Postcolonial Potsdam

In May 2014 the University of Potsdam hosted the joint 25th Annual ASNEL and 14th Biennial GASt Conference, which aimed at investigating practices and norms of justice in a postcolonial world. For this occasion we embarked to take a closer look at the surroundings right in front of our own doorstep and started considering “Postcolonial Potsdam”.

A group of Potsdam students who were involved in the conference organisation decided to develop a small exhibition and this blog dealing with parts of the colonial history of Prussia and, primarily, the postcolonial silence in contemporary Potsdam.

In the immediate vicinity of the university campus “Am Neuen Palais” in Potsdam, a group of sculptures, some paintings exhibited in Sanssouci as well as botanic imports in the Potsdam landscape of palaces and gardens show a multitude of references to Prussia’s colonial history. These are mostly willfully or unconsciously ignored by the majority society because this version of the past does not fit into conceptions of Prussian heritage and responsibilities vis-a-vis the colonial past and a reconsideration of it are repressed. We want to contextualize the past and make invisible parts of history visible. This should serve to open up a discussion of how to deal responsibly with traumatic histories of colonial injustices.

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