Cedric Essi, M.A. (University of Bremen): "The Allure of Diasporic Homecoming: Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father and Ika Hügel-Marshall's Daheim Unterwegs"

Monday, 10.07.2017, 12:15-13:45, U5/01.18

Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father has become a 'new classic' of African American literature, and Ika Hügel-Marshall's Daheim Unterwegs is often credited as being a foundational text of Afro-German writing. This guest lecture connects these texts' prominent status to a shared narrative script of diasporic homecoming, which has occupied a longstanding and powerful place in the black diasporic imagination. By investigating the motif of 'return' we will follow two quests for a black paternal legacy with routes to opposite sides of the Atlantic and learn how these two memoirs negotiate familial and political belonging within larger paradigm shifts of racial discourse in the U.S. and Germany.

Cedric Essi is Lecturer for American Studies at the University of Bremen, a researcher at the Respect Research Group at the University of Hamburg, and a PhD Candidate at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg. He graduated from the University of Würzburg with a Staatsexamen in English and French as well as with an M.A. in American Studies. His dissertation project "Interracial Family Memoirs" investigates how U.S. Americans have employed autobiographical strategies to legitimize cross-racial kinship formations since the 1990s. Essi is the recipient of the BAA Harvard Research Fellowship and will be Fulbright Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley in the fall term of 2017.