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On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives

UCLA Department of African American Studies

On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational...
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Thursday, October 10th RSVP 1 hour before event starts Free  
Friday, October 11th RSVP 1 hour before event starts Free  

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On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives

Thursday, October 10th, 2019 and Friday, October 11th, 2019

UCLA Charles E. Young Grand Salon (Kerckhoff Hall)


“On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives” is a two-day international symposium taking place at UCLA on October 10-11, 2019. The symposium seeks to dismantle the perceived homogeneity of Black transnational and anticolonial experiences by attending to how various struggles for Black lives unfold. Scholars, artists, and activists will discuss articulations of relational Black solidarities and struggles for Black lives across Europe, foregrounding less-explored paradigms of Black formations, creations, improvisations, and struggles throughout Europe and beyond. Participants will engage with the lived experiences of Blackness and Black political struggles across various geopolitical sites and dynamic encounters within the European context. Further, this even will interrogate the power relations at work within academic scholarship that determines what becomes monolithically referred to as “Black Europe.” The symposium will feature a keynote address from Gloria Wekker (Utrecht University).


8:30am Invocation/Welcome


9:30am-11:00am Panel One: Fugitive Memories, Black Spatialities | Moderated by Robin D.G. Kelley, UCLA

  • Raphaëlle Rabanes (Berkeley), “Resounding the Presence of the Ancestors: Guadeloupean Carnival, Movement Politics, and the Fraught Affirmation of a Black Caribbean TimeSpace”
  • Jamele Watkins (Stanford), “Anger and Silence: Black East German History”
  • Heather Merrill & Donald Carter (Hamilton), “Blackness Ascendant: Place, Loss, and Memory”

11:10am-12:40pm Panel Two: Black Movement Formations |Moderated by Margo Okazawa-Rey (Mills)

  • Pamela Ohene-Nyako (Geneva), “Internationalist Women of African Descent & Blackness, 1970-1985”
  • Oda-Kange Midtvåge Diallo (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), “Creating ‘Black’ Spaces - How African-Norwegian (Everyday) Activists Try to Build a Sustainable Community in Oslo”
  • Jean Beaman (UCSB), “Anti-Racism without Race: The Possibilities and Constraints of BlackLivesMatter in France” 

12:45pm-2:00pm Lunch                                                                                                      


2:10pm-3:50pm Panel Three: Speaking B(l)ack with/and the Archives |Moderated by Shelleen Greene, UCLA

  • Black Speaks Back: “Kreyolization: Resisting Assimilation Violence” (9’)
  • Emma-Lee Amponsah (Ghent University) and Esther Mugambi (Artist), “Kreyolization: Resisting Assimilation Violences in Dutch and Flemish Education”
  • Jessica de Abreu (The Black Archives) and Mitchell Esajas (New Urban Collective), “The Black Archives: The Genealogy of Anti-Racism in the Netherlands”
  • Moderator: Shelleen Greene (UCLA)       

3:45pm-4:00pm Break


4:00pm-5:30pm Panel Four: Black Poesis and Aesthetic Mediations in Europe| Moderated by Eddie Bruce-Jones, Birkbeck)

  • Jeannette Oholi (Gießen), “Negotiating Blackness in Contemporary Afro-German Poetry”
  • Tonica Hunter & Adia Trischler (Artist Collective), “SERIES: BLACK”
  • Bam Willoughby (Cornell)

5:30pm Closing Remarks: Gaye Theresa Johnson, UCLA



9:00am-10:30am Panel Five: Subverting Stages and Spaces| Moderated by Ugo Edu, UCLA

  • Obenewaa Oduro-Opuni (Arizona State), “Transnational Points of Contact: 18th Century German Abolitionist Theater”
  • Mélanie Pétrémont (Geneva), “Laughing Back at Racism and Whiteness in Europe”
  • Jeannette Ehlers (Artist) & Elizabeth Löwe Hunter (Berkeley), “The Aftermath of Danish Colonialism”

10:40am-12:10pm Panel Six: Racialized Knowledges | Moderated by Yasemin Yildiz, UCLA

  • Gian-Louis Hernandez (Università della Svizzera italiana), “Black European PhD Students: An Affective Inquiry”
  • Zavier Wingham (NYU), “‘Eating the Other’: Metaphors of the Racialized Body in Turkey”      
  • Tiffany Florvil (New Mexico), “Black German Cultural Interventions in the Magazine afro look

12:15pm-1:30pm Lunch


1:40pm-3:00pm Borderscapes, Colonial Memories, and Policing the Crisis | Moderated by Stephen Small, UC Berkeley

  • Furat Abdulle, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
  • Eddie Bruce-Jones, Birkbeck School of Law
  • SA Smythe, UCLA
  • Vanessa E. Thompson, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

3:00pm-3:15pm Break

3:15pm-4:45pm Keynote Speaker: Gloria Wekker (Utrecht)

4:45pm-5:30pm Thinking Black Studies in Europe: Collective Reflections

5:30pm-6:30pm Reception

More details to be announced.



“On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives” is sponsored by the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI); the UCLA Department of African American Studies, the UCLA Department European Languages and Transcultural Studies; UCLA Dean of Humanities; UCLA Dean of Social Sciences; the Institute on Inequality and Democracy; the Center for the Study of Women; the Center for the Study of Religion; and the UCLA Department of Anthropology, the UCLA Department of Gender Studies, the UCLA Department of Geography, the UCLA Department of History, the UCLA Department of Philosophy, the UCLA Department of Sociology, and Theater Department.

Have questions about On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives? Contact UCLA Department of African American Studies

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When & Where

Charles E. Young Grand Salon (Kerckhoff Hall)
308 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095


UCLA Department of African American Studies

UCLA Department of African American Studies

Phone Number: 310-825-9821
Mailing Address: 1308 Rolfe Hall P.O. Box 951545, Los Angeles, CA 90095

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