Seminar: Eva Bischoff, ‘Facing the Uncanny: Masculinity and Race in Postcolonial Germany’

In 2015, Germany welcomed about one million refugees. In the months following this act of humanitarian outreach, a fierce debate arose, sparked by a set of violent incidents on New Year’s Eve 2015/16. Media reports repeated already established stereotypes about Muslim men and their disregard for women and women’s rights, branding them sexual offenders. German men, by contrast, were called upon as members of an enlightened, Western society to defend women’s rights and their physical integrity. The underlying notion of Western “sexual exceptionalism” echoes colonial notions on Euro-American civilisatory and moral superiority, creating a sense of uncanny déja vu. This presentation will examine the postcolonial legacies of the intersecting articulations of masculinity and race by comparing current debates with that of 1920s Weimar Germany when debates on sex crime, masculinity, and race had arisen in view of the occupation of the Rhineland by French-African soldiers, the Tirailleurs Sénégalais.

Eva Bischoff teaches International History at Trier University. Her research interests include colonial and imperial history, postcolonial theory, and gender/queer studies. She received her PhD from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. Her dissertation reconstructed the impact of colonial discourses on the articulation of white, hegemonic German masculinity between at the turn of the century. Her most recent publications include an edited volume entitled “Dimensions of Settler Colonialism in a Transnational Perspective. Experiences, Actors, Spaces” (Routledge 2019). She is currently visiting the Stout Research Centre.

Venue:            Old Kirk 406 (F L W Wood Seminar Room)

Date:               Friday, 22 March 2019

Time:              12:10pm to 1:30pm

For more information: Contact Dr Alexander Maxwell (alexander.maxwell@vuw.ac.nz; 04 463 6753).