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Rethinking Postcolonial Europe: Moving Identities, Changing Subjectivities

8th postgraduate forum Postcolonial Narrations, Digital Conference, February 10-12, 2021


Day 1: Wednesday, 10.02.2021

9.30 WebEx Room opens for last minute sound and presentation checks
10.00 Welcome and Introductions

10.30 – 11.30 Keynote 

Journeys Through Europe: The Anglophone Travel Literature and Postcoloniality

Dr. Nadia Butt, Giessen University

Chair: Johanna Munzel, Giessen University

Coffee Break

11.45 - 13.00 Panel 1: Journeys and Travelers 

Chair: Nadia Butt, Giessen University 

Just as in the Stories I Read: A (Literary) Construction of an Imagined (Europe) Place in two Latin American Short-Stories

Iyari Martínez Márquez, Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Identities Lost, Identities Found? Reading Jamal Mahjoub’s Road Novel Travelling with Djinns through a Transcultural Lens

Michelle Stork, University of Frankfurt 

Towards ‘Afropean’ perspectives: Evolving and conversing Afro-European narratives from The European Tribe (1987) to Afropean (2019) 

Raphaëlle Efoui-Delplanque, Freie Universität Berlin

11.45 - 13.00 Panel 2: Postmigrants in Germany 

Chair: Meryem Choukri, Giessen University  

Becoming Black - Black Identity, Activism and Politics: Politicization and Identity Formation of Black People in Germany

Josephine Akinyosoye, University of Hamburg

Role of Media Narratives in Formation of Anglophone Mental Images of Migrants from the Commonwealth to Germany: A Postmigrant Analysis of Academic Indians and Africans

Mahtab Dadkhah, University of Erfurt 

Diasporic Soundcultures: The “third chair” as a metaphor to reconfigure postcolonial Europe?

Johann Erdmann, Giessen University 

13.00-14.00 Lunch Break

14.00 – 15.15 Panel 3: Memory 

Chair: Theresa Krampe, Giessen University

On Boomerang Effects and Transnational Entanglements in Spanish 20th century history and memory

Rafael Perez Baquero, University of Murcia

Decolonising the European city: deconstructing Lisbon's imperial urban geography

Daniel Gamito-Marques, Nova University of Lisbon 

European Colonial Legacy and Historical Memory in Contemporary Tanzania

Nadezhda E. Khokholkova, Russian Academy of Sciences

14.00 – 15.15 Panel 4 – Performing Selves 

Chair: Johanna Munzel, Giessen University

Subjectivity, resistance and Dis_placement in a self-organized theatre collective

Nuriani Hamdan, University of Berlin 

LOOKING AT LOOKING: Exploring the topography of perception in Western European theatre as an active refusal to see

Martina Gimplinger, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

Corpus Mundi: a performative research on the female Afro-diasporic body

Bárbara Luci Carvalho, Actor, Dancer and Theatre Pedagogue, Giessen University

Coffee Break

15.30 Black Poetry Matters: Eine dekoloniale Poetry Performance

Stefanie-Lahya Aukongo

Day 2: Thursday, 11.02.2021

10.00 – 11.15 Panel 5: Metacritical Approaches  

Chair: Theresa Krampe, Giessen University

Cancelled: Gerson da Cunha - Historiographies of Empire or Shared history from the margins?

Tobias Mörike, Erfurt University

Decolonizing European Solidarity

Rouven Symank, European University Institute, Florence 

On the Contaminated Geographies of Europe/Germany

Katharina Schmidt; Katrin Singer; Emma Monama; Martina Neuburger, University of Hamburg

10.00 – 11.15 Panel 6: Beyond Eurocentrism 

Chair: Anne Stellberger, University of Bayreuth

Decoloniality and the Museum’s Episteme

Achia Anzi, OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat 

Renegotiating the Values of Time and Temporality in Literary Contexts Beyond a European Perspective

Nele Grosch, Giessen University

Rethinking Community and Subaltern Agency – Critical Perspectives on Europe and Migration in Equatoguinean Literature

Julia Borst, University of Bremen

Coffee break

11.30 – 12.45 Academic Talk “Decolonising Migration Studies”


