Teaching the Black Diaspora in German Studies

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Languages Association (NeMLA) annual convention
contact email: 

Northeast Modern Languages Association (NeMLA) annual convention

Niagara Falls, NY

March 23 - 26, 2023

Submission Deadline: September 30, 2022 through the NeMLA portal: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/19960


Germany today is home to a growing and vibrant Black diaspora. While nearly a million Black people live in Germany today and Black diasporic cultural production and political activism are becoming increasingly visible and taking on new urgency, the visibility of the Black diaspora in German studies is marginal at best. German studies, when presented and practiced as unmarked whiteness in the canon, curricula, and programs, reproduces existing power structures of white supremacy and, importantly, excludes the voices and experiences of BIPOC students. This lack of representation and identification leads to underrepresentation of Students of Color in German studies. 

Drawing on the rich work of scholars and activists to decolonize and diversify German studies, this panel seeks to further develop ways to facilitate an increased interest in the Black diaspora in German studies among students. A further goal is to investigate and critically reflect on how we as teachers, scholars, and activists in German studies and beyond can dismantle white, colonial, and ethnonationalist power structures, and diversify and decolonize German studies in our syllabi, teaching praxis, curricular programming, as well as at the level of academic institutional structures.

We invite scholars, teachers, and activists across disciplines to share, examine, and critique ways in which we approach, teach, and engage with the Black diaspora in classrooms and spaces that serve to diversify and decolonize German studies. Topics could include (but are not limited to): 

  • What institutional barriers and prejudices do scholars, activists, and teachers in German studies and beyond face in teaching the Black diaspora? Are BIPOC scholars, activists, and teachers disproportionately affected by these barriers?
  • How do we challenge students’ and scholars’ perception and practice of German studies as unmarked whiteness?
  • How can teaching the Black diaspora promote interest in in German studies, especially among BIPOC students, and how do the voices and experiences of our students shape our curriculum design, pedagogy, and praxis so they are relevant to those students?
  • How can the curriculum encourage our students to draw generative connections to and engage in critical inquiry and activism domestically and transnationally?
  • What challenges are unique to the English- and German-language classrooms?
  • How do we support faculty, especially contingent faculty, in their research and teaching of the Black diaspora in German studies, especially when it challenges existing white supremacist power structures?
  • How will Black diaspora studies become central to writing, language, and literary studies?
  • The (literary, historical, media) representation of the experience of the Black diaspora in Germany from 1990 to present. 


Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words by September 30, 2022 through the NeMLA portal: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/19960 .

For questions, please contact the panel organizers, Chiedozie Michael Uhuegbu (chuhuegb@sewanee.edu) and Maria S. Grewe (mgrewe@jjay.cuny.edu).

Contact Info: 

Chiedozie Michael Uhuegbu (chuhuegb@sewanee.edu) and Maria S. Grewe (mgrewe@jjay.cuny.edu).