Added: Krupa Dugas - Date: 09.11.2021 05:50 - Views: 13780 - Clicks: 7720
Diasporas are often characterised by displacement and otherness, but Afro-Austrians, like diasporas elsewhere, exemplify this simplification. I spent the summer of researching Afro-Austrian identity in Vienna. There was a sentiment of surprise whenever I explained that this meant looking into Black identity in Austria.
After all, it was this underrepresented reality of the Afro-Austrian experience that I was trying to capture in a mere 10, word dissertation. In its inception, my dissertation was going to explore contemporary migrant naturalisation in Austria. I wanted to know what it meant to be Black in a nation whose historical ties to National Socialism, and discriminatory patterns on the basis of ethnicity and race, isolated generations of Black Africans who had settled within its borders. However, the more research I undertook, the more I started to uncover a history of Africans in Austria that dated back to the 14th century.
Highly regarded by the royal family because of his intellectual abilities, Soliman was a part of high-brow Viennese society and shared spaces with contemporaries such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the renowned Viennese composer. His daughter Josephine Soliman bitterly protested the inhumane and undignified treatment of her father, but to no avail. Perhaps to understand, truly, the surprise at uncovering a Black history within this nation some contextual information is useful.
Austria has never been an official coloniser. During the Berlin conference —85European empires split up the African continent in a rush Black people in austria capitalise on its goods and resources. But the Austro-Hungarian Empire was so thoroughly weakened in its financial and administrative capacity at the time that it was unable to attempt colonisation. This is not to say that it failed to reap the benefits of colonial trade, not least because the empire had successfully married members of its royal family into virtually every imperial household.
Still, the result was that Austria never had to confront the uprising of Black Nationalism when African nations began to demand independence in the mid- 20th century. It also never bore the responsibility of facilitating immigration from its colonies. As a result I had never stopped to think that there was a record of Black Austrians dating past the late 20th century.
So what are the implications for understanding the African diaspora here, or indeed anywhere? For one, it pushed me to look beyond the obvious. What was most frustrating about my research was that I kept running up against this idea of diasporas being a people characterised by displacement and otherness. I use quotations to challenge the idea that we as the diaspora exist solely in transit, or exist somehow constantly untethered to a real or imagined home. We are more than strangers in a foreign land. We are influencers, Black people in austria networkers who exist as human infrastructure between people and place.
The identities of the African diaspora in Vienna are slowly coming to light. My dissertation took a turn away from looking at conditions of citizenship among the African diaspora. I wanted to deconstruct the idea that the two entities are mutually exclusive.
I was guided by a quote from Audre Lorde which appeared in the preface of Showing our colours: Afro-German women speak out :. They are not shameful secrets.
It is time to lift the veil and let our stories breathe. Nina, I enjoyed the read and found myself searching for the dissertation online to no avail. I wanted more. Where can I find the dissertation? Thank you in advance. Bad Behavior has blocked access attempts in the last 7 days. Search for:. Nina Grossfurthner April 12th, Lifting the veil on Afro-Austrians 8 comments 30 shares Estimated reading time: 7 minutes.
Angelo Soliman around Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons Austria has never been an official coloniser. About the author Nina Grossfurthner. Posted In: Featured Society. Great read! I would love to read the dissertation! This article left me with wanting to know more.
email: [email protected] - phone:(196) 879-5520 x 1981
3 powerful voices on what it’s like to be black in Austria that you should definitely listen to