This post builds on the research article “We Were Dancing in the Club, Not on the Berlin Wall: Black Bodies, Street Bureaucrats, and Exclusionary Incorporation into the New Europe,” which was published in the November 2008 issue of the Society’s peer-reviewed journal, Cultural Anthropology.
Cultural Anthropology has published numerous essays on race and gender, including, Deborah A. Thomas’s “Democratizing Dance: Institutional Transformation and Hegemonic Re-Ordering in Postcolonial Jamaica” (2002); Helen A. Regis’s “Second Lines, Minstrelsy, and the Contested Landscapes of New Orleans Afro-Creole Festivals” (1999); and Jacqueline Nassy Brown’s “Black Liverpool, Black America, and the Gendering of Diasporic Space” (1998).
Cultural Anthropology has also published a number of essays on Germany. See for example, John Borneman and Stefan Senders’s “Politics without a Head: Is the "Love Parade" a New Form of Political Identification?” (2000); Dominic C. Boyer’s “On the Sedimentation and Accreditation of Social Knowledges of Difference: Mass Media, Journalism, and the Reproduction of East/West Alterities in Unified Germany” (2000); and John Borneman’s “State, Territory, and Identity Formation in the Postwar Berlins, 1945-1989” (1992).
Fehrenbach, Heide. (1998) "Rehabilitating Fatherland: Race and German Remasculinization." Signs 24(1):107–127.
Fehrenbach, Heide. (2005) Race after Hitler: Black Occupation Children in Postwar Germany and America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Herzog, Dagmar. (2005) Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Massaquoi, Hans Jurgen. (1999) Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany. New York: William Morrow.
Piesche, Peggy. (2001) "Black and German? East German Adolescents before 1989: A Retrospective View of a “Non-Existent Issue” in the GDR." In The Cultural After-Life of East Germany: New Transnational Perspectives. Leslie A. Aldelson, ed. Pp. 37–59. Washington, DC: American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.
Senders, Stefan. (1996) "Laws of Belonging, Legal Dimensions of National Inclusion in Germany." New German Critique N67:147–176.
In the November 2008 issue of Cultural Anthropology, Damani Partridge details the “exclusionary incorporation” of black men into Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, as a complex interplay of race, sexuality, and citizenship. “We Were Dancing in the Club, Not on the Berlin Wall: Black Bodies, Street Bureaucrats, and Exclusionary Incorporation into the New Europe” examines the power of white German women to make noncitizens legal residents through their relationships, ultimately in marriage. In this “street level bureaucracy,” state power and formal law operate through personal discretion as white German women are able to make exceptions to the rule of exclusion. In a time where the possibilities for asylum in Germany have become more limited, “who gets to stay and how” becomes predicated on the hypersexual performance of black men.
Inverting Franz Fanon’s “Black Skin, White Masks,” Partridge analyzes how the “realities of patriarchy, Nazi Genocide and German guilt, ‘African American’ military occupation, and the success of ‘African American’ popular culture have led to a situation in which ‘White’ German women openly desire black men.” Looking through popular culture and Berlin club scenes and particular, Partridge follows men from the Caribbean, Africa, and the US, tourists, refugees, students, and soldiers who find possibilities to stay in Germany longer than imagined.