Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Cologne, Institute for North American History
Website URL
Adoption Studies, Childhood Studies, Cultural History, North American History, African American History, Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies, Black German History, Commodity & Consumption
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Silke is an Associate Professor at the Department of North American History at University of Cologne, Germany. She specializes in 20th century Childhood and Adoption Studies, African American History, Commodity History, and Black Diaspora Studies. Currently, Silke is working on a manuscript titled “Colorblind Love or Racial Responsibility? The Adoption of Black German Children to Postwar America,” which analyzes the contested debates the transnational adoption of Black German children elicited in the (African) American community, from civil rights organizations, to social work professionals and individual adoption advocates. Her forthcoming publications include book chapters on Sojourner Truth, gendered occupation after World War II, the construction of German Shepherds as police dogs as well as the edited volume Adopting Children across Race and Nations: Histories and Legacies with Ohio State University Press. Silke serves as a board member for the book series “Imagining Black Europe” at Peter Lang Publishing. Her research has been generously supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Thyssen Foundation, the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY), the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture (ASAC), the University of Cologne, and the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. Her work has also been featured in the New York Times, on Deutschlandfunk and in blogs and podcasts.

Recent Publications

A selection of her publications include Chocolate and Blackness: A Cultural History (Campus, 2017); “’These Black Americans Appear to Be the Color of Chocolate or Walnut or Caramel‘. Zu Schokolade als racial signifier und Konstruktionen von Schwarzsein in den USA des 20. Jahrhunderts” in Historische Anthropologie, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2017; “’I identify primarily as a Black German in America:’ Race, Bürgerrechte und Adoptionen in den USA der 1950er Jahre,“ in Kinder des Zweiten Weltkrieges – Stigmatisierung, Ausgrenzung und Bewältigungsstrategien (Campus, 2016); “Der Sarotti-M*** (1918/1922), oder: Was hat Konsum mit Rassismus zu tun?“ in Race & Sex: Eine Geschichte der Neuzeit (Neofelis Verlag, 2016); “’To Highlight my Beautiful Chocolate Skin.’ The Cultural Politics of the Racial Epidermis,” in Probing the Skin: Cultural Representations of our Contact Zone (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015); “In the Doing of Hair, One Does Race: Afroamerikanische Hairstyles als Technologien des Selbst” in Das schöne Selbst. Zur Genealogie des modernen Subjekts zwischen Ethik und Ästhetik (Transcript, 2009).

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
Germany, United States, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
Modern, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Children & Youth, Colonialism, Family, Food History, Gender, Race, Women, World War II