The role of civil society in the functioning of society and the state has long been a subject of not only political science research but also a broader public debate in Germany. The fact that politics also recognizes the importance of civil society organizations is evident, among other things, in financial support for such engagement from government funds. However, it is not widely known in Germany that in many Sub-Saharan African countries, a vibrant civil society has developed in recent years. Nevertheless, civil society engagement in its various forms also plays a significant role in addressing and dealing with conflicts and in the debate on societal consensus there.
In these contributions as part of the interdisciplinary conference “German-African Dialogue,” the topic was approached from various perspectives (art history, ethnology, politics, and civil society). We examine the role of performing arts in the German-African dialogue through concrete examples, the question of decolonizing European art collections, the role of art in conflict resolution, and the artistic renaissance in Africa. In doing so, we aim to analyze the similarities and differences in civil society organization and action forms in Germany and Africa.
(For non-German speakers: Videos with German audio can be watched using the automatic subtitle translation, found under the gear menu on YouTube.)