To foster a transatlantic dialogue the students were asked to work on group projects which would expand on a topic from the course. Having been given free rein on the format, the students created a wide range of results which we are excited to present.
From France to Belgium and from Britain to the Netherlands, Black Lives Matter movements have sprung up across the globe, yet the hashtag developed in the United States in July 2013 in response to the continued (police) violence targeting African Americans. Addressing systematic and everyday racism, the carceral state, economic migration, and the afterlives of slavery and colonialism (and the contested ways these are remembered and commemorated), these movements have sought to incite concrete changes that attend to white supremacy, ethnonationalism, and right-wing populism across the globe. Given the recent protests against police violence in 2020, and the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color in the United States, it is important to trace the historical precedents of these movements and their members’ politics in the United States as well as in Europe. Black diasporic individuals and communities have incessantly pushed for recognition, rights, and liberation. In doing so, they made claims and expanded definitions of American and European identity, citizenship, belonging, and activism. This class will trace how Black lives mattered in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries in Europe, the US and beyond.
In the course of the semester, students from the University of New Mexico and the University of Cologne will create a website that charts the Black Lives Matter movement and discusses a variety of dimensions of Black lives across time and space.
Dr. Tiffany N. Florvil (University of New Mexico)
Dr. Tiffany N. Florvil is an Associate Professor of 20th-century European Women’s and Gender History at the University of New Mexico. She specializes in the histories of post-1945 Europe, the African/Black diaspora, social movements, Black internationalism, as well as gender and sexuality. She has published pieces in the Journal of Civil and Human Rights and The German Quarterly. Florvil has also coedited the volume, Rethinking Black German Studies: Approaches, Interventions and Histories, as well as published chapters in Gendering Post-1945 German History, To Turn this Whole World Over, and Gendering Knowledge in Africa and the African Diaspora. Her recent manuscript, Mobilizing Black Germany: Afro-German Women and the Making of a Transnational Movement, with the University of Illinois Press, offers the first full-length study of the history of the Black German movement of the 1980s to the 2000s. She is a Board Member of the International Federation for Research in Women’s History (IFRWH) as well as on the Advisory Board for the Black German Heritage and Research Association, the Editorial Board for Central European History, and the Executive Board for the Journal of Civil and Human Rights. She is also an editor of the “Imagining Black Europe” book series at Peter Lang Press.
Dr. Silke Hackenesch (University of Cologne)
Dr. Silke Hackenesch is an Associate Professor at the Institute for North American History at the University of Cologne. She specializes in 20th century Childhood and Adoption Studies, African American History, Commodity History, and Black Diaspora Studies. Silke is the author of Chocolate and Blackness: A Cultural History (Campus, 2017). She has published in articles in Historische Anthropologie, Food and History, and Comparativ: Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung. She has written chapters for Rethinking Black German Studies, Kinder des Zweiten Weltkrieges, and Race & Sex: Eine Geschichte der Neuzeit. Currently, she is working on a manuscript titled “Colorblind Love or Racial Responsibility? The Adoption of Black German Children to Postwar America,” which analyzes the contested debates the transnational adoption of Black German children elicited in the (African) American community, from civil rights organizations, to social work professionals and individual adoption advocates. Her forthcoming publications include the edited volume Adopting Children across Race and Nations: Histories and Legacies with Ohio State University Press as well as book chapters on Sojourner Truth, gendered occupation after World War II, and the construction of German Shepherds as police dogs. Silke serves as a board member for the book series “Imagining Black Europe” at Peter Lang Publishing. Her research has been generously supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Thyssen Foundation, the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY), the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture (ASAC), the University of Cologne, and the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. Her work has also been featured in the New York Times, on Deutschlandfunk and in blogs and podcasts.