S. Förster, S. Frank, G. Krajewsky, J. Schwerer:
"Negotiating German Colonial Heritage in Berlin´s African Quarter";
International Journal of Heritage Studies,
Conceptualising heritage as a contested process of past-based meaning production in the present, this paper analyses the ongoing dispute over street names in Berlin´s Afrikanisches Viertel. In 1899, Berlin named two of its newly-built streets Togo Street and Cameroon Street. Togo and Cameroon had been proclaimed the first German colonies in 1884. By 1958, 22 Berlin streets had been named after African regions that had been colonised by the German Empire or after German colonial protagonists. In 2004, several NGOs called for the renaming of some of these streets, igniting a fierce dispute over the heritage status of the German colonial past. Drawing on guided interviews and document analyses, we analyse this debate on three levels, showing how the NGOs and their claims have been marginalised on each level. While the level of agency can be traced back to the different positioning of the actors in the political field, the levels of temporality and spatiality belong to the realm of ideas about the world and one´s place in it. By exploring the authoritative power of traditional notions of permanence, and of place and space, this paper seeks to bring temporality and spatiality into the focus of those studying heritage-making practices.
Colonialism, spatiality, temporality, Africa, Berlin, heritage
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