Conference: Representations of Race and Ethnicity in German Modernity

Cornell Department of German Studies Graduate Student Conference

This conference brings together scholars from numerous disciplines with an interest in critical studies of the concept of race as it has contributed to understandings of the modern subject in the German canon and beyond, tracing its appearance in the works of natural scientists, philosophers, anthropologists, and writers alike. The overarching aim is to reflect on modernity and its particular entanglement with race as a historical, social, and political concept of intersectional significance, as well as to discuss its legacy since the Enlightenment.

This event draws on the expertise of a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, history, political theory, anthropology, art history, and literary studies, getting underway with a keynote address by Professor Robert Bernasconi (Penn State), whose work on the critical philosophy of race has greatly contributed to the current state of scholarly discourse. 

With generous support from: The Society for the Humanities, the Department of German Studies, the Institue for German Cultural Studies, the Jewish Studies Program, the Department of History, the Department of Government, the Romance Studies Department, the Department of the History of Art and Visual Studies, The Institute for Comparative Modernities, and The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly.

Friday, March 6th

 2:30-2:45pm Opening Remarks

 2:45-3:45pm Colonial Cultures, Part I

Isabel Choinowski (Cornell University) - Leni Riefenstahl’s “Die Nuba” (1973): A “Völkerschau”?

Onyx Henry (University of Michigan) - Continuities of Colonial Fantasy: Blackness in Marianne Sin-Pfältzer’s ​Fred und Peter​

4:00-5:00pm Translation and Cultural Difference

Juan-Jacques Aupiais (Cornell University) - “Post-German” German Literature?: Imbricated Histories of Language and Race in Tawada’s Bioskoop der Nacht.

Tobias Lehmann (University of Oregon) - Cosmopolitan Insights When Translating: The Experience of the Foreign

5:15-6:15pm Keynote Address

Robert Bernasconi (Pennsylvania State University) - The Emergence of Racialized Justifications of Slavery in Germany at the End of the Eighteenth Century

Saturday, March 7th

9:30-10:30am Theoretical Conceptions of the Human and Their Use Beyond Europe

Jan Hohenstein (Binghamton University) - The Unenlightened Mind: On Race in the Works of Christoph Meiners

Zeyad el Nabolsy (Cornell University) - With What Must the Study of the Reception of Hegel in the Arab World Begin? A  Methodological Critique of Lorella Ventura's Hegel in the Arab World: Modernity, Colonialism, and Freedom

10:45am-12:15pm Tropes of Otherness and the Challenges of a “Transnational Community”  

Klara Spechtenhauser (University of Colorado Boulder) - Utilizing Diaspora: Community Building and Disruptions of the White Urban Space in Afro-German Poetry 

Paige Newhouse (University of Michigan) - Decline of Asylum Rights in West Germany in the Late 1970s

Nicholas Miehe (University of Colorado Boulder) - Representing Islam in German Media: The Murder of Jamal Khashoggi 

1:30pm-2:30pm Colonial Cultures, Part II

Mimi Cheng  (University of Rochester) - A Chinese in the Dark: Vision and Illumination in German Qingdao

Sarah Then Bergh (Cornell University) - Between the Visual and the Aural: Music and Processes of Racialization in a Bundeswehr Recruitment Ad

2:45-3:45pm Concluding Roundtable Discussions

3:45-4:00 Closing Remarks

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Conference: Representations of Race and Ethnicity in German Modernity on Friday, March 6th and Saturday, March 7th