Survey Essay 2. Periodizing and Historicizing German Afro-Americanophilia: From Counterculture to Post-soul (1968-2005)

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Moritz Ege
Andrew Hurley


In our second periodizing essay, we begin with the ‘turning point’ of the late 1960s, when German Afro-Americanophilia modulated and intensified, and we then contemplate the rise of interest in the Black Diaspora amongst the new social movements, second-wave feminists, and Afro-German activists in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as various important moments in the German reception and re-contextualisation of African-American coded popular music such as disco (in the 1970s), and techno and hip-hop since the 1980s. We discuss the impact of migration and activism on heretofore unquestioned equivalences between Germanness and whiteness and contemplate the triangulation of desire within the reception and appropriation of U.S. hip-hop by diverse groups of young people in Germany.  We argue that Afro-Americanophile subject positions diversified and that, especially since the 1980s, some new dynamics have emerged that seem to leave behind ideas of racial ‘authenticity.’  Finally, we query what a timeframe-based overview may not address so well, namely the question of structural continuities in the patterns of twentieth-century Afro-Americanophilia in Germany. 


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Afro-Americanophilia in Germany Special Issue July 2015 (Peer Reviewed)