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“Dreamland”

Black Girls Saying and Creating Space through Fantasy Worlds

S.R. Toliver

Abstract

The rampant murder of Black women and girls in the United States proves that this place is not safe for them. In fact, it is questionable whether any space currently known can be safe when antiblackness and misogynoir are interwoven into the fabric of our world. For this reason, researchers must explore the unbound landscapes Black girls create for themselves in fantastic narratives. In this article, I examine the fantasy short stories of two Black middle school girls who participated in a writing workshop to explore how they resisted spatial control by creating new worlds they had the power to construct and dismantle.

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Hostile Geographies

Black Girls Fight to Save Themselves and the World

Dehanza Rogers

Abstract

In this article, I engage in a parallel reading of the consumption of Black girlhood in speculative fiction in the television series The Passage, and the film The Girl with All the Gifts, and in the classroom. In these texts are nonconsensual attempts to harvest biological materials from Black girls, exhibiting the belief that Black bodies are utilitarian, at best, and meant for consumption. Like these narratives, the classroom consumes Black girls physically along with their futures. I explore how Black girl resistance disrupts such consumption and interrogate texts in which Black girls create narratives for themselves. In these narratives, so-called disposable Black girls map out new cartographies of narrative resistance and new liberatory geographies for their future.

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Introduction

Places of Progress? Technology Museums, Memory, and Education

Christian Kehrt and Daniel Brandau

“Revolutionary” technologies or large technological systems are often deemed controversial, risky, or ambivalent. Diverging interpretations clash when technological objects, such as rockets, airplanes, or nuclear reactors, are exhibited in museums or at heritage sites, with profound implications for underlying concepts of historical education. This special issue explores the argument that histories of technology have often upheld a traditional view of modern linear progress but became the focus of controversies when the social, political, and cultural conditions of perceiving and remembering these objects changed. At former “places of progress,” visitors and exhibition makers are confronted with the remains of the Industrial Revolution, colonialism, two World Wars, the Cold War, the Age of Coal, the Space Age, the Atomic Age and the Digital Age. Exhibitions and displays have been used to explain, teach, or make sense of the advents, successes, and failures of high-tech projects. Understanding technological artifacts and corresponding sites such as Chernobyl, Peenemünde, and Hiroshima as well as structures such as factories or bunkers as sites of memory (lieux de mémoire, a term coined by Pierre Nora) shifts our attention to processes of remembering modern technologies and the cases in which established narratives of progress have been supported or challenged. Questions about the ethics of technology use often seem to subvert stories of the “heroes of invention,” leaving visitors with the impression of technological ambivalence. Attempts to teach and learn about history and technology via objects and sites have been complicated, politicized, and contested.

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Peenemünde Contested

Remembering Second World War Technologies in Rural East Germany from 1984 to 1992

Daniel Brandau

Abstract

Given Peenemünde's ambivalent military and technological history, from rocket development during the Nazi period to East German naval and air bases during the Cold War, its musealization was considered both a chance and challenge during the region's deindustrialization in the 1990s. Local residents’ support of veteran engineers promoting an apologetic view of Nazi rocketry was met with bewilderment. However, a space park project and anniversary event were spearheaded by government and industry representatives, turning a regional affair into an international controversy. The article analyzes the function of memory work and the remembrance of technological progress in rural northeastern Germany before and after German reunification. Based on archival sources and interviews with former officers and museum advocates, it traces the Peenemünde museum project through a history of ideological and biographical caesurae, enthusiasm, political promises, and socioeconomic despair.

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Renewed Possibilities

Showcasing the Lived Realities of Black Girls using Ethnopoetics

Dywanna Smith

Abstract

In this article, I explore how ethnopoetics can be a profound research methodology and can also offer a pathway to self-actualization. When ethnopoetics is combined with a Black feminist/womanist theoretical framework, it allows for Black girls to self-define and self-validate their existence. The verse novel provides an opportunity to communicate Black girls’ and women's feelings and experiences to researchers and educators in accessible ways. It also serves as a platform to grieve, praise, love, and grow. Such work stands in marked contrast to dominant narratives of Black girlhood.

Open access

Ruin of Empire

The Uganda Railway and Memory Work in Kenya

Norman Aselmeyer

Abstract

This article is concerned with the memory of the Uganda Railway in Kenya. Built during the heyday of British imperialism at the end of the nineteenth century, the colonial railway has been a highly contested infrastructure. Drawing on museum exhibitions, public speeches, and publications, the article argues that the main narrative of the railway line as a tool of oppression began to change when the railway infrastructure gradually deteriorated in the mid-twentieth century. I show how three distinct groups (white expatriates, Kenyan-Asians, and Kenya's political elite) were involved in creating a new public memory that popularized the Uganda Railway as a cornerstone of the postcolonial nation. Their uncoordinated but simultaneous efforts toward a new reading of the past all aimed, albeit for different reasons, at reimagining the nation. The article thus shows mechanisms of coming to terms with the colonial past in a postcolonial nation.

Free access

A “Sense of Presence”

The “me of me” in Black Girlhoods

Claudia Mitchell and Ann Smith

We begin by paying tribute to feminist Black scholar, bell hooks, who died 15 December 2021. As the numerous citations in just this issue alone bear witness, she has had a huge influence on feminist ways of thinking particularly in relation to how race, gender, and capitalism intersect. In her well-known essay, “In Our Glory” on Black girlhood and visual culture (hooks 1994), she offers a memory of losing a photograph of herself as a young girl in the 1950s masquerading, as she called it, in full cowgirl regalia.

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Spatializing Black Girlhood

Rap Music and Strategies of Refusal

Asilia Franklin-Phipps

Abstract

In this article, I begin by taking seriously the cultural contributions that Black women and girls make to hip-hop, thereby shifting the sociocultural and political landscape. Black girls and women do this in a variety of ways, but here I focus on how Black women rappers model and perform multiple embodied refusals that expand the possibilities for Black girls. Inspired by the cultural force of the current moment in hip-hop that is increasingly dominated by young Black women, I reflect on how Black women rappers reconstitute space through performance, music, and performances rooted in practices of refusal.

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Taking on the Light

Ontological Black Girlhood in the Twenty-first Century

Renee Nishawn Scott

Abstract

When society invokes Cashawn Thompson's hashtag phrase, “Black Girl Magic,” we laud the accomplishments of Black women and girls as if those triumphs are innate. In this article, I suggest that Black girls participate in a process that I call light making, or embodying that which is lighthearted, encouraging, and self-preserving. In exploring this particular ontology, I deconstruct Black Girl Magic by focusing on contemporary examples of light making as a way of understanding the critical role that Black girls play in Black cultural formation. By focusing on Black girl joy and play in social media, I stress light making as an ontology located in Black girlhood.

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Becoming a Man

Trajectories of Young Gay Men in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Wendell Ferrari and Marcos Nascimento

Abstract

This paper seeks to analyze the affective-sexual trajectories of young gay men in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Based on qualitative research with 15 young, urban, low-income gay men aged between 19 and 24, carried out in 2019, this article shows the learning of masculinity and its consequences on the men's sex lives. As a result, we argue that these young men have been brought up for the exaltation of heterosexuality and being a real man since boyhood; that the pedagogies of masculinity produce hierarchies among gay masculinities; and that the connection with other social markers, such as race, social class, religion, sexual preferences related to being active or passive, and gender expressions, upholds the notion of hegemonic masculinity. Regarding those who escape this pattern, these young men reveal several vulnerabilities and multiple violent acts during their trajectories.