German Scholars Visit UVa for Projects on Racism

Apr 8, 2019

Hannah Winnick is the Program Director for Transatlantic Dialogue on Democracy and Social Policy at the Heinrich Boll Foundation in D.C., and worked closely with the Director of UVA's Center for German Studies, Manuela Achilles, on this initiative. Five visiting German fellows will be at UVA this week, learning about Charlottesville's complex history and in dialogue with people and students on how to deal with a racist past.
Credit Heinrich Boll Foundation

This week in Charlottesville, the University of Virginia, in partnership with the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Washington D.C., will host five visiting fellows from Germany to work with faculty and students on projects that deal with racism and history. WMRA's Marguerite Gallorini caught up with the foundation’s program director in Washington, D.C.

Hannah Winnick, the Program Director for Transatlantic Dialogue on Democracy and Social Policy, explains how the partnership with UVa's Center for German Studies came to be, following the events of August 2017 in Charlottesville.

HANNAH WINNICK: As a German organization, when we saw Neo-Nazis marching through the streets of an American city, we really did a lot of soul-searching and we asked ourselves what is our role, when we see this happening; how we can we bring Germans and Americans together to confront this challenge?

So, through Tuesday, April 16th, UVa will host five German scholars for an intensive one-week residency. They will work with UVa faculty, students, and other community members on stage plays, films and other projects. Here is one:

WINNICK: The students that are working with Natasha Kelly, Afro-German filmmaker – what they are doing is they are using this idea of a Cabinet of Curiosities, which used to be these cabinets that were collected by White colonialists and that featured sort of these "exotic" – often very racist – objects that they had found on their exploits. And they're turning that on its head: they're going out and collecting and curating everyday objects from all around Charlottesville that reproduce racist ideas in some way.
The outcome of these projects will be open to the public beginning next week once they are finished.