German Studies Lecture Series: Adrienne Merritt
Weathering the Wake: Black German Ecologies, Cultural Production, and Community
Melding the textual and topographical landscapes of the urban space, I seek with this paper to detail the ways in which wake work plays out for Black German communities. Situating my references primarily to Berlin, I outline how the harsh and unsustainable ecologies of unrecognized and unnamed antiblack systemic racism in Germany actually draw Black communities together in activism, solidarity, and love. Layering Sara Ahmed's re-reading of Fanon with the concept of "disorientation" together with Sharpe's wake work, I illustrate how love, trauma, and living in the waves of the wake collect/ "find ground" in Black communities and their activism and weather the tide/ wake.
Adrienne Merrit is an Assistant Professor of German at the University of Colorado. Her research and teaching interests range broadly from beguine mysticism of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries to Afro- and Black German hip hop, poetry, and activism. She received her BA in German studies and History with a minor in Medieval studies from the University of Minnesota, as well as an MA in German/ Germanic Medieval studies, and completed a PhD in German from the University of California Berkeley in 2018. She is currently developing two monograph-length projects, one highlighting the issue of white consumerism of Black German-created works (tentatively entitled The Silence at Home: Racial Textualities and Poetics in Afro- and Black Germany) and the second focusing on Black joy in German Hip hop (tentatively titled On Black Joy: German Hip Hop, Home(coming), and Futures).