Performing Blackness in the Transatlantic World: Germany, Race, Intermediality

An interdisciplinary conference with lectures, roundtables, public screenings, and performances

Performing Blackness in the Transatlantic World: Germany, Race..

All events are free and open to the public, but rsvp is required through conference website at

We are pleased to announce a conference/festival on the topic of race and performance, held on the premises of the Goethe Institut in downtown Washington, DC. The occasion for this event is the production of We are Proud to Present a Presentation about the Herero of Namibia, formerly South West Africa, from the German Südwestafrika, between the years 1885-1915 by up-and-coming playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury. In this play, a racially mixed company of contemporary American actors wrestles with the question of how to represent the German colonial past. Over the course of the play, memories of American slavery begin to bleed through, inviting an exploration of shared racial imaginaries and theatrical traditions across historical periods, geographic distance, and performance genres. During the conference, performances, film screenings, and video installations, as well as academic presentations continue the exploration of the transatlantic traffic in black images and plots, and foster exchange of ideas between artists and academics. We are collaborating with the Woolly Mammoth Theater, a critically acclaimed theater in downtown Washington, DC, as well as Georgetown’s Global Lab for Performance and Politics.

Read bios for all of the speakers here.

Thursday, February 27
8pm We are Proud to Present a Presentation about the Herero of Namibia, formerly
South West Africa, from the German Südwestafrika, between the years 1885-1915,
by Jackie Sibblies Drury
Woolly Mammoth Theater, 641 D Street NW. Post-show discussion to follow.

Friday, February 28

9 am Welcome and Introduction (Dr. Katrin Sieg)

9:30-12 pm HISTORIES (abstracts)
Moderator: Soyica Colbert, Georgetown University
Loren Kruger, University of Chicago: “African Modernities at the World Fairs:
The Transvaal-Ausstellung in Berlin, 1897”

Priscilla Layne, University of North Carolina: ““Don’t Look So Sad Because
You’re a Little Negro”: Marie Nejar, Afro German Stardom and Negotiations
with Black Subjectivity"

Jonathan Wipplinger, North Carolina State University: “Blackness in the
Construction of German Cabaret Culture”
12-1 pm Lunch

1-3 pm Daniel Kojo Schrade lecture-performance Afronauts and Umbrellas on Blueberry Hill

3:30-5:30 pm Roundtable discussion with Soyica Colbert (Georgetown University), Kirsten Bowen,
Peter Howard, and Ursula Dawn (Woolly Mammoth), Isaiah Wooden and
Nehemia Markos (Black Theater Ensemble, Georgetown University)

8:00 pm screening: Dreckfresser/Dirt for Dinner (dir. Branwen Okpako, 73 mins)

Saturday, March 1, 2013

9:30-11 amPERFORMANCES (abstracts)
Moderator: Mary Helen Dupree, Georgetown University
Katrin Sieg, Georgetown University, “Blackfacing in Contemporary German Theater”
Jamele Watkins, University of Massachusetts: "Writing the Diaspora: Olumide
Popoola's Also by Mail"

11-12 pm Lunch

12-2:30 pm SCREENS (abstracts)
Branwen Okpako, "sehe ich was was du niche siehst?"/ "do I see something you don't?"
Angelica Fenner, University of Toronto, “Racial Remediation in Günther Wallraff's
Black on White
Barbara Mennel, University of Florida, Gainesville: "Love and Law in Austria:
Anja Salomonowitz's Die 727 Tage ohne Karamo/The 727 Days without Karamo"

2:30 pmCoffee break

3-4:30 pm Screening: The Education of Auma Obama (80 mins)

4:30-5:30 pmConcluding discussion