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International Conference | Imagining the Black Diaspora: On the Circulation and Competition of Literary Picture-Making across the Americas

Jan 09, 2020 - Jan 10, 2020
International Conference | Imagining the Black Diaspora

International Conference | Imagining the Black Diaspora

Organised by Dustin Breitenwischer (Research Area 1: "Competing Communities") and Jasmin Wrobel (Research Area 4: "Literary Currencies")

The international conference "Imagining the Black Diaspora" brings together authors, comic artists, a comic translator, and scholars from the fields of American Studies, African American Studies, Latin American Studies, and Media Studies to discuss the circulation and distribution, the cultural and political economies, the aesthetic diversity and the community-shaping effects of pictures and imagery in Black diasporic literature across the Americas. The conference will focus on a wide array of literary practices – ranging from graphic neo-slave narratives and photographic authorial self-representation to depictions of Black youth in US American children’s literature – to investigate historic and current (dis-)positions of Black authorship, subaltern cultural resistance, racist stereotyping, and literary market competition. Thus seeking to create a dialogue between the spheres of cultural production and academic reflection, "Imagining the Black Diaspora" will be divided into two interrelated parts that will take place at two different venues in Berlin. On Thursday, January 9, the participants will meet at Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (LCB) to discuss the literary works of Birgit Weyhe (Germany), André Diniz and Marcelo D’Salete (both from Brazil) with the authors and translator Lea Hübner. On Friday, January 10, the discussion will be brought to the Freie Universität Berlin where it will unfold as a day-long academic conference with speakers Herman Bennett (CUNY), Dustin Breitenwischer (Freie Universität Berlin/EXC 2020), Ana Merino (Iowa), Nina Mickwitz (London), Robert Reid-Pharr (Harvard), Daniel Stein (Siegen), and Jasmin Wrobel (Freie Universität Berlin/EXC 2020).

The event will be documented by the Chilean comic artist Panchulei (Francisca Cárcamo).

Event will be in English.

Conference Programme

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (LCB)

Am Sandwerder 5, 14109 Berlin


Welcome and Opening Remarks


Birgit Weyhe (Hamburg), "Between Identities: The Graphic Novel Madgermanes – Contract Labor Migration from Mozambique to East Germany" (Moderator: Jutta Müller-Tamm, FU Berlin)


André Diniz (Rio de Janeiro/Lisbon), "Picture a Favela – The Representation of Social Apartheid in Brazilian Comics" (Moderator: Nina Schmidt, FU Berlin)


Short Break


Marcelo D’Salete (São Paulo), "Angola Janga – Black Graphic Narratives in Brazil" (Moderator: Jasmin Wrobel, FU Berlin)


Panel discussion with the authors and translator Lea Hübner (Berlin)
(Moderators: Dustin Breitenwischer & Jasmin Wrobel, FU Berlin)

followed by


Friday, January 10, 2020

Freie Universität Berlin, Lateinamerika-Institut, Room 201

Rüdesheimer Str. 54-56, 14197 Berlin


 Opening Remarks


 Panel 1 (Chair: Susanne Klengel, FU Berlin)

 Ana Merino (Iowa), "Mexican Blackness and the Conflictive Representation of  Memín Pinguín"

 Jasmin Wrobel (FU Berlin), "Literary Picture-Making and (Failed) Processes of Circulation: The Cases of Carolina Maria de Jesus and Paulo Lins’s City of God"


 Lunch Break




 Panel 2 (Chair: Anna Degler, FU Berlin)

 Herman Bennett (CUNY), "Fragments & Fabrication of Early-Modern Angola"


 Short Coffee Break


 Panel 3 (Chair: Irmela Krüger-Fürhoff, FU Berlin)

 Daniel Stein (Siegen), "Diasporic Archives and Popular Culture: The Case of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther"

 Nina Mickwitz (London), "Re-visioning: Transformative Imaginaries in  Contemporary US Comics by Black Women"


 Coffee Break


 Panel 4 (Chair: Martin Lüthe, FU Berlin)

 Dustin Breitenwischer (FU Berlin), "'Poets, prophets and reformers are all picture-makers': Frederick Douglass’s Picture Theory"

 Robert Reid-Pharr (Harvard), "Sullied Innocence: James Baldwin and the Problematic Black Child"

followed by

 Closing Remarks

The event will be in English and it will be documented by comic artist Panchulei.

Time & Location

Jan 09, 2020 - Jan 10, 2020

9 January at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin
Am Sandwerder 5
14109 Berlin;

10 January at the Lateinamerika-Institut
Freie Universität Berlin
Rüdesheimer Straße 54
14197 Berlin
Room 201

Further Information

Should you have questions concerning the event, please contact Dustin Breitenwischer (dustin.breitenwischer@fu-berlin.de) or Jasmin Wrobel (jasmin.wrobel@fu-berlin.de).