Breaking Silence is back! A team of eight students at the Department of American Studies interested in furthering the conversation about racism, anti-racism, and allyship in Austria and beyond is continuing the project, which was originally founded by students in the spring of 2021. Back in the spring, the project started with a two-week Instagram challenge and a public outreach project (see information on the project’s Instagram account and a blog on Medium) to help the public have difficult conversations and learn more about privilege and discrimination in our daily lives. In the fall semester of 2021, a new team continues to “break the silence” in the form of podcast episodes, now available via Spotify, Anchor, and YouTube.
The students who continue this project are motivated to engage in the discussion in more depth and share what they have learned (and are still learning) with the public by talking to people who are involved in anti-racism work and activism. Their enthusiasm about these important social topics originated during a university course taught by Dr. Simone Adams entitled “Topics in American Cultural Studies (How to Study Race, Racism, and (White) Privilege: Concepts and Contributions of American Studies)”.
Students produced a total of six podcast episodes, some in English and some in German. They range in length from 15 to 25 minutes and are aimed at educators, students, and the general public. The guests on the podcast include Laís Clemente and Antonia Pohlmann who are representing the previous Breaking Silence group, activist Chantal Bamgbala, writer Susmita Paul, Mag. Pauline Riesel Soumaré from the Antidiskriminierungsstelle Steiermark, and Dagmar Nöst from the Begegnungszentrum Graz-Süd (BeGS).
The project was generously supported by the Department of American Studies, die Anti-Bias Zirkel, and the Studienrichtungsvertretung Anglistik/Amerikanistik at the University of Graz.
Podcast episodes will remain freely available for others to share and work with, because – as the group emphasizes – “it’s important to continue to break the silence”.
Written by Christina Brenn and Corina Meitz