Iris Rajanayagam, xart splitta; Çiçek Tanlı, Research Network in Queer Studies, Decolonial Feminisms, and Cultural Transformations/ Department of Sociology, Giessen University


Chair: Nadiye Ünsal, Giessen University/ Humboldt University Berlin

12.45- 14.00 Lunch Break

14.00 – 15.30 Poster Session

“I don’t want to go back”. Experiences of young Ghanaian dancers during their stays in Germany as part of international youth encounter projects between 2013 and 2019

Felix Büchner, Georg-Eckert-Institute for International Schoolbook Research Braunschweig

‘Tell it as it is? Narratives of whiteness in government documents on primary schooling in Germany’.

Sarah Gerwens, European Institute, LSE


Make a way out of no way: Black Women’s Itinerant Practices in Early America and beyond

Johanna Heide, University of Potsdam

Between expectations and conditions of practice: a critical race analysis of project contributors in queer education

Dome Ravina Olivo, Humboldt University Berlin

The Risk of Becoming Free: Moving Through Time and Space as a Slave in the 19th Century

Anne Stellberger, University of Bayreuth

Plasticity of Borders in Salman Rushdie's Dream Narration

Sanja Vaudano, University of Bern

15.30 – 16.45 Panel 7: Contested Spaces

Chair: Nadiye Ünsal, Giessen University


The Articulation of the “Problem of Immigration” and Its Current Implications on Immigration Policymaking in France

Marina Choy, Michigan Technological University


Postmigrant Media and the Idea of Multiculturalism in the French 1980s

Christian Jacobs, University of Berlin 

Building BRIDGES – Eurocentrism, Neoliberal Compliance, and Migra*BPoC resistance in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in Europe

María Cárdenas; Sebastian Garbe; Douglas Neander Sambati, Giessen University (project supported by Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez and Marina Faherty, Giessen University)

15.30 – 16.45 Panel 8: Mobile Identities in Visual Arts

Chair: Johanna Munzel, Giessen University

The Emergence of Non-White Female Actors in Contemporary French Cinema. An Intersectional Investigation

Ewelina Pepiak, Giessen University

Roma Necropolitics: Repressed Topographies of Anti-Romani Racism,Necroaesthetics and Affirmative Resistance in Documentary Film Aron Korozs, Freie Universität Berlin

Narratives of European identities beyond the EU: Unveiling the Paris of South-America

Paula Cordoba, Universidad de Buenos Aires

Coffee Break
17.00-18.30 Networking (Breakout-Rooms)

Day 3: Friday, 12.02.2021

10.00 – 11.00 Keynote

Leave this Europe. From crisis to abolition.

Dr. Vanessa Eileen Thompson, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder)

Chair: Jeannette Oholi, Giessen University; Nadiye Ünsal, Giessen University

Coffee Break

11.15 - 12.30 Panel 9: Travelling Theory, Queer Narratives 

Chair: Daniel Heinz, Giessen University

Traveling theory? Europe constructing female citizens in Jordan

Barbara Schenkel, University of London 

Feminist Utopias: Bridging Feminisms in the countries of the former USSR and in Germany”

Soph Benja Petzelberger, Humboldt University Berlin;
Vica Kravtsova; Alexandra Frank, Bridging Feminisms

‘I ain’t no homosexual, I am a . . . Barrysexual!’: Queering the Bildungsroman in Bernadine Evaristo’s Mr Loverman (2013)

Miriam Hinz, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf

11.15 - 12.30 Panel 10: Contesting Borders 

Chair: Nadiye Ünsal, Giessen University

What Power have the Powerless? Immigrants’ Resistance at the European Union’s Borders

Lea Augenstein, University of Tuebingen

Challenging the boundaries of exclusive Europeanisation: How young refugees unsettle normative spaces of urban citizenship and belonging

Elisabeth Kirndörfer, Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography

Hostipitality and neo-colonial logics at the Mediterranean border: Giulio Cavalli's Carnaio

Silvia Ruzzi, University of Berlin 

12.30-13.30 Lunch Break

13.30 - 14.45 Panel 11: Redefining Europe in the 21st Century 

Chair: Nele Grosch, Giessen University

Italy’s Invisible Race: on #BLM, structural racism and Italian “evasiveness”

