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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Race, Migration, and Critical Whiteness Studies in the German and European Context


This project gathers work by scholars, literary authors, graphic novelists, and film directors to support research by faculty members in the German program, as well as related fields including European Studies, International Relations, Folklore, Languages and Cultures of Asia, and African-American Studies.

The collection will focus on race, migration, and critical whiteness studies. It will enable studies of race in the German context that challenge conceptions of German as a ‘white’ language spoken only by those of (white) German ‘heritage’. It will also shed light on the particularities and similarities between the construction and experience of race in America and in Europe. Migration studies in the German context has grown in the past decades to a field that focuses on marginalized communities, experiences of flight and asylum seeking, and a variety of genres including personal accounts and ethnographies. The collection will include topics such as African American-German exchange; German immigration and Native American indigenous studies; language and race; and the invention and deployment of categories such as migrant, refugee, and asylum seeker.

Most of the proposed collection items are quite new (published since 2000). This reflects the relatively late rise of interest in the fields of race, migration, Critical Race Theory, and critical whiteness studies in Germany and in Europe, as opposed to the United States. The proposed collection includes authors of both dominant/majority and targeted/minority identities across all its categories. The collection also recognizes that identities are intersectional; that religion, race, ethnicity, migration status, and language interact with each other as well as with categories such as gender, sexuality, and social class in ways that many of the included authors directly address. Inclusion of a given work in this proposed collection does not mean that its positions are entirely ‘correct’ or above criticism; rather, one of the research areas opened by this collection is the potential to use these works to illuminate one another in both their contributions and their areas of ignorance or inattention.


Hannah Eldridge, Associate Professor of German, German, Nordic and Slavic


Kevin Kurdylo, Librarian for German Language Humanities, Philosophy, and Jewish Studies


Weijia Li, Assistant Professor of German, German, Nordic and Slavic; Director of Global Higher Education Program, Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis

Venkat Mani, Professor of German, German, Nordic and Slavic; Director. Center for South Asia