What changes in our understanding of the experience of black communities in diaspora when we move beyond the binaries of stillness and motion to engage black life through the lens of stasis? This essay explores a collection of vernacular photos of a black German family in the Third Reich using the concept of stasis to unpack the social, historical, political, and visual tensions that structure these images’ depiction of their black German subjects. Viewing these images as complex depictions of stasis (defined not as the cessation of movement but as motion held in suspension and a balancing of multiple forces) offers a generative framework for theorizing the quotidian practices of refusal that constitute black fugitivity.
Performing Stillness: Diaspora and Stasis in Black German Vernacular Photography
tina m. campt is Claire Tow and Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women at Barnard College–Columbia University. She is author of three books: Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender and Memory in the Third Reich (2004), Image Matters: Archive, Photography and the African Diaspora in Europe (2012), and Listening to Images (2017).
Tina M. Campt; Performing Stillness: Diaspora and Stasis in Black German Vernacular Photography. Qui Parle 1 June 2017; 26 (1): 155–170. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10418385-3822457
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