Giulia Fabbri, University of Rome 

Postcolonialism and COVID-19 in Europe. A Marxist perspective

Eleonora Roldán Mendívil, University of Kassel; Chandrika Yogarajah, Humboldt University Berlin

Colonial Reparations in European Context

Cresa Pugh, Harvard University

13.30 - 14.45 Panel 12: Migration and the Boundaries of Human Rights

Chair: Eva Zimmermann, Giessen University

How European acclaimed cultural practices are used as a justification of human rights violations - The example of the handshake

Miriam Yosef, Giessen University; Ezinwanne Raymond, Nottingham Trent University

Calling for Pragmatic Cosmopolitanism: Human Rights Narratives in Olga Grjasnowa`s Gott ist nicht schüchtern and Wolfgang Fischer`s Styx

Isabell Sluka, University of Connecticut

Rewriting the European Forced Migrant Narrative: Helon Habila’s Travellers and Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel’s The Gurugu Pledge

Paula Brauer, University of Muenster  
Coffee Break
15.00-16.00 Closing Remarks and Postcolonial Narrations General Assembly

Organizing Committee: Theresa Krampe, Jeannette Oholi, Nadiye Ünsal, Johanna Munzel, Nadia Butt


Twitter: @PNarrations #RethinkingEurope


**REGISTRATION CLOSED**We offer registration for a limited number of guests (students, PhD researchers, or early Postdocs) on a first come, first serve basis. If you would like to register for the conference, please send us an email at stating your name and, if applicable, institutional affiliation and/or interest in the conference. Please understand that, in order to prevent 'zoombombings,' we will only pass on access links to registered persons.



Dr. Vanessa Eileen Thompson

 © Vanessa Eileen Thompson

Leave this Europe. From crisis to abolition



The current corona crisis has laid bare (again) the differential logics at the heart of the European project. Whether it be the necropolitical responses to the flight and movements of those rendered migrants, refugees and asylum seekers; the further expansion of neoliberal securitization and policing alongside intersectional vectors of vulnerabilities; or the state-sanctioned abandonment of vulnerable groups through underfunding and austerity – Europe’s normative paradigms and concepts such as safety, citizenship, equality and solidarity require fundamental scrutiny. In this talk, I turn to transnational formulations of the black radical tradition and interrogate these concepts from the undersides of the longue durée of racial gendered capitalism. This talk builds on current research on policing blackness and horizons of abolition. I engage with how these horizons manifest in various struggles for breath and black lives, in the urban centers and the peripheries, the public, semi-public and domestic space, on the shores, the land and the sea. Finally, I discuss abolition as a precondition for postcolonial democracy.

Dr. Nadia Butt

© Nadia Butt

Journeys Through Europe: The Anglophone Travel Literature and Postcoloniality



The two most fundamental political and cultural phenomena of decolonisation and globalisation in the twentieth century seem to have dramatically changed the social fabric of European societies. Increasing travel, mobility and migration in the age of technological modernity is, indeed, a contributing factor. Keeping in view this changing cultural scenario, this talk sets out to critically examine journeys through Europe, undertaken by reflective travellers as represented in the Anglophone travel literature, which is being increasingly examined from the postcolonial perspective, covering broader issues of crossing borders, transcultural and transnational connections, cosmopolitanism, plural histories, diasporic communities, the refugee crisis, travelling cultures, to name but a few. As the Anglophone travel literature is one of travel writing’s most burgeoning offshoots in the late twentieth century, it is important to examine the way this particular genre showcases new developments that differ them from their Victorian counterparts. Previously acted as vehicles of European imperialism and the construction of Europe’s ‘Other’, contemporary Anglophone travel accounts serve as potent instruments of cultural critique in present-day Europe. In order to illustrate my point, I draw mainly upon the works of Carly Phillips, Jamal Mahjoub and Mohsin Hamid in which the practice, idea and theme of travelling through Europe sheds light on the issues of history, identity, and belonging – issues which also seem to stem from a personal conflict in the authors. In short, as the authors or their protagonists, caught between multiple cultural associations, travel between cultures and continents, memories and histories, people and places, literally and metaphorically, they strive to reconcile with their role in Europe as both insiders and outsiders, providing more innovative ways of understanding plural histories and identities in the age of global modernity.  Indeed, the phenomena of ‘overlapping territories, intertwined histories’ are a prominent feature of these writings by writers who strive to imagine Europe as a hub of cross-cultural encounters rather than solely a space of rising nationalism or Western supremacy. The contention of my talk is that the selected Anglophone travel literature is deeply engaged with postcolonial Europe in the wake of migration and mobility of people from former European colonies especially Africa, Asia and the Arab world. My primary goal is to demonstrate that as the writers and their protagonist undergo spatial and temporal journeys in their writings, they tend to present postcolonial Europe as an ambivalent concept, complicating the images of ‘us and them’, ‘Orientalism and Occidentalism’, and ‘tradition and modernity’. Thus, they act  as counter travellers who are determined to present alternative ways of understanding Europe.

