Deutsches Seminar

Diversity and Memory
Transculturality between Germany, Namibia and South Africa

German Studies Institute Partnership Tübingen - Windhoek - Pretoria
funded by the German Academic Exchange Service

Publication forthcoming: Belonging: Histories, Spaces and Practices of Belonging in Namibian, German and French Literature and Culture, to be published as a special section of Acta Germanica. German Studies in Africa (2023) [edited by Sigrid G. Köhler, Julia Rebholz and Marianne Zappen-Thomson] (In German).

For several years now, belonging has been emerging as a new paradigm in social and cultural studies. The added value of the concept lies in its ability to capture and describe non-belonging where concepts and notions of (collective) 'identity' remain ambiguous or tend to (re)produce categorical essentialisms. 
The contributions in this special section are devoted to different thematic negotiations of non-/belonging in Namibian, German and French contemporary literature and culture. What they have in common is that they take up current debates about national belonging, discrimination and racism as well as colonial history and diversity of memory and trace their processing in contemporary literature and music.

Description of the GIP

In Germany, Namibia and South Africa, contemporary societies are characterized by diversity, which is not only a challenge for shaping the present and the future, but also for understanding the past. An inclusive, diversity-oriented understanding challenges society's self-narrative and thus changes cultural memory. Literature and media, as well as everyday language use, have a part in cultural memory and produce cultures of memory. Accordingly, they are central both to the production and reflection of multidirectional memory work and to diversity-oriented future design.   

The GIP 'Diversity and Memory. Transculturality between Germany, Namibia and South Africa' continues the GIP between German Studies at the University of Tübingen and the University of Namibia, which has been in existence since 2021, and expands it with German Studies at the University of Pretoria to include another partner from southern Africa. The aim of the GIP is to work for a socially relevant and future-oriented German Studies in all three partner universities. 

In the approved funding phase (2023-2025), joint linguistic, literary and didactic teaching units will be developed in the thematic field of 'Diversity and Memory', the described thematic field will be researched and implemented in joint teaching and research projects.

To the introduction of the participating institutes


Workshops & Online-Meetings

  • GIP-Workshop at the University of Pretoria (12.-15. April 2023)
  • Zoom-Working meeting 30.01.2023 

Working Groups

Group I (Doreen Bryant, Johannes Hendrik van der Westhuizen & Gerda Wittmann): Language awareness and performative regional studies.

Group II (Meja Ikobwa, Sigrid G. Köhler & Sylvia Schlettwein): Decoloniality and Literature, Traumas & Spatialities, and Creative Writing.

Group III (Dorothee Kimmich, Stephan Mühr & Marianne Zappen-Thomson): Diversity of Memory Cultures in Windhoek Urban Space, Race & Passing, and Agency & Decolonial Spatial Orders.

Topic Based Teaching & Co-Teaching

Sigrid G. Köhler: Oberseminar: Deutsch-togoische Kolonialgeschichte in der Literatur. (SoSe 23)

Publications (in German)

Editorship in preparation:

Belonging: Geschichten, Räume und Praktiken der Zugehörigkeit in namibischer, deutscher und französischer Literatur und Kultur, erscheint als Sonderteil der Acta Germanica. German Studies in Africa (2023) [hg. von Sigrid G. Köhler, Julia Rebholz und Marianne Zappen-Thomson]. 

Articles in preparation (all: Belonging: Acta Germanica 2023) : 

  • Sigrid G. Köhler, Julia Rebholz, Marianne Zappen-Thomson: Einleitung
  • Dorothee Kimmich: Versprechen und Verbrechen von ‚Belonging‘:  Mythische, historische und literarische Narrative von Mobilität und Zugehörigkeit
  • Marianne Zappen-Thomson: Woher komme ich? Wer bin ich und wo gehöre ich eigentlich hin? Das Problem der Zugehörigkeit in Ulla Dentlingers Autobiographie Where Are You From? – ‘Playing White’ under Apartheid
  • Stephan Mühr: Ambivalenzen namibischer Zugehörigkeit in Musikvideos von Ees
  • Sigrid G. Köhler & Julia Rebholz: Geschichte(n) imaginieren – Zugehörigkeit erzählen.  Epistemische Erweiterung des Erzählens bei Olivia Wenzel und Sharon Dodua Otoo
  • Julia Gambadatoun: Afropäische Identitäten bei Léonora Miano und Jackie Thomae


Here you can find the activities of the first phase of the GIP 2020-2022 between the German Department of the University of Tübingen and the German Section of the University of Namibia. Due to Covid-19, only a part of the planned activities could be implemented.


  • Networking Workshop Tübingen 25.-28. April 2022
  • ‚Diversity and Belonging in Contemporary Literature, Culture and Media' /Tübingen, October 21-23, 2021. Program


  • ‚Colonial Museum‘ /Januar 2022
  • ‚Digital Teaching‘ /Juni 2021
  • ‚Diversity und Belonging‘ /Mai 2021

Topic Based Teaching and Co-Teaching:

  • Stephan Mühr: Blood and Soil. Afrikanisch-european dynamics of the concept of land ownership using the example of Namibia. Guest lecture, 26.04.2022, in the context of the research colloquium: Epistemologies of the South by Sigrid G. Köhler. 
  • Julia Augart und Sigrid G. Köhler: Hauptseminar: Colonialism and Cultural Memory: German and Namibian Perspectives (from H. Witbooi to L. Fels), online seminar in BA with joint teaching units with BA students from Tübingen and Windhoek.. (SuSe 21) 
  • Sigrid G. Köhler: Oberseminar: Postcolonialism in contemporary literature (WiSe 20/21)