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Accepted Paper:

Kinning through diasporic travel - Mobility and coming of age for young Germans of African descent  

Author:

Silvia Wojczewski (Université de Lausanne)

Paper short abstract:

Interested in an intergenerational and biographical perspective on migration and family, I focus on the experiences of "diasporic" travel of three German women of African descent to show how the relation to the region of origin of their fathers took part in their process of coming of age in Germany.

Paper long abstract:

Whereas Aminata's father Lansana says of himself to be Guinean with a German passport, for his daughter things feel different. She feels rooted in Germany/Frankfurt, living and being socialized there, but she is also Guinean and African, feeling connected especially to other young Afrodescendent adults who grew up in Frankfurt or cities elsewhere in Europe. Jennifer Bidet and Lauren Wagner (2012) find that when studying diasporic practices and belonging, it is revealing to look into if or how second, third and more generations of descendants of transnational migrants, maintain or develop links to places of family origin. In my research I am interested in researching how the meaning of "origin" might shift throughout generations and how it can get disentangled from a country of parental origin and go more towards decentered diasporic practices. However, the importance of the relation to the parents or to a place of origin of parents who migrated has to be seen as a process - it can become important or obsolete for a person at different stages of her/his life. Analysing biographical interviews that I conducted during my fieldwork in Frankfurt, I focus on the experiences of "diasporic" travel of three of my interlocutors, German women of African descent in their 30s, to show how the relation to the region of origin of their fathers took part in their processes of coming of age in Germany where they occupy racialized subject positions - and in their personal understandings of what it means to become an adult.

Panel P144
New horizons: second generation perspectives on experiences of migration