Who we are

Founded in 2014, the Black Central European Studies Network (BCESN) is a network of historians spread across four different time zones and located on two different continents.

Managing editors:

Jeff Bowersox
Jeff is a Lecturer in German History in the School of European Languages, Culture & Society at University College London, UK. His research and teaching interests include colonialism, the Black Diaspora in Germany, race and popular culture in the 19th century, and the history of toys. He also administers the website.

Kira Thurman
Kira is an Assistant Professor of German and History at the University of Michigan, USA. Her research focuses on the relationship between music, race, and national identity in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. She is currently writing her first book on the history of black musicians in Germany and Austria in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Contributors and Advisors:

Robbie Aitken
Robbie is a Reader in History at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. His research and teaching interests include the history of the Black Diaspora in Germany, European colonialism, and constructions of race in pre-1945 Europe.

Tiffany Florvil
Tiffany is an Assistant Professor of 20th-Century European Women’s and Gender History at the University of New Mexico, USA, where she specializes in the histories of post-1945 Germany, the African diaspora, gender and sexuality, and emotions. She is the Co-Chair of the Black Diaspora Studies Network at the German Studies Association, the Network Editor for H-Emotions, an Advisory Board Member and a Network Editor for H-Black Europe, and a Network Member of the Young Scholars Network Black Diaspora and Germany. She is currently working on her manuscript which analyzes the Black German movement of the 1980s and 1990s.

Marina Jones
Marina is Faculty-in-Residence at the Max Kade House and German Lecturer in the Department of German Language and Literatures at Oberlin College, USA. Her teaching and research interests include African Diaspora Studies (particularly Afro-German Studies), Migrant Literature, Modern European History, Women’s and Gender History, Film History, Foreign Languages, and Translation.

Philipp Khabo Koepsell
Philipp is a Berlin-based poet, playwright, novelist, musician, and performance artist. Crossing traditional lines of medium and genre, he works to promote a future-oriented, proactive vision of  Afro-European culture. His work deals with the themes of Black identities, Afrofuturism, colonialism, and empowerment.

Kristin Kopp
Kristin is an Associate Professor of German Studies and Affiliated Faculty in Black Studies at the University of Missouri, USA. Her research and teaching interests include colonialism and postcolonialism in Central Europe and the history of the Black diaspora in Germany and Austria.


We would also like to give special thanks to Rudolf Amman and Julia Alcamo, who have been indispensable to the production of this website, and to the University of Southern Missisippi, the University of Michigan’s library staff–especially Justin Joque and Mara Blake–and the UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching for generous financial support at various stages of our work.


Impressum: Blackcentraleurope.com may be used for educational or private use without restriction. While much of the material on this site is in the public domain, some of it has been shared with us by copyright holders on the condition that it not be published in any form without their express permission. Although we have tried to contact all copyright holders, in some cases it has not been possible to identify or contact them. If you have any questions about rights or use of the material on the site, please contact us at blackcentraleurope@gmail.com.