (2012-08-11)

Like any excellent conference, the personal interactions can be as fulfilling as the sessions. The BGCSNJ Second Annual Convention was no exception. My Friday and Saturday morning chats at our hotel with Millersville University Professor of German Literature, Leroy T. Hopkins provided me with an insight into the joys and challenges of teaching German literature as a person of color and to students of color. With a declining interest in the German language by students nationwide (largely due to an increased interest in Chinese and Arabic languages), Hopkins is hopeful that Afro-German authors like Köpsell, Popoola and others will publish their works in German to provide more contemporary reading materials for university classrooms.

On an ironic note, I had the pleasure of having a one-on-one conversation over lunch on Saturday with author and spoken word author Philipp Kabo Köpsell about the necessity to write about the Afro-German experience in English. He and others are working on a book project tentatively titled, “Witnessed.”

This conference would not have been possible without the dedicated work of BGCSNJ president Rosemarie Peña and her fellow staff. Rosemarie is a woman who found out—through documentation in 1994 that she “wasn’t who she thought she was” and discovered that her biological father was black, possibly an African American soldier, and her mother was white and a German national. On Wednesday, she reported to me by phone that they are planning for the third annual convention next August.

If you are the least bit interested in the Afrodeutsche experience, I would highly encourage anyone to make plans to attend next year.

©2012, Steven F. Riley

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Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 by Dagmar Schultz (review)

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, Gay & Lesbian, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2014-05-05 17:30Z by Steven

Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 by Dagmar Schultz (review)

African Studies Review
Volume 57, Number 1, April 2014
pages 237-238
DOI: 10.1353/arw.2014.0038

Patricia-Pia Célérier, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York

Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 is a 79-minute documentary in English and German, directed and produced by Dagmar Schultz. An academic and close friend of Lorde’s, Schultz also co-edited (with May Opitz and Katharina Oguntoye) the book Farbe Bekennen: Frauen auf den Spuren ihrer Geschichte (1986; translated as Showing our Colors: Afro-German Women Speak Out, University of Massachusetts Press, 1991), which marked the beginning of the “Afro-German movement.” Schultz contributed her own archival video and audio recordings and footage to the documentary, adding testimonies from Lorde’s colleagues, students, and friends. Released in 2012, twenty years after Lorde’s death, Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 is an homage to the African American writer’s tremendous contributions as well as a useful complement to two other documentaries: A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde (1995) by Ada Gray Griffin and Michelle Parkerson, and The Edge of Each Other’s Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde (2002) by Jennifer Abod. Schultz’s film has attracted significant attention and received the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Barcelona Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 focuses on an understudied period in the life of the prolific author and activist, the time when she traveled between the U.S. and Germany to lecture and visit friends. It features her relationship to the black diaspora and her mentoring role in the development of the antiracist struggle and the Afro-German movement before and after the German reunification. In true feminist fashion, the documentary links the personal and the political, representing Lorde’s ongoing fight against cancer, her inspiring presence at feminist consciousness-raising meetings, her carefree dancing at multiracial lesbian parties, and her partnership with the poet Gloria I. Joseph.

The film highlights Lorde’s part in building bridges among women of color, feminist, and LGBT social justice movements, in “hyphenating” black Germans. In doing so, it contextualizes the history of major cultural shifts in the late ’80s/early ’90s in Germany. It speaks to audiences both familiar and unfamiliar with Lorde’s work by articulating themes that are at the core of the writer’s production: for instance, the meaning of intimacy and sharing, and the radical role a creative understanding of difference plays in personal and intellectual growth.

Although valuable as a testimonial and politically committed film, Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 unfortunately lacks a strong coherent form, its point of view neither sufficiently clear nor technically grounded. Because the filmmaker does not provide a theoretical or narrative perspective (apart from documenting Lorde’s life), the archival images and interviews overtake the film, which in turn seems dated, as if it had been produced twenty years ago. The viewer is not pulled into the story early enough, and the editing does not compensate imaginatively for the somewhat haphazard manner with which the documentary proceeds.

