Priscilla Layne’s “The Kids Aren’t Alright: Afro-German Afrofuturism and The Fight ForFuturity (December 7)


“Queens”, © Simone Dede Ayivi (2017)

01.12.2022 - Article

The Department of German at NYU and Deutsches Haus at NYU present a talk by Professor
Priscilla Layne, who will speak on “The Kids Aren't Alright: Afro-German Afrofuturism and the
Fight for Futurity.”

Drawing on theoretical models culled from Black (German) studies, Afrofuturism, performance
studies and queer theory, in this talk I will analyze examples of Black German artists’
engagement with “future-making” through fantasy and speculative and science fiction. From the
“Afronauts” painting cycle (1999) of visual artist, Daniel Kojo Schrade, and the poetry of Philipp
Khabo Köpsell, to the prose of Sharon Dodua Otoo and the plays and performances of Olivia
Wenzel and Simone Dede Ayivi, Black German artists have increasingly employed Afrofuturist
tropes in order to critique Eurocentrism, uncover German racism and confront German
colonialism. For centuries, Black Germans’ existence has been inherently threatened by both
ideological and repressive state apparatus, in such forms as schooling, artistic representation,
police and institutions. Through Afrofuturism, Black Germans create a future in which Black
German life can not only survive but thrive. As such, many of these texts center children as a
symbol of the future. But rather than using “the Child” as an oppressive prescription for
heteronormativity, Black German Afrofuturism embraces Black Diasporic queer kinship and
asserts that children are valued, not for their innocence from social discourses, but precisely
because they will eventually become racially conscious and politically active Black German
adults necessary for sustaining the community. Thus, Black German futurity is part of the
communal activity of creating a Black German identity.

Location & Time

6:00pm - 7:30pm on Wednesday, December 7, 2022
In-person at Deutsches Haus at NYU, 42 Washington Mews, New York, NY 10003

Please register here.

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