UMASS Recognizes Growing Interdisciplinary Study of Black Germans in Academia

Doctoral student Kevina King (far left) on a panel this weekend with Jemele Watkins (far right) at the third Black German Heritage & Research Association International Conference held at Amherst College.

Doctoral student Kevina King (far left) on a panel this weekend with Jemele Watkins (far right) at the third Black German Heritage & Research Association International Conference held at Amherst College.

AMHERST, Mass.—In an effort to recognize a relatively young academic discipline that many in the academy have never heard of before, nearly a hundred students and scholars gathered at Amherst College over the weekend to discuss their research and ideas for how to grow Black German Studies.

This marks the third year that the Black German Heritage & Research Association sponsored the international conference, which highlighted a variety of interdisciplinary topics ranging from Black Germans during the Third Reich to their ongoing presence in German theater.

Like African American, Women and Queer studies, Black German Studies has an admitted social justice focus, says Dr. Sara Lennox, a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an early founder of the Black German Studies movement in the U.S. “We’ve made the field legitimate. You can now do this work and get tenure,” says Lennox, who was chiefly responsible for jumpstarting the Black German Studies concentration at UMASS Amherst. “It’s kind of a burgeoning field and movement. The other thing that’s really cool is there is a pretty strong connection between activism and scholarship and a really strong connection with the experimental … Black Germans talking about their stories.”

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“Evolutionary: Duality” by Kojo Baffoe

Kojo Baffoe

The poetry of Kojo Baffoe – Editor of Destiny Man mag, writer, entrepreneur, father, dreamer based in South Africa

Born in Munich, Germany to a Ghanaian father and German mother, Kojo spent his formative years on the streets of Maseru, Lesotho, eventually completing his International Baccalaureate at Machabeng High School in 1990. After high school, he spent a year in Germany as a Rotary Exchange Student, taking the opportunity to get in touch with his Germanic roots. For more information on Kojo Baffoe CLICK HERE. To hear his poem, click on the link below.

Duality