In this talk, I probe the meaning of Germany for African American performers during the years between the late nineteenth century and the World War I era. I contend that the young German nation-state represented unique forms of artistic and professional freedom for African Americans who travelled abroad. Anchoring my work is a consideration of “unknown” central European terrains as counterintuitive utopic spaces. Movement towards Central Europe by African American travellers and performers was powered by a longing for the infinite possibilities of the unknowable and discontent with the troubling there and then of America. This emphasis on transnational movements and locations necessitates a thorough consideration of the politics of space, sound and racial embodiment.
About the Lecturer:
Dr. Moriah has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at CUNY, Grinnell College and Queen’s University. Their teaching and research focus on Her research interests include Sound Studies and black feminist performance, particularly the circulation of African American performance within the black diaspora and its influence on the formation of national identity. She is a Colored Conventions Project Teaching Partner. She is currently at work on a monograph entitled Dark Stars of the Evening: African Americans in Berlin, 1890-1945. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia, and the Harry Ransom Center.