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Hypersexuality and Headscarves

Race, Sex, and Citizenship in the New Germany

Damani J. Partridge

Publication Year: 2012

In this compelling study, Damani J. Partridge explores citizenship and exclusion in Germany since the fall of the Berlin Wall. That event seemed to usher in a new era of universal freedom, but post-reunification transformations of German society have in fact produced noncitizens: non-white and "foreign" Germans who are simultaneously portrayed as part of the nation and excluded from full citizenship. Partridge considers the situation of Vietnamese guest workers "left behind" in the former East Germany; images of hypersexualized black bodies reproduced in popular culture and intimate relationships; and debates about the use of the headscarf by Muslim students and teachers. In these and other cases, which regularly provoke violence against those perceived to be different, he shows that German national and European projects are complicit in the production of distinctly European noncitizens.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: New Anthropologies of Europe


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Front Matter

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pp. ix-xiv

Writing this book has taken much longer and has been much more arduous than I expected. I would like to begin and end by thanking my daughter, my partner, my mother, my grandmothers, my father, my siblings, my nieces, my aunt, my uncle, my cousins, and my friends for creating an environment that...

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pp. 1-16

As the ’68 generation reaches retirement age, it becomes ever more apparent that Europe needs immigration to support its aging population, but unemployment rates are nearly 50 percent for so-called immigrant youth, many of whom were born in Europe. In this context, Germany and Berlin are not exceptional, ...

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Introduction: Becoming Noncitizens

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pp. 17-28

In 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall seemed to symbolize the ushering in of a new era that would forthrightly introduce universalized bodies to “freedom.” The fact that so many people were “freely” dancing on the Wall apparently proved that human desire had willed this end. But this new freedom and the...

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1. Ethno-patriarchal Returns: The Fall of the Wall, Closed Factories, and Leftover Bodies

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pp. 29-49

Although socialist ideology and its adherents would vehemently make claims to the contrary, under “actually existing socialism” (see Verdery 1996)—in spite of an international rhetoric that claimed understandings of universal rights and belonging—socialism in the national context revealed social differentiation as...

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2. Travel as an Analytic of Exclusion: The Politics of Mobility after the Wall

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pp. 50-71

If consumption was the principal mode of envisioning post-Wall freedom, the ability to travel was the principal signifier of this possibility to consume. Part of the significance of the Wall and the Cold War discourse against it had to do precisely with the fact that it impeded travel, and thus impeded freedom. ...

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3. We Were Dancing in the Club, Not on the Berlin Wall: Black Bodies, Street Bureaucrats, and Hypersexual Returns

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pp. 72-94

The production of noncitizens and their exclusionary incorporation take place in part via the emerging bureaucratic and sovereign status of White German women in club scenes and in their intimate relations with Black diasporic men.1 Intimacy, rights, and residency are negotiated via the (sometimes unwitting)...

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4. The Progeny of Guest Workers as Leftover Bodies: Post-Wall West German Schools and the Administration of Failure

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pp. 95-107

Alongside hypersexuality, another way to examine noncitizenship and processes of exclusionary incorporation is to investigate the position of Muslim, Turkish German, and Turkish youth. In Germany and Europe, the rights of a citizen are intimately connected to expectations of protection and care. While one might assume, as...

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5. Why Can’t You Just Remove Your Headscarf So We Can See You? Reappropriating “Foreign” Bodies in the New Germany

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pp. 108-132

After a brief pause without laughter, the principal added: “It’s just a joke.”
Is the principal’s sentiment really “just a joke,” or is he indicating one of the principal tensions underlying debates about “integration” into Europe? Is accessibility to noncitizen bodies what is really at stake? Are headscarves, speaking...

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Conclusion: Intervening at the Sites of Exclusionary Production

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pp. 133-141

The pleasure and utility of human bodies are not just produced through individual desire, but through technologies that shape individuals into populations, and populations into nations with particular interests. These technologies are the means for managing and producing nation-states and also for creating...

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Epilogue: Triangulated (Non)Citizenship: Memories and Futures of Racialized Production

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pp. 142-153

In 2009, I returned to Berlin with my family for a year of additional research on new projects and to complete this book. In that year, I began to notice a new state interest in a topic that had already emerged in my research: I had observed that students of non-German descent didn’t show up for a tour of a...


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pp. 155-166


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pp. 167-179


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pp. 181-189

Back Matter

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E-ISBN-13: 9780253005311
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253357083

Page Count: 210
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: New Anthropologies of Europe
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OCLC Number: 775866770
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Hypersexuality and Headscarves

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Political anthropology -- Germany.
  • Race discrimination -- Germany.
  • Sex discrimination -- Germany.
  • Citizenship -- Germany.
  • Minorities -- Germany.
  • Foreign workers -- Germany.
  • Post-communism -- Germany.
  • Germany -- History -- Unification, 1990.
  • Germany -- Politics and government -- 1990-.
  • Germany -- Race relations.
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