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"For Me, My Grandmother Was My Mother" : Navigating Maternal, Racial, and Generational Divides in Black German Girlhood Narrations - guest lecture TONIGHT at 5:00 p.m.

Guest lecture by Vanessa Plumly, Ph.D. (SUNY New Paltz)

  • Date: February 22, 2017
  • Time: 5:00 p.m.
  • Location: Class of '51 Reading Room, Thompson (Main) Library

Join us as Dr. Vanessa Plumly (SUNY New Paltz) discusses Black German girlhood and generational gaps.  Black German girlhood narrations emphasize the position and prominence of the white German “Oma” as the central familial source of acceptance and belonging. The generational gap between granddaughter/grandmother facilitates the relational connection that on the one hand produces a kinship bond and a point of identification for Black German girls, but on the other hand obfuscates difference through a colorblind performance on the part of these grandmothers who, while not negating their granddaughter’s blackness, nevertheless, seek to diminish its impact. This paper analyzes the role of the “Oma” in three different generations of Black German women’s  self­narrations and maps not only the intersectionality of categories of identification, but also their breaks and fissures. The connections Black German girls forged to their racially and generationally removed grandmothers were likewise affected by both the affinity of gender and the desire for maternal nurturing. They bridged, while not effacing, existing divides.

Co-sponsored by German Studies, Africana Studies, and Women's Studies.