This essay focuses on the contemporary German literary public spheres, zooming in on the relation between a republic and its reading public. In the fraught political topography of contemporary Germany, marked by the arrival and eventual acceptance of over one million Syrian refugees since 2015, the rise of the extreme right-wing party Alternatives for Germany, resurgence of discussion on German colonialism in Africa, and extended public debate around the controversial Humboldt Forum in Berlin, the essay centralizes questions of race, colonialism, and migration. Connecting these key terms with current debates on decolonizing and diversifying the literary canon, the essay argues that decolonization is a direction, not a destination; it is a method, not a product, and attempts to decolonize a national literary canon must be conducted in connection with the larger public spheres, indeed by decompartmentalizing the classroom and the society.

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