Stefanie-Lahya Aukongo

 © Stefanie-Lahya Aukongo

Black Poetry Matters: Eine dekoloniale Poetry Performance

Lesung und Werkstattgespräch

10.02.2020, 15.30

Lahya ist eine Schwarze intersektional verwobene Künstlerin, Autorin, Poetin, Kuratorin, Multiplikatorin, Sängerin, Workshop-Teamerin, Fotografin und eine Aktivierende, deren gesellschaftliche Realitäten sich in all der Kunst und Arbeit widerspiegeln. In Lahyas Leben dreht sich fast alles um liebevoll sowie gesellschaftskritisch angereihte Realitätsmoleküle, die ummantelt sind mit Gesang, Malerei, Collagen, Performancekunst, Fotografie und_oder Poesie. Es geht um Heilung und um transformative Praktiken. Seit 2014 kuratiert und moderiert Lahya die monatliche Spoken-Word-Veranstaltungsreihe „One World Poetry Night“ in Berlin.

Lahyas poetische Texte und Kunst sind in verschiedenen Publikationen, Büchern und Zines zu finden. All das, was Lahya macht, ist politisch, kollektiv und persönlich. Die Inhalte berühren Privilegien, Dekolonisierung, Heilung, individuelle sowie kollektive Liebe und Verletzlichkeit. Sie ist auf der Suche nach einer radikalen Gesellschaftsverantwortung im Herzen und in der Tat. Lahyas Pronomen sind Lahya/wenn es sein muss sie/ihr:e. Lahyas Bett wohnt in Berlin.

Zusammen mit unserem Kooperationspartner, dem Literarischen Zentrum Gießen, freuen wir uns, dass Lahya die Konferenz mit einer dekolonialen Poetry Performance bereichert. Die Veranstaltung öffnet mit einer performativen Lesung. Im anschließenden Werkstattgespräch erzählt Lahya von Ihren Erfahrungen zwischen Kunst und Universität, über Vorbilder, Wissen, Rebellion, und über Möglichkeiten dekolonisierenden Schreibens und Handelns.

Die Veranstaltung findet in deutscher Lautsprache statt. Der Eintritt ist frei.

Mehr auf Lahyas Internetseite oder @lahya_aukongo auf IG, FB & Twitter.

Call for Papers

Thinking ‘Europe’ as an idea, a geographical space, and a political force is inseparable from thinking about its history of imperialism, its postcolonial legacies, and its preoccupation with questions of in and outside, centre and periphery, the self and the other. Migration and the current so-called refugee crisis not only urge a changing perception of those power hierarchies that tend to divide the world between ‘the west’ and ‘the rest’ but also compel new discourses of national and cultural identity and belonging. The recent resurgence of populism and racism connected to the rise of right-wing parties in several European states serves as an uneasy reminder of the continuing influence of hegemonic ideas of European exceptionalism and cultural superiority. Global inequalities persist and the freedom of movement remains linked to where one comes from. At the same time, however, practices of resistance and emancipation in migrant/BPoC self-organisation reimagine Europe as an entangled space (Randeria 1999) that was and is home for different people. Received notions of nation and culture as well as identity and subjectivity have undergone a dramatic change, vividly reflected in the domains of art, literature, media, law, and politics. Investigating these current dynamics from a post-/decolonial perspective is thus crucial to understanding contemporary Europe as a contradictory space and a contested place.


