In recognition of the intertwined histories and present manifestations of antisemitism, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, heteropatriarchy and white supremacy
and as feminist scholars within German studies committed to intersectional understandings of social justice,
we condemn the violence that has again come to a head in the last week. We are sorrowed by the attacks against a synagogue and kebab shop in Halle and the resulting deaths on Yom Kippur. Once again, a violent attack has made painfully visible the ways in which white supremacy and heteropatriarchy continue to wield power in our society. The attacks, and the livestream that accompanied them, demonstrate the entanglements of gendered antisemitism, anti-immigrant racism, and misogyny.
We express our solidarity with Jewish and immigrant communities in Germany. We note that our feminist solidarity with the targets of antisemitic and xenophobic racism must include a commitment to fighting racism and misogyny in all its forms.
We note as well that the calls for more police protection will not solve the problems of white supremacy and racism that create a culture promoting racist violence. Yes, racist violence is a security issue: as are all forms of precarity that expose groups to the threat of violence and death. This is a question of human safety and security. All too often racist thought has proven to inform police action, and police action has so often resulted in targeting communities of color. Ending the violence of white supremacist heteropatriarchy is a task that requires our broad interventions through our daily actions and interactions; through education; through the speech and discourse we normalize in our culture, whether through art, literature, social media, news media; and through our organized activism.
As a feminist organization, we are committed to teaching and scholarship that challenges interlocking systems of oppression and power. Feminist goals must include the end of racism and white supremacy. The systems that promote and rely on racism; sexism; homophobia; transphobia; ableism; colonialism; and other forms of exploitation, hatred, and exclusion are interlinked and often support one another. We express our solidarity with all groups who fight these systems of oppression.
This continues to be a painful time for our members, students, and colleagues who are targeted directly, often daily, by racist, antisemitic, xenophobic, and misogynist violence – whether as physical threat or verbal aggression. We express our solidarity with all of you.
Individual acts respond to a social context, one in which hate speech enables and promotes violent actions. We call on our members, as teachers, scholars, and leaders, to name and challenge white supremacy and heteropatriarchy wherever it is manifest, whether in everyday speech, social media, political discourse, or elsewhere. We cannot allow violent speech to seem “normal.” We cannot allow an atmosphere that enables such horrific violence to continue.
The Coalition of Women in German Steering Committee is thrilled to announce that Dr. Maria Stehle, Associate Professor in the German Program at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, has been elected by the membership to serve as Vice President/President-Elect. Dr. Stehle has been an active WiGgie since her graduate school days and has contributed to the organization by co-editing the newsletter, organizing panels and WiG-sponsored sessions, publishing in the Women in German Yearbook, and winning the best article prize and subsequently serving on the best article committee, among countless other activities. In her candidate statement, she wrote:
Through WiG, I have experienced feminist mentorship and encouragement, I have found a community that I know has my back, and I connected with a group of scholars who work towards common goals; I am still mentored at WiG but I have also become a mentor. If WiG continues to facilitate this kind of feminist mentoring, our work is transformative.
My research is interdisciplinary, collaborative, and intersectional. The community I built through WiG has given me the courage to move forward with my projects even if, at times, I felt I had to advocate for my work to be accepted as academic and rigorous. Because we organize, exchange ideas, and share our challenges with each other, we have influenced discussions at other professional organizations, have brought issues of equity, injustice, and inequality to our home institutions—be they public research universities, small liberal art colleges, community colleges, in red or in blue states—, and have advocated for each other. As an organization, we connect and intersect with networks at the GSA, with the Decolonizing German Studies groups, and with activists and organizers at our home institutions. If WiG members do this kind of outreach and advocacy work, at our meetings and conferences, in our communications, at our institutions, nationally, and internationally, our work is transformative.
In addition to her vibrant scholarship, in which she regularly collaborates with other WiGgies, Dr. Stehle is a co-editor of the open access web publication “Digital Feminist Collective” and book review editor for the journal German Studies Review. At her home institution she serves as Graduate Coordinator for German, Chair for the Interdisciplinary Program in Cinema Studies, and Steering Committee Member for the Interdisciplinary Program in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies.
We are overjoyed to have such a powerful advocate of intersectional and interdisciplinary feminist German Studies on our leadership team!
Hot off the presses! Check out the latest issue of Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies on Precarity/Heimatlosigkeit (Vol. 54: 4). Co-edited by WiGgies Dr. Gabi Kathöfer and Dr. Beverly Weber, the special issue features work by WiGgies throughout. Find the complete table of contents below.
Precarity/Heimatlosigkeit, Special Issue Editors, Gabi Kathöfer and Beverly Weber
Gabi Kathöfer, Beverly Weber
Heimat, Sustainability, Community: A Conversation with Karina Griffith and Peggy Piesche
Gabi Kathöfer, Beverly Weber
Belonging in Black and White: Race, Photography, and the Allure of Heimat in West German Gay Magazines from the 1950s
Refiguring Red Vienna: Alternative Forms of Currency and Community in Michael Riebl’s Planet Ottakring
The Berlin Wall in Fernando Pérez’s La pared de las palabras (The Wall of Words): Refiguring Belonging in Precarity
Jennifer Ruth Hosek
Heimat as Communist Utopia or Leerstelle: Yoko Tawada’s Naked Eye
The Violence of Precarity and the Appeal of Routine in Jenny Erpenbeck’s Gehen, ging, gegangen
Gary L. Baker
Willkommenskultur Documented: Precarious Heimat in Can’t Be Silent (2013), Land in Sicht (2013), and Willkommen auf Deutsch (2015)
Isabell Lorey. State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious
Alexander G. Weheliye. Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human
Elisa Joy White
Jin Haritaworn. Queer Lovers and Hateful Others: Regenerating Violent Times and Places
Fatima El-Tayeb. Undeutsch: Die Konstruktion des Anderen in der postmigrantischen Gesellschaft
Sara Lennox, ed. Remapping Black Germany: New Perspectives on Afro-German History, Politics, and Culture
Ipek A Celik. In Permanent Crisis: Ethnicity in Contemporary European Media and Cinema
Dr. Jennifer Askey co-authored an essay in the award-winning volume Feminists Among Us: Resistance and Advocacy in Library Leadership (Eds. Shirley Lew and Baharak Yousefi, 2017). The essay, titled “One Library, Two Cultures,” is available here. Even though the article speaks directly to library experience, the lessons around leadership and culture are applicable to just most academic working environments. The article asks what kind of unit/department/institution would be the place that attracts a diverse workforce, engaged in diverse work?
Dr. Askey is Advisor for Leadership Development at the University of Alberta and presented on a fabulous panel on feminist mentorship practices at our last conference.