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Lara-Stephanie Krause

Assistant Professor, Institute of African Studies, Leipzig University

Lara-Stephanie Krause holds a PhD in African Languages from the University of Cape Town and currently works as (the German equivalent of) assistant professor at the Institute of African Studies in Leipzig. Her efforts have been lying with thinking languages in education – and more recently the concept of language itself – differently. Theoretically she expands on current concepts in socio- and applied linguistics like (trans)languaging and spatial repertoires. In her PhD Relanguaging language in english(ing) classrooms in Khayelitsha, South Africa she developed original terminology to describe township English teaching in Cape Town in a potential instead of deficit oriented way. While continuing her work on language in education in South Africa she also inquires into Black Lives Matter protests in Germany. Here she enrols ideas from new materialism, (linguistic) anthropology, sociolinguistics and social movement studies to rethink the abstract category of language with material-discursive concepts, like word-body-assemblages where protest slogans make alliances across people with different memories, life trajectories and future visions.

Seminar One Provocation: Difference as Cutting Together-Apart: Productive Racialization in Germany   

Abstract: My video takes viewers into the alliances that BLM words and slogans make with Black and White Germans. Assembling our voices from interviews and online content around particular protest posters instantiates difference as cutting together-apart. Through this lens, the increased production of racial difference, i.e. the Black-White racialization of German society, emerges not as worrisome but as potentially productive of new ways of Seeing and Hearing the Other. 

 A production of productive difference seems under way in Germany. Black Lives Matter (BLM) has become visible in the country and new word-body-assemblages shape the spatial repertoire (Pennycook & Otsuji, 2015) around White-on-Black racism in on- and offline spaces. Protest slogans like “I understand that I will never understand however I stand”; “White silence is violence” and “Deutschland du hast einRassismus Problem” are held up on posters, uttered and posted. Rather than focusing on what these slogans mean or index (Nakassis, 2018), I’m interested in how they are becoming-with young Germans. How do these words make kin with us (Haraway, 2016) in a time where rewor(l)ding is an urgent matter of care (De La Cadena & Blaser, 2018)? Using online pictures, videos and experimental interviews where White and Black participants – including myself – make alliances with protest slogans, I ask: How are German race relations currently (re)shaped – or: how are they cut together-apart (Barad, 2007, 2014) – and what new futures emerge? I conceptualize difference as processual and practiced. Difference is cutting together-apart – the ongoing reconfiguration of boundaries where divisions are also always connections. For example, cutting apart means the production of actually perceived difference between Whiteness and Blackness of Germans, but this difference also cuts us together via a now shared racialization of our words and bodies. ‘Why are you so Black?’ is countered with ‘Why are you so White?’ (GermanDream, 2020).