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Exploring the (in)visibilities of Blackness in Europe: an interdisciplinary and transnational discussion

Add to calendar 2022-02-22 17:00 2022-02-22 19:00 Europe/Rome Exploring the (in)visibilities of Blackness in Europe: an interdisciplinary and transnational discussion Online YYYY-MM-DD


22 February 2022

17:00 - 19:00 CET



This event, as part of Black History Month Florence (BHMF), features a conversation with Bolaji Balogun (University of Sheffield), Michael McEachrane (Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights, Sweden), Marie Moise (Stanford University, Florence) and SA Smythe (UCLA).

Many European countries are thought of as homogeneously white. This applies even more to countries that did not actively participate in European colonialism in the nineteenth and twentieth century (such as Eastern European and Scandinavian countries). This is also the case of countries which continue to consider their colonial past as minor and inconsequential, such as Italy. In reality, even former great imperial powers like France and Britain, despite their undeniable colonial legacy, frequently struggle to acknowledge and treat equally the large numbers of non-white people that are part of their population. In many cases, Black minorities in Europe not only suffer prejudices and a lack of representation (the issue of diversity within European academia being a flagrant example), they are quite often regarded as foreigners , despite have been born on the continent or having been granted European citizenship.

The presence of people of African descent in Europe has a long, yet poorly known, history that extends long before recent migration movements. Black European experiences are heterogeneous, and they diverge in many aspects from the US context where Black Studies have since the 1970s focused on slavery and racial segregation. Black European Studies constitute an emerging, but still marginal, field of research. However, by making sense of the plurality of Blackness in Europe, these studies complicate the notions of race, diaspora and identities. Moreover, researching the lived experience of people of African descent in Europe constitutes an opportunity to transform the relationship between the university and the wider community, and to rethink the way academic knowledge is produced.

This roundtable will bring together scholars working on different national contexts in order to stimulate an interdisciplinary debate on Blackness in Europe. It aims to question the different aspects of Black (in)visibilities in Europe and to discuss common points and specific features of various national situations. Moreover, this interdisciplinary event will be an opportunity to reflect on the development of Black Studies in different countries.


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