Should we consider, nevertheless, that the historical and political value of such a film overrides issues of filmic quality and narrative coherence, especially because it was made on a tight budget and is a labor of love? A documentary cannot be considered as merely reproducing cultural (feminist, Afro-German, LGBT) meaning, but also as creating (new) meaning. Unfortunately, Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 does not sufficiently demonstrate an awareness of the different ways of understanding and theorizing women’s lives that are available today. As a recording of social life and a travelogue, it does accomplish the two goals of the documentary genre: it informs and educates. Like feminist films of the 1970s, it celebrates the clamor of women’s voices and the rising up of women of color and gay women. It sheds light on the diversity of women’s lifestyles and choices and the issues in gay politics. But how do these images of Lorde inform our current understanding of feminism and feminist practices? What spaces does Lorde’s legacy occupy today? These questions are not answered by the film. In addition, because it does not suggest an awareness of the discursive and technical changes that have advanced the…

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Piesche Publishes Anthology on Audre Lorde

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2013-08-13 01:25Z by Steven

Piesche Publishes Anthology on Audre Lorde

Hamilton College, Clinton, New York
College News
2012-12-02

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Audre Lorde’s death, Visiting Instructor of German & Russian Studies Peggy Piesche published a new anthology, Eurer Schweigen nützt euch nichts: Audre Lorde und die Schwarze Frauenbewegung in Deutschland (Your Silence Will Not Protect You:  Audre Lorde and the Black Women’s Movement in Germany). The book was launched with a discussion and reading on Nov. 21 in one of the main theaters in Berlin (Volksbühne)…

Read the entire article here.

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Euer Schweigen schützt Euch nicht: Audre Lorde und die Schwarze Frauenbewegung in Deutschland (Your silence will not protect you: Audre Lorde and the Black Women’s Movement in Germany)

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Europe, Media Archive, Women on 2013-08-10 20:41Z by Steven

Euer Schweigen schützt Euch nicht: Audre Lorde und die Schwarze Frauenbewegung in Deutschland (Your silence will not protect you: Audre Lorde and the Black Women’s Movement in Germany)

Orlanda-Verlag
2012
160 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-3936937-95-4
(In German and English)

Edited by:

Peggy Piesche

20er Todestag der Schwarzen, lesbischen Poetin und feministischen Autorin Audre Lorde

“Euer Schweigen schützt Euch nicht” – Ein Aufruf zu Sprache und aktivem Handeln, der dringlicher nicht sein könnte. Wie viele der Appelle, Schriften und Aufrufe Audre Lordes war er prägend für die (internationale) Frauenbewegung und besonders für die Bewegung Schwarzer Frauen. Das rückhaltlose Ausloten von Sexismus, Rassismus, Homophobie und Klasse machen Audre Lorde auch zwanzig Jahre nach ihrem Tod zu einer der einflussreichsten Kämpferinnen für die Rechte Schwarzer Frauen. Der soziale Unterschied war für sie die treibende, kreative Kraft zu handeln und zu verändern. Ihre Essays, Gedichte, Vorträge und Erzählungen sind einschneidend und entschlossen, sie werfen einen schonungslosen Blick auf die Realität und transportieren dabei doch immer auch Hoffnung. Der vorliegende Band ist eine Sammlung von bereits erschienenen und bisher unveröffentlichten Texten Audre Lordes. Ergänzt werden diese durch Texte von Frauen, die gemeinsam mit der Autorin den Weg einer deutschen Schwarzen Frauenbewegung gingen und von Schwarzen Frauen der Nachfolgegenerationen aus Deutschland, die sich mit ihrem Erbe und den aktuellen Kämpfen auseinander setzen.

