Not So Plain as Black and White

Not So Plain as Black and White

Afro-German Culture and History, 1890-2000

Edited by Patricia Mazon, Reinhild Steingrover

An exploration of the subject of Afro-Germans, which, in recent years has captured the interest of scholars across the humanities for providing insight into contemporary Germany's transformation into a multicultural society.
Since the Middle Ages, Africans have lived in Germany as slaves and scholars, guest workers and refugees. After Germany became a unified nation in 1871, it acquired several African colonies but lost them after World War I. Children born of German mothers and African fathers during the French occupation of Germany were persecuted by the Nazis. After World War II, many children were born to African American GIs stationed in Germany and German mothers. Today there are 500,000 Afro-Germans in Germany out of a population of 80 million. Nevertheless, German society still sees them as "foreigners," assuming they are either African or African American but never German.

In recent years, the subject of Afro-Germans has captured the interest of scholars across the humanities for several reasons. Looking at Afro-Germans allows us to see another dimension of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century ideas of race that led to the Holocaust. Furthermore, the experience of Afro-Germans provides insight into contemporary Germany's transformation, willing or not, into a multicultural society. The volume breaks new ground not only by addressing the topic of Afro-Germans but also by combining scholars from many disciplines.

Patricia Mazon is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Reinhild Steingrover is Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester.

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Table of Contents

Dangerous Liaisons: Race, Nation, and German Identity - Fatima El-Tayeb Ph.D.
The First Besatzungskinder: Afro-German Children, Colonial Childrearing Practices, and Racial Policy in German Southwest Africa, 1890-1914 - Krista Molly O'Donnell-Associate Professor
Converging Specters of an Other Within: Race and Gender in Pre- 1945 Afro-German History - Tina M. Campt-Assoc. Professor
Louis Brody and the Black Presence in German Film Before 1945 - Tobias Nagl
Narrating "Race" in 1950s' West Germany: The Phenomenon of the Toxi Films - Heide Fehrenbach - Assoc. Professor
Will Everything Be Fine? Anti-Racist Practice in Recent German Cinema -
Writing Diasporic Identity: Afro-German Literature since 1985 - Leroy T. Hopkins Jr.
The Souls of Black Volk: Contradiction? Oxymoron? - Anne V. Adams


[T]his anthology advances our understanding of exclusionary practices and the history of institutionalized biological racism in modern Germany. It also pays tribute to the growing corpus of complex and challenging texts and films produced by Afro-Germans and to the degree to which the community has become networked and vocal in significant ways. --RESEARCH IN AFRICAN LITERATURES, Winter 2008 [Nina Berman]

Not So Plain as Black and White will contribute in significant ways to the emerging field of Afro-German Studies and will be important as well for German Studies, Africana Studies, and Cultural Studies in general. --Sara Friedrichsmeyer, professor of German, University of Cincinnati

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