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Germany and the Black Diaspora: Points of Contact, 1250-1914

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Volume 15

Studies in German History

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Germany and the Black Diaspora

Points of Contact, 1250-1914

Edited by Mischa Honeck, Martin Klimke, and Anne Kuhlmann

270 pages, 25 illus., 2 maps, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-953-4 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (July 2013)

ISBN  978-1-78533-333-0 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (July 2016)

eISBN 978-0-85745-954-1 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“In this exciting volume, Honeck, Klimke, and Kuhlmann put forward a unique resource for the burgeoning study of the African diaspora in Germany.  Comprising essaysf rom scholars working in a variety of fields, the collection fills significant gaps in the current scholarship...  In detailing a phenomenon long ignored within mainstream German culture and history, this collection will be of use to a variety of readers, including those working in African and African American studies, art history, German studies, and history…Highly recommended.” • Choice

“The volume serves as a welcome corrective to a historiography of black Germany that has focused on the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries… [It] offers a combination of precise historical detail and conceptual and temporal range, and the editors have made a strong case that ‘accounts of German nation making that conceal or ignore black agency are no longer acceptable’.” • European History Quarterly

“Because the majority of essays in this collection concentrate on ‘Germany’ before it existed as a unified nation-state, the book gives us more nuanced and highly contextualized portraits of black-white  encounters on German-speaking lands.” • Canadian Journal of History

“…the detailed research and accessible style of the volume make it exceptionally helpful in undergraduate and graduate seminars.” • German Studies Review

“The essays collected here offer compelling evidence for what Hoerder calls the need to ‘[reintroduce] Africans into European  history after their symbolic annihilation by white nationalist historians’. For the most part, this splendidly edited volume admirably succeeds in helping forgotten and neglected human beings in ‘making themselves known’.” • Colonial Studies

“This is a wide-ranging and fascinating if somewhat exploratory collection of articles. Half of the twelve chapters deal with the interactions of Africans and Germans across the last millennium; the personal interactions between Americans and Germans that are analyzed involve African-Americans who traveled to Germany or its African colonies.” • Yearbook of German American Studies

“Meticulously researched in previously ignored archives and obscure publications, the essays included in this volume range from black figures in medieval art and baroque drama to German translations of 18th- and 19th-century African and African American writers… to the fascinating account of the venture to start cotton plantations in Togo, undertaken by the German Colonial Committee with the help of Booker T. Washington. [They] reveal the many interactions of Africans and African Americans with the German-speaking world, thus offering fresh and suggestive interracial perspectives on German cultural history in broader contexts.” • Werner Sollors, Harvard University

“The organization of the book is exemplary. The introduction presents a very important theoretical construct for this and future investigations of the phenomenon of race in the German-speaking world…the chapters assembled in this anthology are excellent…I have no doubt this volume will quickly become a vital part of the growing body of research on Afro-German interactions.” • Leroy Hopkins, Millersville University

“This is an important collection that takes a large step forward in advancing knowledge about people of the African diaspora in Germany.” • Sara Lennox, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The rich history of encounters prior to World War I between people from German-speaking parts of Europe and people of African descent has gone largely unnoticed in the historical literature—not least because Germany became a nation and engaged in colonization much later than other European nations. This volume presents intersections of Black and German history over eight centuries while mapping continuities and ruptures in Germans' perceptions of Blacks. Juxtaposing these intersections demonstrates that negative German perceptions of Blackness proceeded from nineteenth-century racial theories, and that earlier constructions of “race” were far more differentiated. The contributors present a wide range of Black–German encounters, from representations of Black saints in religious medieval art to Black Hessians fighting in the American Revolutionary War, from Cameroonian children being educated in Germany to African American agriculturalists in Germany's protectorate, Togoland. Each chapter probes individual and collective responses to these intercultural points of contact.

Mischa Honeck is a research fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. His first book, We Are the Revolutionists: German-Speaking Immigrants and American Abolitionists after 1848 (University of Georgia Press, 2011), was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011.

Martin Klimke is Associate Dean of Humanities and Associate Professor of History at New York University Abu Dhabi. He is the author of The Other Alliance: Global Protest and Student Unrest in West Germany and the US, 1962-1972 (Princeton University Press, 2010) and coauthor of A Breath of Freedom: The Civil Rights Struggle, African-American GIs, and Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). He is a co-editor of the Protest, Culture and Society series (Berghahn Books) and of several collected volumes on various aspects of transatlantic and transnational history.

Anne Kuhlmann is a research fellow in Russian history at the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States in Berlin. In 2010, she received the Sponsorship Award of the Society for Historical Migration Research for her PhD dissertation on black people in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Germany.

Subject: History: Medieval/Early ModernHistory: 18th/19th CenturyColonial History
Area: Germany


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