|The term Black Atlantic refers to a space that is both real and imaginary, a space which encompasses the manifold migrations and relationships of the countless communities in a Black Diaspora that is spread across three continents. Its development questions - in a forward-looking manner - the link between territory and cultural identity. Edouard Glissant and Paul Gilroy - the most prominent proponents of this approach - will meet up here. With his concept of Créolisation, Glissant gets away from the 'horror of identity', which is based on (national) roots. Drawing on the forerunner of the Afro-American civil rights' movement, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Gilroy develops the latter's concept of double consciousness further: How is it possible to be both Black and European at the same time?
Édouard Glissant, born in 1928 in Martinique, author, sociologist and philosopher, is at present Distinguished Professor of French at the City University of New York. He lives and works in New York, Paris and Fort-de-France. Glissant describes himself as a Francophone American writer. Founder of the "Institut martiniquais d'études" research centre, he has long been concerned with Antillean historiography. Since publishing his first poems in the 1950s, he was a key figure in the 1956 First Conference of Black Writers and Artists in Paris and the 1959 Second Conference in Rome. He has emerged as a major force in Caribbean studies, cultural theory and post-colonial literature, establishing his reputation with works such as Caribbean Discourse ("Le Discours antillais").
His recurring theme is how Black people and their history are represented against the backdrop of an increasingly global world. His scholarly theoretical writings and his literary works across a whole range of genres are all intimately related, clearly illustrating the conceit of an essentialist intellectual approach rooted in inflexible, rigid categories.
Paul Gilroy, sociologist and cultural scholar, has been Professor of Sociology and Afro-American Studies at Yale University since 1999, and was formerly Professor of Sociology und Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Paul Gilroy is curating the "Black Atlantic" project together with the House of World Cultures.
Since the publication of "The Black Atlantic, Modernity and Double Consciousness" in 1993, he has been regarded as one of the central voices calling for a paradigm shift in European thought. His work focuses on the presence of Black cultures in the European context and has proved a driving force in the Black arts scene in Britain.
Tina Campt is Distinguished Professor of Gender Studies at Duke University, Durham. She originally studied modern German history and works in the area of gender, oral history, Black German history and, in particular, the situation of Black women in Europe. Her recently published book, "Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender and Memory in the Third Reich", examines the history of the nearly forgotten minority of Black Germans under the National Socialists.