Mobilizing Black Germany

Afro-German Women and the Making of a Transnational Movement
Author: Tiffany N. Florvil
The women and groups behind Black German thought and resistance of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries
Cloth – $110
Paper – $26.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 12/28/2020
Cloth: 12/28/2020
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About the Book

In the 1980s and 1990s, Black German women began to play significant roles in challenging the discrimination in their own nation and abroad. Their grassroots organizing, writings, and political and cultural activities nurtured innovative traditions, ideas, and practices. These strategies facilitated new, often radical bonds between people from disparate backgrounds across the Black Diaspora.

Tiffany N. Florvil examines the role of queer and straight women in shaping the contours of the modern Black German movement as part of the Black internationalist opposition to racial and gender oppression. Florvil shows the multifaceted contributions of women to movement making, including Audre Lorde’s role in influencing their activism; the activists who inspired Afro-German women to curate their own identities and histories; and the evolution of the activist groups Initiative of Black Germans (ISD) and Afro-German Women (ADEFRA). These practices and strategies became a rallying point for isolated and marginalized women (and men) and shaped the roots of contemporary Black German activism.

Richly researched and multidimensional in scope, Mobilizing Black Germany offers a rare in-depth look at the emergence of the modern Black German movement and Black feminists’ politics, intellectualism, and internationalism.

Watch the book launch event featuring Tiffany N. Florvil in conversation with Keisha N. Blain

About the Author

Tiffany N. Florvil is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of New Mexico.


"Mobilizing Black Germany is thus a powerful work not only because it exposes how German society is shot through with racism, but also because it recognizes German culture as a site of Black literary and artistic expression." --Los Angeles Review of Books

"Offers tantalizing glimpses of what solidarities are possible today, what has caused them to break down, and how we can define freedom in a way that gives access to the most people." --Public Books

"Tiffany N. Florvil's book Mobilizing Black Germany: Afro-German Women and the Making of a Transnational Movement . . . is the first book to address the growth of the Initiative of Black Germans (Initiative Schwarze Deutsche, ISD) and Afro-German Women (Afrodeutsche Frauen, ADEFRA) founded in 1985 and 1986, respectively . . . groundbreaking." --H-Net Reviews

"Indispensable." --German Quarterly

"A thrilling work. . . .Mobilizing Black Germany shows us that the work of Black German activists and intellectuals created, nurtured, and sustained a movement in the 1980s that is still at the heart of Black activism in Germany today." --American Historical Review

"Florvil's book is a model for an expansive history of feminism. . . . Mobilizing Black Germany shows that the work of Black German women cannot be ignored if historians want to trace changing understandings of gender and racial inequality in Germany and Europe." --GHIL Bulletin

"Florvil's book is a powerful statement on how marginalized communities overcome victimization, write themselves into the text of a nation and make themselves visible on an international stage. . . . The book also mobilizes hope that through solidarity, national historical narratives can be challenged, reshaped, and indeed redefined by minoritized and marginalized communities." --Monatshefte

"Mobilizing Black Germany is a book not confined to any particular discipline, in terms of its relevance and usefulness. Scholars and educators in a variety of fields and at various levels of education will be glad to have Mobilizing Black Germany, as Florvil's research is highly interdisciplinary." --Middle Ground Journal

"Compellingly written, extensively researched, and gracefully delivered, Mobilizing Black Germany makes a significant contribution to the field of Black German studies and constitutes a vital resource for those engaged in Black European studies, and intellectual history, and German studies alike. The monograph will surely remain an invaluable archival resource for generations to come." --Feminist German Studies

"This foundational book gestures toward the importance of avenues that German scholarship has yet to explore." --German Studies Review


"At long last, the book we have been waiting for--not just for scholars of Afrodeutsch/Black German Studies, or even Afropean and Black European Studies: Florvil's magisterial Mobilizing Black Germany is a must-read for all scholars of the Black and African diasporas who are interested in the history of Black activism. Mobilizing Black Germany takes you to the very beginning of the Afrodeutsch movement, some years before Audre Lorde's arrival, and puts you right inside. Florvil's deep research crafts an unforgettable history rich with famous figures who stride the global stage and local heroes whose sacrifices and achievements were no less monumental."--Michelle M. Wright, author of Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology

"Tiffany N. Florvil does more than offer brilliant and original accounts of black feminist and queer activists and organizations in Germany from the 1980s through the 2000s. Her beautifully written and thoroughly engaging book provides a powerful and compelling analytical framework for expanding the geographic parameters of the African Diaspora and for centering gender, sexualities, and women to forging black internationalism."--Erik S. McDuffie, author of Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism


A Black Perspectives Best Black History Book of 2020
&#8226, Honorable Mention, Best Book in Literature/Cultural Studies, DAAD/GSA Book Prize in Literature and Culture Studies, German Studies Association, 2021
&#8226, Finalist, ASWAD Outstanding First Book Prize, Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora, 2021
&#8226, Winner, WCGS Book Prize for Best First Book, Waterloo Centre for German Studies, 2021