Negotiating the German Colonial Past in Berlin’s African Quarter | Sybille Frank (Technische Universtät Berlin and Alfred Deakin Institute Citizenship and Globalisation Visiting Scholar)

This presentation will introduce the ongoing dispute over street names in Berlin’s Afrikanisches Viertel (African Quarter). In 1899, Berlin named two of its newly-built streets “Togo Street” and “Cameroon Street”. Togo and Cameroon had been proclaimed the first German colonies in 1884. By 1958, 22 Berlin streets had been named after African regions that had been colonized by the German Empire, or after German colonial protagonists. In 2004, several NGOs called for a renaming of some of these streets, igniting a fierce dispute over the heritage status of the German colonial past. Drawing on guided interviews and document analyses, the seminar will delineate how ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ positions have been allocated in the debate over street names on three levels: while ‘agency’ can be traced back to the competing actors’ different positioning in the political field, the levels of ‘temporality’ and ‘spatiality’ belong to the realm of fundamental ideas about the world and one’s place in it. Carving out the authoritative power of ‘traditional’ notions of permanence, and of place and space, this presentation seeks to bring temporality and spatiality right into the focus of those studying heritage-making practices.

Prof. Dr. Sybille Frank is Junior Professor for Urban and Regional Sociology at the Department of Sociology, Technische Universität Berlin. Her work focuses on heritage and mobilities studies, on comparative city research, on football, and on the sociology of space and place. Sybille’s dissertation on Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie as an international heritage site won the interdisciplinary prize “Humanities International” in 2012. It will be published in English under the title “Wall Memorials and Heritage” in 2016 (Routledge). Sybille was a Visiting Scholar with the Priority Research Area “Critical Heritage Studies” at Göteborgs Universitet in 2014. She recently has been awarded the positions of “City of Vienna Visiting Professor for Urban Culture and Public Space 2016” at Technische Universität Wien and “La Sapienza Visiting Professor for Research Activities 2016” at Università di Roma La Sapienza. Sybille currently is a Visiting Scholar at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation.

Date: Wednesday 24th February, 2016.  Drinks, from 4.00pm – 5.30pm.

Venue: Deakin University Melbourne City Centre, Level 3, 550 Bourke Street.

For more information on this and ever events see the Cultural heritage at Deakin website