Alexander L. Compton

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A.A. Bluegrass Community and Technical College, 2015
B.A. in History, University of Kentucky, 2018
B.A. in German Studies, University of Kentucky, 2018
M.A. in History, Emory University, Summer 2021

Research Interests

Modern German and European History
Black German and Black European Studies
Comparative Diaspora Studies
Race, Gender, and Sexuality
Colonialism, Decolonization, and Postcolonial Studies

Dissertation Title

"Radical Diasporists: Black Activism in Postwar Germany and the Global Struggle to Decolonize Europe"

Faculty Advisor

Astrid M. Eckert
Tehila Sasson
Michelle M. Wright


I am a doctoral candidate and scholar of modern German, European, and global history, who specializes in Black German and Black European studies as well as the study of “race,” gender, sexuality, empire, decolonization, and diaspora broadly conceived. My dissertation project analyzes histories of Black diasporic activism in divided and reunified Germany. Specifically, it examines how Black survivors of Nazi persecution, Black postwar migrants and sojourners, and Black individuals born in Germany after 1945 have shaped critical discourses of “race,” empire, migration, memory, and national identity up to the present day. By exploring what it meant to be Black in Germany for individuals across various spacetimes, my project critically addresses how Black diasporic activists have negotiated and contested views of “race” and Blackness in German public spheres as part of local and transnational developments such as decolonization, the Cold War, and European integration. Reassessing the entangled development and impact of postwar German politics and memory cultures, my project also seeks to trace how transnational exchanges of historical and experiential knowledge between Black communities in Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Eastern Europe, and the Atlantic World have prompted new discourses of memory and political imaginaries, which have culminated in the formation of a Black European consciousness as well as a global struggle to decolonize Europe.