Transnational Perspectives on Black Germany


University of Toronto

Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto, Ontario

May 23-25, 2018

Sponsors: Germanic Languages & Literatures, Cinema Studies Institute, Gender & Women’s Studies Institute, Centre for Transnational & Diaspora Studies, Comparative Literature, SSHRC, Centre for the United States, TIFF, DAAD, and Heinrich Böll Stiftung

The Black German Heritage and Research Association (BGHRA) is collaborating with the Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures and the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto in hosting the 3-day SSHRC-funded conference, “Transnational Perspectives on Black Germany” in Toronto, Ontario, on May 23-25, 2018. The event will feature keynote addresses by Fatima El-Tayeb and Noah Sow, a screening of “On Second Glance” (dir. Sheri Hagen, 2012) at TIFF’s Bell Lightbox with filmmaker in attendance, and a dance-music-word tribute to Afro-German poet and activist May Ayim by guest artists Layla Zami and Oxana Chi.

Keynote Speakers

Fatima El-Tayeb

Beyond the Black Paradigm? Afro-diasporic Strategies in the Age of Neo-Nationalism

Fatima El-Tayeb is professor of Literature and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her work deconstructs structural racism in “colorblind” Europe and centers strategies of resistance among racialized communities, especially those that politicize culture through an intersectional, queer practice. She is the author of three books and numerous articles on the interactions of race, gender, sexuality, religion and nation. She is active in black feminist, migrant, and queer of color organizations in Europe and the US.


Noah Sow

Activists // Academia
Visions and challenges for Black German studies 2.0

Noah Sow is Germany’s most prominent speaker and lecturer on the topics of Black German politics, arts and resistance. She is also a writer, artist, media personality, theorist and activist. Her writings have considerably influenced German popular media and academia, and her book »Deutschland Schwarz Weiß« has become a standard in the discussion and education about racial equality in Germany.

In 2001, Noah Sow founded Germany’s first Black media watchdog, »der braune mob«, an organization that now focuses on empowerment. She is publishing music and exhibiting conceptual audiovisual art through her own record label “Jeanne Dark” Records, writing screen plays, radio dramas and running an online academy that teaches best practices for equality work. To many Germans, Noah Sow is also a household name from her television appearances and radio personality shows.

Hear and read Noah Sow’s keynote on Black German and African Diasporic literature:

Visual & Performing Arts


  • Dr. Layla Zami is an innovative academic and artist working with words, music, performance, and video.
  • Oxana Chi is a German choreographer, dancer, filmmaker, curator, author and mentor. She is a 2018-2018 Artist-in-Residence at Abrons Arts Center through their AIRspace Grant for Performing Artists.



Sheri Hagen, born in Lagos, Nigeria and grew up in Hamburg, studied and graduated from the Stage School of Dance and Drama, as well as in the Studio Theater an der Wien. Besides numerous work in film, she has performed in diverse theater productions.


Conference Sponsors