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Sara Elizabeth Pugach
California State University, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA 90032-4226)
African Students and the Politics of Race in the German Democratic Republic, 1957-1990

This study will be a book-length history of African students in the former German Democratic Republic. I plan to research the students’ lives before, during, and after their experience in the GDR. I am interested in the question of race and whether perceptions of racial difference in communist East Germany remained consistent with those of previous eras, or underwent a radical shift after 1945. However, I also insist that the issue of race must be embedded within the much broader political context of the Cold War and decolonization, which are seminal for understanding how Africans approached the GDR, as well as how East Germans interacted with Africans living in their country. Racist sentiments coexisted uneasily alongside the doctrine of international solidarity in socialism sanctioned by East Germany’s Socialist Unity Party (SED), and transmitted among exchange student populations by the socialist Free German Youth (FDJ).

Project fields:
European History

Awards for Faculty

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2013 – 8/31/2014