About

Postcolonial Potsdam

Postcolonial Potsdam is an interest group (Arbeitskreis – AK) of Weltweiterdenken e.V. which deals with parts of the colonial history of Prussia and, primarily, the postcolonial silence in contemporary Potsdam.

In the immediate vicinity of the castle “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 – as well as numerous traditions and practices – 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 try to contextualize the past and make invisible parts of history visible. We write a blog, offer postcolonial tours through Potsdam and organize events and workshops. This should serve to open up discussions of how to deal responsibly with the legacies of traumatic histories of colonial injustices.

History:

In May 2014 the University of Potsdam hosted the joint 25th Annual GAPS and 14th Biennial GASt Conference, which aimed to investigate practices and norms of justice in a postcolonial world. This occasion inspired us to take a closer look at the surroundings right in front of our own doorstep and consider “Postcolonial Potsdam”. A group of Potsdam students were involved in the conference organization decided to develop a small exhibition and this blog dealing to invite the public for new discussions.

In fall 2014 we started to cooperate with BBAG e.V. and PAWLO e.V. Together we created teaching materials on Brandenburg’s colonial past. If you want to use that material in school, please contact BBAG e.V.

Since December 2014, we are involved in the campaigns against blackfacing in Potsdam. Debates around this racist practice have been initiated by the traditional Dutch Sinterklaas celebration in Potsdam’s Dutch quarter. You can read our position statement here.

In 2015, we offered various park tours, organized the showing of the play Kilimanjaro Tripadvisor and series of filmscreenings.

In 2016, alongside parktours, we organised a series of filmscreenings which took place at the KuZe in Potsdam:

park tour

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