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Tuesday, April 24
 

10:15am PDT

Wir Sind Hier! (We Are Here!): The Impact Of 1940s And 1950s African American Media Representation On The Visibility Of The German “Brown Babies”
In the midst of the Allied occupation of Germany during and after World War II, the American and German governments both hid from the public a “racial problem.” This problem was the mixed race children of black GIs and white European women. These children were known as “brown babies” in the United States and as “Mischlingskinder” in Germany, a pejorative term meaning “mutt children.” The German government concluded that the solution to this “problem” was to encourage the mothers of these children to put them up for international adoption. The only news publications in the United States that addressed this adoption process were African American magazines such as Ebony, Hue, and Jet. Mainstream media in the United States at the time remained silent on the stories of Afro-German children and the possibility of transnational adoption. Through the analysis of articles from these publications, this paper serves to exemplify that from the late 1940s to the 1950s, African American newspapers addressed Afro-German adoption because they were human interest stories that depicted racial transgression. Ultimately, these publications both further encouraged transnational adoption of “brown babies” while also serving as a criticism of the racism and discrimination within both American and German culture that resulted in their experienced cultural displacement.

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Tuesday April 24, 2018 10:15am - 10:35am PDT
014 Whiteside Hall

10:35am PDT

Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Evolution Of Spirit Communication From Séances To Spirit Photography In Nineteenth Century America
This paper examines the link between séances and spirit photography as an evolution from faith in Spiritualism, to the experience of the séance, to the physical object of faith found in spirit photography. When broken down, séances and spirit photography provide roughly the same product, a connection to deceaded loved ones, but with the latter being tangible and the former more indirect. There is an explicit connection between the two spiritual phenomenon. Spirit photography was able to develop out of the séance thanks to the advances in photography and the mass death caused by the American Civil War. This paper looks at this development step by step beginning with a basis in Spiritualism, the originating religion, moving on to a discussion of séances as a comforting activity for the bereaved. It followings up with some of the major advances in photography that made it both extremely popular and a commodity with an examination of the effects of the Civil War on the culture surrounding death and mourning, looking specifically at the commodification of mourning and the beginnings of photography’s popularity. Out of these elements, there is a culmination within spirit photography that draws on the same benefits of séances, the tangibility that photographs allowed, and the comfort needed by thousands due to the Civil War.

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Tuesday April 24, 2018 10:35am - 10:55am PDT
014 Whiteside Hall