Each year the University recognizes people and groups that have given their time and effort to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at Carolina and in our surrounding community. As has always been the case, this work is vital as we build our community together. The department wants to congratulate Dr. Layne on her achievements.
Dr. Layne is an Associate Professor, whose work is on German national identity, conception of race and self, cross-racial empathy, postcolonialism and rebellion. Her most current work is on Afro-German Afrofuturism. In relation to DEI, Dr. Layne has established and chaired the Diversity Committee in the department and also worked with other diversity officers across campus to problem-solve issues together. The department Diversity Committee included undergraduate and graduate students, at Dr. Layne’s insistence, to improve equity in recommendations.
She created the Jonathan Hess Prize for Diversity, specifically for undergraduates to write short essays that address diversity in GSLL. She has developed classes on Germany and the Black Diaspora, Afrofuturism, gender and sexuality in German film among others, and is writing a publication on decolonizing German studies, which may be applied at universities across the USA. She has created an exhibit at Hayti Heritage Center that highlighted students work and has invited Black German scholars to talk about their work with audiences from UNC, State, NC A&T, Duke, and NCCU, as well as local community members to think about the role of Black culture in Germany.
She serves on two national committees on German studies and has worked on addressing diversity and inclusion issues that have plagued some of these organizations for 100 years. In terms of outreach, she has created a K-16 curriculum on Black Germany history and culture to Black History Month that is public-facing and can be replicated. Also, she has hosted training for K-12 teachers to discuss racism in the EU through film.
Watch her acceptance speech below