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“Blackness” as a Universal Claim: Holocaust Heritage & European Enlightenment

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm | 03 March 2020
London School of Economics and Political Science | FREE

Speaker: Associate Professor Damani Partridge, University of Michigan

Chair: Professor Esra Özyürek, Chair for Contemporary Turkish Studies, London School of Economics


This paper thinks through the relationships between European Enlightenment, Holocaust memory, and “Black” futures. To what extent do non-citizens have access to democratic participation? How do they make claims on nation-states (and related institutions) and hold them accountable to their needs and desires?

The paper examines, in particular, the ways in which holding states and other institutions accountable to “Black” claimants intervenes in philosophical and everyday discussions of enlightenment and genocide.

It works through the relevance of the Haitian revolution to French democracy and post-World War II African-American military occupation to a democratizing and denazifying Germany.

From Berlin “post-migrant” theatre’s use of “Black Power,” to the contemporary articulations of refugee rights, the paper investigates the extent to which “Blackness’’ is central to enabling real democratic participation beyond national belonging, most recently in a context in which the German state demands accountability for Nazi perpetration and the associated proof that one is not anti-Semitic or a terrorist.

Speaker’s biography:

Damani J. Partridge (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 2003) is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Afro-american and African Studies at the University of Michigan. As a researcher, he has published broadly on questions of citizenship, sexuality, post-Cold War ‘freedom’, Holocaust memorialization, African-American military occupation, ‘Blackness’ and embodiment, the production of non-citizens, the culture and politics of ‘fair trade’, and the Obama moment in Berlin. He has also made and worked on documentaries for private and public broadcasters in the US and Canada, and currently directs the Filming Future Cities Project in Detroit and Berlin (see In 2012, he published Hypersexuality and Headscarves: Race, Sex, and Citizenship in the New Germany and is currently preparing his manuscript, “Articulating ‘Blackness’ as a Universal Claim: Holocaust Heritage, European Enlightenment, and Noncitizen Futures,” for publication.

This event is hosted by: The Contemporary Turkish Studies, European Institute.

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