20th Anniversary of the death of the Black, lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde

“Your silence will not protect you” – A call to action and active language which could not be more urgent. How many of appeals, writings and views Audre Lorde he was formative for the (international) women’s movement, and particularly for the movement of Black women. The unreserved exploration of sexism, racism, homophobia, and class make Audre Lorde, even twenty years after her death, one of the most influential fighters for the rights of black women. The social difference was to act for them, the driving creative force and change it. Her essays, poems, speeches and narratives are incisive and determined, they throw an unsparing look at the reality, transporting always hope. The present volume is a collection of previously published and unpublished texts Audre Lorde. These are complemented by texts by women who went along with the author the way a German black women’s movement and the subsequent generations of black women from Germany who deal with their heritage and the current struggles apart.

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I first met Audre in 1984, when I was 22. She told me her grandfather had been Scottish, and that I didn’t need to choose between being Scottish and being black. “You can be both.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2013-07-02 02:10Z by Steven

I first met Audre in 1984, when I was 22. She told me her grandfather had been Scottish, and that I didn’t need to choose between being Scottish and being black. “You can be both. You can call yourself an Afro Scot,” she said in her New York drawl. Lorde was Whitman-like in her refusal to be confined to single categories. She was large. She contained multitudes…

Jackie Kay, “My hero: Audre Lorde by Jackie Kay,” The Guardian, November 11, 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/nov/18/my-hero-audre-lorde-jackie-kay

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slippery positions

Posted in Articles, Gay & Lesbian, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2013-05-19 03:45Z by Steven

slippery positions

The State
2013-05-17

Tiana Reid
Columbia University

As a self-defined Black, lesbian, mother, warrior poet, Audre Lorde is the model representative for intersectionality. As such, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches has become a ubiquitous text in undergraduate courses, for the theory and practice of intersectionality; a way to look at what women’s studies scholar Leslie McCall calls “the relationships among multiple dimensions and modalities of social relationships and subject formations.” Put crudely, intersectionality is an idea used to explain the links between positions or configurations of oppression. What’s more, as a Caribbean-American (her parents were born in Barbados and Carriacou), we could say Lorde straddled two worlds—or perhaps none at all.

Lorde’s poetry as poetry and not as purely a feminist rubric, however, has been written about far less. In Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde, writer and scholar Alexis De Veaux describes the genesis of the poem “Sahara,” published in Lorde’s 1978 book of poems, The Black Unicorn, in a moment while Lorde was on a plane in 1977 that passed over the Sahara desert after making a stop in Madrid to refuel. The poet, flying from New York City, was on her way to Lagos, Nigeria for FESTAC, the Second World African Festival of Arts and Culture. Lorde’s trip to Nigeria is meaningful not simply because the plane ride—the birds-eye view of the vastness of the Sahara—inspired the homonymous poem. By 1977, Nigeria had emerged as what De Veaux calls the “richest black-ruled nation” in Africa because of oil wealth. Bringing together Black activists, academics, writers, artists and spectators, FESTAC acted as a transnational spectacle establishing new political, literary and racial grounds.

What’s most significant here is that despite the literal and symbolic coming together of a black diasporic vision in the name of arts and culture, Lorde stayed on the fringes and felt separate from some sense of a monolithic group identity, an identity based seemingly solely on race—and not gender or sexuality. Lorde’s participation and view on FESTAC is mostly shrouded in mystery but what we do have is the poem “Sahara.” I read “Sahara” through Lorde’s trip to FESTAC and thus, envision landscapes of diaspora as heterogeneous and transformative. Her hesitation toward FESTAC parallels the poem’s fluctuating hesitation toward the Sahara desert. I say hesitation rather than outright fear despite the all-encompassing terror that can be gleaned from Lorde’s approach to the masculine desert: “grief of sand… male sand / terrifying sand.” The hesitation emerges from the heterogeneous incarnations sand is allowed to take. Rocks, what sand is made of, take millions and millions of years to become sand, meaning the image of a desert can’t be separated from its process, from its formation through finely divided particles, a prolonged breaking down…

Read the entire article here.

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