Damani PartridgeSep 24, 2023
Blackness As a Universal Claim
Holocaust Heritage, Noncitizen Futures, and Black Power in Berlin
University of California Press 2022
In this bold and provocative new book, Blackness as a Universal Claim: Holocaust Heritage, Noncitizen Futures, and Black Power in Berlin (University of California Press, 2023), Damani Partridge examines the possibilities and limits for a universalized Black politics. German youth of Turkish, Arab, and African descent use claims of Blackness to hold states and other institutions accountable for racism today. Partridge tracks how these young people take on the expressions of Black Power, acting out the scene from the 1968 Olympics, proclaiming "I am Malcolm X," expressing mutual struggle with Muhammad Ali and Spike Lee, and standing with raised and clenched fists next to Angela Davis. Partridge also documents public school teachers, federal program leaders, and politicians demanding that young immigrants account for the global persistence of anti-Semitism as part of the German state's commitment to anti-genocidal education. He uses these stories to interrogate the relationships between European Enlightenment, Holocaust memory, and Black futures, showing how noncitizens work to reshape their everyday lives. In doing so, he demonstrates how Blackness is a concept that energizes, inspires, and makes possible participation beyond national belonging for immigrants, refugees, Black people, and other People of Color.
Damani J. Partridge is Professor of Anthropology and Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan.
Reighan Gillam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. Her research examines the ways in which Afro-Brazilian media producers foment anti-racist visual politics through their image creation. She is the author of Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media (University of Illinois Press).