Ziegler Lecture Series: “On German Afrofuturism”

“On German Afrofuturism: Living with Postcolonial Specters in Michael Götting’s Contrapunctus

Dr. Priscilla Layne
Associate Professor of German and African-American Studies, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Dr. Layne will present her current research on her second book project, which is a study of Afro-German Afrofuturism. In the talk, she discusses Michael Götting’s novella Contrapunctus (2015), which follows four Afro-Germans living in Berlin. Götting’s characters all experience otherworldly experiences that they cannot understand. In particular, one character, Indigo is a young woman who suffers from an inexplicable condition that causes her to slip into alternative worlds, the effects of which have consequences in the material world. The alternative worlds are incredibly traumatic spaces inherently tied to Germany’s colonial history. In Contrapunctus, the colonial past often feels like a specter that is always present but impossible to grasp as well as impossible to engage with. Layne argues that Götting uses Afrofuturism in his novel to turn this colonial past into something more concrete in order to help his characters work through this trauma.

Co-sponsored by the Institute for European Studies and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice.

Organized by Dr. Ervin Malakaj