Examining how Blackness has been historically staged in German theater and how it should be represented today
Staging Blackness provides a multifaceted look at how Blackness has been staged in Germany from the eighteenth century, the birth of German national theater, until the present. In recent years, the German stage has been at the forefront of discussions about race, from cases of blackface to fights for better representation within the professional community. These debates frequently invoke larger discussions about the politics of race in German theater and their origins, and beyond.
Written by scholars and theater professionals with a wide variety of historical and theoretical expertise, the chapters seek to explore the connections between the German discourse on national theater and emerging ideas about race, analyze how dramaturges deal with older representations of Blackness in current productions, and discuss the contributions Black German playwrights and dramaturges have made to this discourse. Historians question how these plays were staged in their time, while cultural studies scholars contemplate how to interpret the function of race in these plays and how they can continue to be staged today.
Priscilla Dionne Layne is Professor of German and Adjunct Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of White Rebels in Black: German Appropriation of Black Popular Culture (2018).
Lily Tonger-Erk is Associate Professor at the German Studies Department of the University of Tübingen, Germany.
“The scholarship represented in this book is timely and cutting edge. The manuscript marks an important step in the history of German theater studies and theater itself.”- Tobias Nagl, University of Western Ontario
—Tobias Nagl, University of Western Ontario
“This volume offers an important and groundbreaking contribution to the study of German theater and racial representations. It follows on significant developments in the globalization of the Black Lives Matter movement but also intense debates on the nature of theatrical representation in Germany. And it follows on important academic work; the volume coheres well because the contributors began their dialogue at the Staging Blackness conference, a major gathering.”- Randall Halle, University of Pittsburgh
—Randall Halle, University of Pittsburgh