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Cluster of Excellence EXC 2052 - "Africa Multiple: reconfiguring African Studies"

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Okwui Enwezor Distinguished Lecture

17.07.2024, 19:30 Uhr
Iwalewahaus Bayreuth

The Fourth Okwui Enwezor Distinguished Lecture 2024

Invisible (Hi)Story. Exploring Black East German History

held by Dr. Katharina Warda


German history is for the most part a white and West German history. The history of the GDR and East Germany after 1990 mostly appears as marginal notes. Black history is highly contested and mostly an intellectual experiment rather than anchored in German history. But what happens when the two marginalized narratives intersect? Black East German history emerges as a void, a blank space. Their individuals are doubly invisible – their stories, experiences and perspectives are virtually non-existent. Yet this doubly neglected part of German history not only contains complex histories between Blackness, socialism and internationalism. As part of East German history of color, these histories and perspectives shed a completely different light on current narratives of the Cold War and the ongoing political shift to the right.

About Katharina Warda

Katharina Warda was born in 1985 in Wernigerode (Saxony-Anhalt), where she also grew up. In 2014, she completed a master's degree in sociology, German literature and intercultural business communication in Jena. In 2008/09 she studied African Studies in Falun (Sweden). Since 2015, she has been a fellow of the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School for Literary Studies and is doing her PhD in Berlin on the resistance of biographical narratives in diary blogs. Against this background, she spent an academic exchange at Princeton University (USA) in 2016/17. She also works as a freelance author with a focus on East Germany, marginalized identities, racism, classism and punk. Since 2021, she has been a member of the advisory board of "Kein Schlussstrich!", a nationwide theater project on the NSU complex. In her project "Dark Germany", she explores the post-reunification period from the social margins and illuminates blind spots in German historiography based on her own experiences as a Black East German woman in the GDR and after 1989/90.

About the lecture series

The Okwui Enwezor Distinguished Lecture annually features prominent artist, curator, or scholars, individuals or collectives, who will engage with groundbreaking contributions to the rethinking of the role of arts and culture in a global perspective and celebrate the legacy of curator, historian, an poet Okwui Enwezor (1963–2019). Lecturers in 2021 and 2022 have been Prof Chika Okeke-Agulu, as well as the curatorial duo Nantume Violet and the late Ijeoma Uche-Okeke, represented by Asele Institute.

The Lecture is organised by the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence, Iwalewahaus and Sophiatown Arts Akademy.

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