German Campus Week kicked off on Monday November 14th with an event at the FedEX Global Center featuring special guest, Afro-German playwright Olivia Wenzel. Dr. Priscilla Layne screened several clips from Wenzel’s Afrofuturist plays Mais in Deutschland und anderen Galaxien (2015) and We are the Universe (2016). Dr. Layne posed a few pointed questions to Wenzel about her background growing up in the GDR, how she got her start in theater and the origin of her interest in Afrofuturism. Afterward Wenzel answered questions form the audience. On Tuesday November 15th, in the Mandel Auditorium of the FedEx Global Center, Dr. Layne screened the German scifi film Transfer (2010) directed by Croatian German Damir Lukacevic. Then on Thursday, November 17th, German Campus Week proceeded with a panel discussion on German scifi literature and film in Toy Lounge, Dey Hall. The first speaker was Dr. Richard Langston who gave students an introduction to German scifi, utopian and spectualitive literature by way of showcasing several books in the Negley Collection which can be found at the Rubenstein Library at Duke University. Dr. Langston was followed by Dr. Paul Dobryden, Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia. Dr. Dobryden explored the curious connections between R&B artist Janelle Monae’s work and Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis (1927). On Friday, November 18th, there was a concluding panel on African American culture and German electronic music. First, Dr. Trace Reddell of the University of Denver presented his interpretation of German Krautrock music as Afrofuturist, a phenomenon he calls “ethnoforgery.” Second, David Reinecke, PhD candidate at Princeton University, presented on time keeping in funk music and James Brown’s influence on German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk. German Campus Week concluded with a German New Wave party at the Night Light on Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill, where local DJs Ian Rose and Sarah Carrier (UNC German alum!), as well as Trace Reddell, played sets of German electronic music. It was a great turn out, supplied with free pizza and German Christmas cookies. Thanks for a successful German Campus Week and we hope you join us again next fall!
Special thanks to the German Embassy.