Postcolonial Hierarchies
Public Lecture by Dr. Serawit B. Debele

Genealogies of African Studies in Germany: An intersectional critique and ways forward

April 29, 2024
7:00 pm
KG I 1098 University of Freiburg
Of late, there is a lot of discomfort, irritation and unease in African Studies, incidentally just when it opens itself up to the business of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DIE). This affective state seems to mirror the overall ethos within academia in the North Atlantic that the African American intellectual Hortense Spiller describes as being in a state of emergency. In this state of emergency, Spiller remarks, both the incoming cohort of academics -who are called minorities- and already existing gatekeepers are irritated. But, neither the irritation nor the state of emergency that engulfs African Studies is something we experience in the same way despite it being shared. Rather we are in it differently. We enter from different geographic, historical, economic, political and ideological locations; we are irritated and nervous  for different reasons. In the context of this tension, would it make sense to hold on to African Studies and salvage it in the interest of addressing epistemic injustices? My reflections will be based on an ongoing archival research in selected German Universities that have a long tradition of engaging in African Studies.