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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities

Entangled Diasporas: Shadow Archives in Black, Queer, and Postcolonial Studies


One-Day Symposium at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Date: 13 July 2018




10117 BERLIN


Conveners: Prof. Tavia Nyong’o (Yale), Prof. Eva Boesenberg (HUB) & Prof. Elahe Haschemi Yekani (HUB)

Entangled Diasporas: Shadow Archives in Black, Queer, and Postcolonial Studies

Recently, interdisciplinary attention in the fields of postcolonial studies, black studies, feminist studies, and queer studies has turned to the question of “entanglement.” Variously rendered in German as Verflechtung (as used in histoirecroisée / Globalgeschichte) and as Verschränkung (as used in quantum mechanics and feminist technoscience studies), entanglement holds both ontological and epistemological relevance. Entanglement promises to reshape archival studies and historiography, bringing to bear the resources of new materialist and ecocritical approaches, fabulation and new narrative approaches, such as surface and other reading strategies that challenge both conceptions of identity as well as linear temporalities and national canons. Entanglement is also meant to highlight the interactions and cross-connections between different diasporic communities.

By using the term shadow archives, we intend to point to a phenomenon that is neither reading with or against the grain, and that does not begin from the assumption that the archive is either “full” or “empty.” Beyond such dualisms, the shadow archive points towards fields of historical potentiality (or virtuality) against the idea of afterwardness / Nachträglichkeit that models such as counter histories or writing back imply. We want to engage with queer temporalities of utopias and spaces in the city that can be directed at both the past and the present, to engage with assumptions of coevality or the yet to come. We seek to name a research agenda that isn’t divided between archive and repertoire, presence and absence, or affective attachment and detachment, subversion or collusion but rather engage with the entangled, queer and messy ways we create meaning today by looking to the past.


Preliminary Program
Friday, 13 July 2018


10:00-10:30 ARRIVAL & COFFEE




Eva Boesenberg, Elahe Haschemi Yekani and Tavia Nyong’o



Panel 1: Artistic Archives and Artistic Research

CHAIR: Anja Michaelsen (Berlin)

Nana Adusei-Poku (Independent Scholar and Curator): Performances of Nothingness II – Tracing the Ephemeral Archive

Isaiah Lopaz (Berlin-based artist): tba

Joy Kristin Kalu (FU Berlin/Sophiensaele): Curating of Color: Overcoming Black Pastness


13:00-14:30 LUNCH BREAK



Round Table: Elahe Haschemi Yekani and Tavia Nyong’o on Critical and Speculative Fabulation and Narrative in Black and Postcolonial Histories

CHAIR: Cedric Essi (Uni Bremen)



Panel 2: Shadow Archives

CHAIR: Kristina Graaff (HUB)

Maisha Auma (Magdeburg-Stendal/HUB): Visionary Shifts in Sex Education: The Intersectional Sexual Politics of the Berlin based SEEDS Collective, powered by LSBTI*-of-Color Sex- and Body Positive Frameworks

Anne Potjans (HUB): Archives of Abjection: Black Feminist Futurity and Queer Temporality in the Poetry of Wanda Coleman

Jasper Verlinden (Berlin): Cripping the Colonial Archive: Dis/Entangled Lives and Dis/Abling Bodies of Knowledge

Khary Polk (Amherst College/FU Berlin): The Black Homonational Speaks: Perry Watkins, Randy Shilts, and Sounding the AIDS Archive


17:30-18:00 COFFEE BREAK




Introduction: Eva Boesenberg

Michelle Wright (Emory University): Entangled Blackness: The Politics of Polyspatial Representations in the Black and African Diasporas