The African Atlantic Research Group (AARG) formed during two research workshops in Berlin (June 2017) and NYC (April 2018). AARG aspires to facilitate multi-year collaborative research examining the social and cultural lives of post-World War II African immigrants to the United States and in the sphere we call “The New Black Atlantic.” This comparative and broadly interdisciplinary project will analyze recent processes of identity formation along with quickly developing traditions of art and culture within these communities as a consequence of the changing realities of migration in this region of the African diaspora. Taking Gilroy’s “Black Atlantic” seriously as a point of departure, we set out to analyze the forms and practices visible in the contemporary cultural formation and specifically the ways in which a historically new – and culturally distinct – African immigration to the United States (and to the European borders) challenges the relative cultural hegemony of African American cultural expression and how these recent practices, forms, and products thus – and by extension – call for a reexamination of the current cultural dynamics in the “Black Atlantic” beyond the United States in that they also proceed to put pressure on the alleged trans-historic stability of identities in Europe and the north Atlantic sphere.
The group was initiated by Robert Reid-Pharr (now Harvard University) and Martin Lüthe (Freie Universität Berlin) and members include Herman Bennett (History, Graduate Center, City University of New York), Zee Dempster, (Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean, Graduate Center, City University of New York), Tavia Nyong’o (American and Theater Studies, Yale University), Eric Lott, (English, Graduate Center, City University of New York), Khary Polk (American Studies, Amherst College), Robert Reid-Pharr (Program of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University), Gary Wilder (Anthropology, Graduate Center, City University of New York), Dagmawi Woubshet, (English, University of Pennsylvania). Rebecka Brückmann (American History, Universität Bochum), Dominique Haensell (American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin), Martin Lüthe (American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin), Frank Kelleter (American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin), Anke Ortlepp (North American History, Universität zu Köln), Daniel Stein (American Studies, Universität Siegen).