In Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter and Call for Dismantling Structural Racism in Germany

#BlackLivesMatter Protest in Berlin Alexanderplatz on 6 June 2020 © Nasima Selim

Public Statement Issued by theWorking Group Public Anthropology, German Anthropological Association

Drafted on 6 June 2020  

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In the aftermath of the brutal police killing of George Floyd, nation-wide protests have erupted against police violence and structural anti-Black racism in the United States. In most major cities in Germany, massive demonstrations organized by BIPoC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and a supporting public are taking place. As engaged actors and witnesses of the contemporary, anthropologists in Germany cannot and should not stay silent and passive in the wake of one of the most significant anti-racist social movements in recent history. Neither can we afford to look away from Germany’s homegrown racism, systemic oppression, and structural discrimination against BIPoC communities intersecting with other minorities, vulnerable and underprivileged people.

While the German media are condemning police violence in the US, the unresolved cases of police violence, persistent racial profiling, and everyday racism in Germany (as well as in other European countries) and its central institutions hardly make it to the front page. Critical voices, for instance, have pointed out that the process that started in Germany with the NSU trial is unlikely to be finished until institutional racism in the country is faced and addressed accordingly. Spectacular acts of right-wing terrorism and populist politics have triggered public condemnation in recent years. But the everyday structural racism that BIPoC communities confront throughout their lives remains the hardest to disentangle from everyday white privilege. Institutionalized forms of racism have, for instance, systematically excluded BIPoC communities from employment and subjected them to racial discrimination, which has endured in Germany since colonial times. Decolonization calls for attention to the fact that coloniality is not over – that it is not ‘post-’ but rather continues to permeate almost all aspects of our lives.

As members of the German Anthropological Association, we condemn police violence and structural racism everywhere and stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and BIPoC protests in the US, Germany, and elsewhere. We take this opportunity to call on the general public to intensify a critique and dismantling of white privilege maintained in Germany. We emphasize the need to reinforce the longstanding and unfinished project of decolonizing the colonial and imperial legacies. We demand a renewed commitment to affirmative action in supporting the BIPoC and other minority communities in Germany at all levels.

Each epoch of social movements has reconfigured the mainstream society as much as it has shaped anthropological theory and practice in the history of our discipline. Anthropology in Germany was rooted in colonialism, like elsewhere, and complicit with the Nazi regime supported by many German anthropologists and their unquestioned white privilege. German universities and our own discipline have largely failed in institutionalizing affirmative “inclusion” of BIPoC communities. Reworking our epistemologies and engaging in more collaborative forms of research are necessary steps in this direction. However, rhetoric gestures, methodological reforms, and “discursive” solidarity on social media, in classrooms and academic texts are not sufficient. In the wake of current events, we call on fellow members of the German Anthropological Association to express solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter protestors and to recommit to the task that we demand from German society. Through a dual critique of the white privilege perpetuated in society and within our discipline with a renewed commitment to affirmative, practical action of solidarity in executing concrete plans of action can we, as anthropologists, join the public in their call for systemic change. 

Supported by (in alphabetical order of the last name):

Judith Albrecht, Freie Universität Berlin

Christoph Antweiler, Universität Bonn

Diego Ballestero, Universität Bonn

Kathrin Bauer, Freie Universität Berlin

Bianca Baumann, Landesmuseum Hannover

Julia Nina Baumann, Freie Universität Berlin

Uli Beisel, University of Bayreuth

Carla Jaimes Betancourt, Universtät Bonn

Judith Beyer, Universität Konstanz

Isabella Bozsa, Städtische Museum Braunschweig

Anna-Maria Brandstetter, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Karoline Buchner, Freie Universität Berlin

Sandra Calkins, Freie Universität Berlin

Rukiye Canli, Universität Siegen

Caroline Contentin, Werkstatt Ethnologie Berlin

Rosa Cordillera Castillo, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Jeanine Dağyeli, Nazarbayev University, Nur-Sultan

Hansjörg Dilger, Freie Universität Berlin

Echi Christina Gabbert, Universität Göttingen

Felix Girke, HTWG Konstanz

Mirco Göpfert, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

Joachim Otto Habeck, Hamburg University

Nena Hedrick, Freie Universität Berlin

Isabel Heger, Freie Universität Berlin

Mayari Hengstermann, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala

Roger Horn, Freie Universität Berlin

Brandaan Huigen, Freie Universität Berlin

Carmen Ibáñez, Freie Universität Berlin

Daniele Karasz, ENSA Paris La Villette-LAVUE, Universität Wien

Omar Kasmani, Freie Universität Berlin

Erich Kasten, Kulturstiftung Sibirien, Fürstenberg/Havel

Lena Kaufmann, University of Zurich

Thomas Kirsch, University of Konstanz

Stephan Kloos, ÖAW Institute for Social Anthropology

Lotte Knote, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient

Madlen Kobi, Academy of Architecture, Mendrisio, Switzerland

Stefan Leins, Universität Konstanz

Claudia Liebelt, University of Bayreuth

Markus Lindner, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

Jasmin Mahazi, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient

Christoph Marx, Freie Universität Berlin

Dominik Mattes, Freie Universität Berlin

Maike Melles, Frobenius Institute, Frankfurt

Dominik Müller, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Frank Müller, Universität Bremen

Marcos Andrade Neves, Freie Universität Berlin

Minh Nguyen, Bielefeld University

Michaela Pelican, Universität zu Köln

Jean-Baptiste Pettier, Universität Bremen  

Anita von Poser, Freie Universität Berlin

Ursula Probst, Freie Universität Berlin

Victoria Kumala Sakti, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Gertrude Saxinger, Austrian Polar Research Institute

Dominik Schieder, University of Siegen

Max Schnepf, Freie Universität Berlin

Michael Schönhuth, Universität Trier

Jannik Schritt, Technische Universität Berlin

Nasima Selim, Freie Universität Berlin

Sandro Simon, University of Cologne

Mareike Späth, Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum

Thomas Stodulka, Freie Universität Berlin

Andreas Streinzer, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

Michelle Thompson, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Magnus Treiber, LMU München

Tamara Turner, Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

Julia Vorhölter, Universität Göttingen

Cordula Weißköppel, Universität Bremen

Angelika Wolf, Freie Universität Berlin

Andreas Womelsdorf, University of Vienna

Olaf Zenker, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Supporting Working/Regional Groups of the German Anthropological Association:

Working Group Migration

Working Group Gender & Sexualities | Queer Anthropology

Working Group Medical Anthropology

Regional Group Indigenous North America

Working Group Environmental Anthropology

Working Group Anthropology & Education

Regional Group China

Regional Group Circumpolar North & Siberia

Regional Group Europe

Regional Group Africa

Working Group Psychological Anthropology

Regional Group South America

Regional Group Oceania

See here also the statement against police violence and anti-Black racism issued by the Association of Black Anthropologists (ABA), a section of the American Anthropological Association, and published on 6 June 2020.


We thank the Association of Black Anthropologists (ABA), a section of the American Anthropological Association, for allowing us to post here their statement against police violence and anti-Black racism. The original google document based on which our public statement has been crafted is closed now. We thank everyone for supporting the statement and the valuable feedback we received. It is possible to sign the document at a later period. Please contact us if you wish to do so: 

Nasima Selim and Judith Albrecht


Spokespersons, Working Group Public Anthropology

In Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter and Call for Dismantling Structural Racism in Germany

Public Statement Issued by the Working Group Public Anthropology, German Anthropological Association

Drafted on 6 June 2020                    

Follow us on Twitter @AGPublicAnthro and Facebook

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