Georgiana Simpson Society
The Georgiana Simpson Society for German Diaspora Studies is an affiliate organization of the College Language Association (CLA). The Society embraces the Standards set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG). The intent and purpose of the Society are to foster a better understanding of the way in which Germans of African descent and African American scholars, writers, researchers, culturalists and linguists interact within Germany, with other German-speaking nations and across the Atlantic in the United States, and, to share our comparative scholarship.
It is our philosophy that our students must be able to ‘see themselves’ in the nation of the language and culture which they are studying. To that end, the interests of the members of the Society, predominately African American professors of German language, literature, culture, and linguistics, range from analyzing the nexus of madness and blackness in Medieval German literature and memoirs of Afro-German and real-life interviews, to research in areas of African American expatriates, colonialism and its impact on nineteenth-century, to present-day German media, the nineteenth-century German world view, and historically, on German race and ethnicity as it unfolds daily and in the emerging literature which is only increasing every year.
Seminars and research in Berlin and Hamburg have also been focal points, where larger groups of Black and ethnic German peers reside and work as they write, perform, are filmmakers and make music—some of the first Black European rap was German, for example. Such outreach activities have promoted ways in which to develop relevant curriculum, and, to train current and future teachers of German nationally in creating readily accessible academic materials more closely resembling the current German-speaking world in their approaches to teaching German language and culture. This is an effort also to thereby diminish the exclusion evident in such teaching and often still found in our classrooms where students of color often sit unable to make early connections to themselves and the nation of Germany.