I have to start by saying that the five-year anniversary of the course started out with a bang for a few reasons:
- It’s the first time the course has been full. In fact, we exceeded the maximum enrollment limit of 16 by one student;
- two of my students were able to secure funding to come conduct research—Judy Fisher, Feminist & Gender Studies Major ’20, 2019-2020 Triota President, 2018-2019 Shannon McGee Prize winner, and Fall 2017 #FemGeniusesinBerlin alum came to conduct transnational studies of American Indigeneity; and Mekael Daniel, Feminist & Gender Studies Major ’20 and 2019-2020 Triota Vice President came to conduct transnational studies of Blackness;
- and we were joined by my niece-cousin-boo from Memphis, TN, Kelsey Nichole Mattox, who turned 18 and graduated from high school recently. So, her presence was especially meaningful. In fact, she had never gotten on an airplane until she traveled here, excitedly letting us know, “I decided to go all the way!”
Judy and Mekael arrived the same day I did, and we trekked to Radebeul (near Dresden) to attend the Karl May Festival so Judy could observe, think about, and examine Native American participation in predominantly white festival culture in Germany, as well as white Native American hobbyism. Imagine the raised-eyebrows of every single one of my friends and comrades in Berlin when I told the about this—haha. Judy and Mekael also went to the Great Indian Meeting at the El Dorado theme park in Templin the following weekend to continue Judy’s work. Shoutout to my colleague, Dr. Santiago Ivan Guerra (Associate Professor of Southwest Studies at Colorado College), for introducing Judy to the significance of hobbyism in Germany, illustrating the collective efforts necessary for critical theory work.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that it’s been a while since the #FemGeniusesinBerlin were so full of #BlackGirlMagic (2015 was the last time, to be exact), and I couldn’t have been more excited about that. One adorable and powerful manifestation of that was Avi(a) leading several rounds of “Deep Truth, Truth,” a game that allowed her to bond with her classmates, especially her roommates, but also with Dana and I one day during lunch. “Deep Truth, Truth” starts with someone asking another person if they’d like to share a deep truth or what one might refer to as a “regular” truth. A “regular truth” could be anything from sharing your favorite color to a song that you hate; however, a “deep truth” is usually something that one might not share in a group like this, because lots of us don’t know each other well enough to be comfortable with that kind of vulnerability. Then, once the person being questioned decides what kind of truth they want to share, the questioner asks a question. After the question is answered, the person being questioned then gets to ask another person in the group a question. I got to ask and answer twice (one truth and one deep truth), and learned a lot about the students that day. Neat stuff.
In “short,” the 2019 #FemGeniusesinBerlin were such a great bunch even though we most certainly hit a few snags along the way. Here are some (definitely not all) of the most memorable moments:
- The weather hitting 90F degrees, something I’m pretty sure never happened in years past, and doing so several days each week.
- Bella’s cube bear.
- Mekael, Judy, and I being photographed by a stranger (with consent) at the Karl May Festival and finding the very poorly-filtered but very cute photograph on social media (posted with consent).
- Lauren’s RBF and fierce modeling skills.
- Avia’s phone fan and ridiculous pranks.
- Zander playing Captain Save ‘Em, and gettin’ hollered at all along the way.
- Eileen’s “hey.”
- Nicole being almost entirely silent then shakin’ up the space with the loudest, most hilarious laugh you ever did hear.
- Vang asking to sit on our roof (which would most certainly result in his untimely death), asking about transporting beer back to the U.S., telling us he got “hemmed up by 12” (which turned out to mean he was approached by some ticket-checkers on the subway and allowed to continue his trip with a mere warning…side eye), telling folks about sex stores, and gettin’ hollered at for almost every single thing all along the entire way.
- Discussing the advantages and risks of comparative analysis.
- Mimi’s sneakin’ in and slam-dunking the graffiti workshop brainstorming session.
- Miles’ hair flips, especially because they don’t even have a lot of hair, and lessons in lipstick.
- Caroline “showing off” her knowledge of the German language (see below).
- Matt trolling the entire class almost the entire time and then agreeing to draw a troll during our graffiti workshop.
- DeAira Cooper, 2015 #FemGeniusesinBerlin alum, coming to visit.
- Dr. W. Christopher Johnson, Assistant Professor of History and the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto and husband of our Course Associate Dana Asbury, coming for a visit and joining us for a few sessions.
I could go on and on and on. I will never forget this group. Such a great summer through it all, which led to my new phrases: Must be June. Must be Berlin.
“Jewish Berlin Tour” by Nizhooni Hurd
“Topography of Terror” by Zander Jobin-Leeds
“Jasmin Eding” by Avia Hailey
“German Colonialism Walking Tour” by Mimi Norton de Matos
“Each One Teach One e.V.” by Maysie Poland
“RAA Berlin” by Nicole Berlanga
“RomaniPhen e.V.” by Samuel Vang
“Pořajmos Walking Tour” by Cam Kaplan
“Synchronicity with Sharon Dodua Otoo” by Maggie O’Brien
“Rebellious Berlin Walking Tour” by Bella Staal
“FHXB Museum” by Lauren Hough
“The Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted under Nazism” by Cameron Bacher
“Queer Berlin Walking Tour” by Miles Marshall
“Schwules* Museum” by Eileen Huang
“Trans*sexworks” by Zivia Berkowitz
“Graffiti Workshop with Berlin Massive” by Mekael Daniel
“Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art” by Caroline Livaditis
“Street Art and Graffiti Walking Tour” by Matt FitzGibbon
To read and/or listen to the finales and view the indices and slideshows for previous FemGeniuses in Berlin, click here.
By Miles Marshall
“Untitled” is an excerpt from Queer Space Invaders Manifesto written and illustrated by Emily Burnham, Mekael Daniel, Miles Marshall, and Halle Schall for Block 7 FG114 Introduction to Queer Studies taught by Dr. Rushaan Kumar. This course aims to use an interdisciplinary approach to wrestle with the changing nature of LGBT and Queer as categories and to develop a critical consciousness on LGBTQ issues that recognizes how gender and sexuality are informed by experiences of race, class, and nationality.
“We recognize the radical potentiality of queerness. What better place to start these movements than music, an incredibly accessible art form that carries meaning and connects people? I love queerness, and I love music that represents queerness in all its rainbow glory. I, and the rest of the MUSIQ+ team, couldn’t be more excited for you to dive into the world of queer music. You’re here, and whether or not you’re queer, welcome to MUSIQ+!”
—Miles Marshall, Editor
Click here to read MUSIQ+! Also, scroll down for audio footage of the team’s fascinating interview with Selena the Chapel!
For their final project in FG212/RM200/FM206 Critical Media Studies (Block 4 2018), Miles Marshall, Alethea Tyler, Elliott Williams, Olivia Petipas, and Marco Tapia critiqued print and audiovisual media representing MadeMyDay TV’s “6 Tips for Your First Time” and Society19‘s “11 Things To Expect Your First Time Having Sex.” For the new media creation portion of their project, they created a new poster, infomercial, and revised list. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see their presentation, which further explains their analytical and creation processes.
NOTE: This image was copied from Society19’s “11 Things To Expect Your First Time Having Sex.” Click here to view the list.
NOTE: Click here to read “11 Things You Should Know for Your First Time Having Sex” by Elliott, Miles, Alethea, Olivia, and Marco! There’s even a cool Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure (pun intended)!