Exploring Europe from a post-/decolonial perspective, the conference lays emphasis on rethinking Europe and its borders to generate a discussion about ‘travelling cultures’ (Clifford 1992), diasporic and migrant communities, hybrid identities, changing subjectivities, cultural translations (Bachmann-Medick 2012), transnational and transcultural relations, neo/cosmopolitanism, or neo-nomadism (Dagnino 2013), to name but a few.  In our world on the move, it becomes increasingly conspicuous that people, ideas, cultures, or resources cannot be understood in terms of traditional, binary models of centre and periphery, South and North or East and West as “cultural conditions today are largely characterized by mixes and permeation” (Welsch 1999: 197) in the wake of transnational relations. In the 21st century, post-/decolonial studies continue to deconstruct the myths around Europe by interrogating the histories and geographies of power associated with Europe and its (colonial) legacy around the globe.


In light of the conference theme, the following questions can be addressed: How have practices of travel and mobility in the age of globalization altered traditional concepts of culture and identity? How can post/decolonial literatures, art, and practices imaginatively refigure Europe as a geographical space as well as an idea? Why is it important today to understand and acknowledge the role of marginalized communities in transforming the idea of Europe? How do past and present migration policies and other governmental practices shape the idea and geography of Europe, or rather of “multiple Europes” (Boatca 2013)? 


We welcome papers which engage with but are not limited to the following areas of interest and research:


  • New perspectives and approaches in post-/decolonial studies
  • Representations of Europe and its ‘Others’ in different media
  • Narratives of European identity in and beyond the EU
  • Legacies of European colonialism in the 21st century
  • Post-/decolonial/ Critical Migration Studies
  • Afro-European Studies
  • Critical Race Studies
  • Memory Studies
  • Narratives of Displacement
  • Diaspora Studies
  • Transnational and transcultural Studies
  • Queer and intersectional approaches
  • Political, legal, and human rights perspectives
  • World Literature / World Anglophone Studies
  • Tourism/Travel Media
  • Performing Arts


There will also be an opportunity to present projects and work in progress in the form of a digital poster session. If you are interested in contributing, please send an abstract (300-500 words for a 15-minute presentation; 150-200 words for a poster presentation), a short biographical note and the topic of your current project, preferably as one pdf file, to no later than November 15, 2020.


The postgraduate forum Postcolonial Narrations brings together young scholars (MA students, Doctoral candidates, Postdoctoral fellows) to foster an exchange of ideas in the field of postcolonial literatures and cultures. For more information, go to The present conference is organized as a digital event in cooperation with GAPS (Gesellschaft für Anglophone Postkoloniale Studien) and the GCSC (International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture).



Bachmann-Medick, Doris.  "Translation – A Concept and Model for the Study of Culture." In: Travelling Concepts for the Study of Culture, edited by Birgit Neumann and Ansgar Nünning. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012, 23-43.


Boatcă, Manuela. "Multiple Europes and the Politics of Difference Within." In: The  Study  of  Europe, edited by Hauke Brunkhorst and Gerd  Grözinger. Wiesbaden:  Nomos,  2010, 51-66.


Clifford, James. "Traveling Culture." In: Cultural Studies, edited by Lawrence Gross, Cary Nelson and Paula A Treichler. New York: Routledge, 1992, 97-110.


Dagnino, Arianna. "Global Mobility, Transcultural Literature, and Multiple Modes of

Modernity." The Journal of Transcultural Studies 4, no. 2 (2013): 130-160.


Randeria, Shalini. "Geteilte Geschichte und verwobene Moderne." In: u.a. (Hrsg.), Zukunftsentwürfe. Ideen für eine Kultur der Veränderung, edited by Jörn Rüsen et al. Frankfurt a. M.: Campus, 1999,  87-96.


Welsch, Wolfgang. "Transculturality: The Puzzling Form of Cultures Today."  In Spaces of

Culture: City – Nation - World, edited by Mike Featherstone and Scott Lash. London:

Sage, 1999, 194–213.