Documents of Colonialism and Racial Theorizing in the German Classroom

  • Evan Torner


This chapter deals with unstated white supremacist assumptions of German Studies and proposes critical race theory approaches toward the German invention of “race.” After contextualizing the contemporary situation, the chapter describes a particular instance of German Studies instruction in critical genealogies of race, namely, a seminar called “Race Theory and the Modern German State.” The curriculum and pedagogical methods focus on unpacking racial discourse found in primary sources over the course of German intellectual and cultural history. However, the author discovered that this focus on primary sources may backfire, and provides a case study of such a situation. The chapter concludes with pedagogy and curriculum recommendations, should a German instructor choose to teach such a critical race theory seminar in their own institution. Without combating white supremacy and staring unflinchingly at its racial assumptions, German Studies runs the risk of supporting the very systems of oppression it purports to denounce.


Pedagogy German Studies Race theory Whiteness Intellectual history 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evan Torner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of German StudiesUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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