Black Presences in Leipzig: A Symposium

On November 13, 2014, the Black Leipzig symposium took place with four presentations on Black culture in Leipzig. In her opening address Prof. Anne Koenen argued that in order to understand the broad range of topics related to racism and Black culture it is necessary to scrutinize different constructions of race and blackness. Kathleen Rahn outlined traces of colonialism in Leipzig's history and pointed to the highly problematic commemorative culture of the city. Anna Rapp described how political ideology influenced the construction of race and the publication of African-American literature in Leipzig during the socialist era. Leonard Schmieding illustrated the emergence of hip hop culture in the GDR and highlighted the significance of visual media for processes of apperception and acquisition as well as the cultural blackening of teenagers. Ali Himpenmacher gave an account of racism in everyday life and confronted the audience with examples from his personal experience as well as with their own reactions to the treatment of Black people in Leipzig today. The symposium was an attempt to break ground for debates addressing a broader public audience with different constructions of race and their significance for a discussion of Black culture in Leipzig as well as of racism in general.

For a detailed report on the individual contributions, please cf. the attached PDF report below.


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