Germany has long entertained the notion that the transatlantic slave trade and New World slavery involved only other European players. Countering this premise, this collection re-charts various routes of German participation in, profiteering from, and resistance to transatlantic slavery and its cultural, political, and intellectual reverberations. Exploring how German financiers, missionaries, and immigrant writers made profit from, morally responded to, and fictionalized their encounters with New World slavery, the contributors demonstrate that these various German entanglements with New World slavery revise preconceived ideas that erase German involvements from the history of slavery and the Black Atlantic. Moreover, the collection brings together these German perspectives on slavery with an investigation of German colonial endeavors in Africa, thereby seeking to interrogate historical processes (or fantasies) of empire-building, colonialism, and slavery which, according to public memory, seem to have taken place in isolation from each other. The collection demonstrates that they should be regarded as part and parcel of a narrative that ingrained colonialism and slavery in the German cultural memory and identity to a much larger extent than has been illustrated and admitted so far in general discourses in contemporary Germany.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Atlantic Studies.
Table of Contents
1. German entanglements in transatlantic slavery: An introduction Heike Raphael-Hernandez and Pia Wiegmink
2. Sugar and slaves: The Augsburg Welser as conquerors of America and colonial foundational myths Julia Roth
3. The right to freedom: Eighteenth-century slave resistance and early Moravian missions in the Danish West Indies and Dutch Suriname Heike Raphael-Hernandez
4. Antislavery discourses in nineteenth-century German American women’s fiction Pia Wiegmink
5. Strategic tangles: Slavery, colonial policy, and religion in German East Africa, 1885–1918 Jörg Haustein
6. Catholic missionary associations and the saving of African child slaves in nineteenth-century Germany Katharina Stornig
7. Exploring race and gender in Anna Seghers’s "The Reintroduction of Slavery in Guadeloupe" Priscilla Layne
Heike Raphael-Hernandez is Professor of American Studies at the University of Würzburg, Germany. Among her publications are the co-edited collection Migrating the Black Body: The African Diaspora and Visual Culture (2017), Blackening Europe: The African American Presence (2004), and AfroAsian Encounters: Culture, History, Politics (2006). In 2015, she was named Fellow by the American Council of Learned Societies for the collaborative research project "Visualizing Travel, Gendering the African Diaspora."
Pia Wiegmink is Assistant Professor of American Studies at the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. Among her publications are Protest EnACTed (2011) and the co-edited collection Approaching Transnational America in Performance (2016). Together with Birgit Bauridl, she heads an international research network on "Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies" (2015-2018), which is funded by the German Research Foundation.