Black Europe? Some views from Afro-Surinamese migrants in the Netherlands

Today, when comes to racism and ethnicity-based discriminations, the attention of European media and policymakers is predominantly on discriminations against Muslims, Roma and other minorities. Instead, the preoccupation of people who consider they are oppressed because of their skin colour generally remains without a response. This paper thus contributes to the discussion around the specificities of discrimination based on people’s skin colour, and what this means for society in general and, especially, for the people who experience it in person. These are also the concerns of the scholars who have elaborated the notion of a ‘Black Europe’ that I am choosing as reference framework with the aim of drawing attention to the question of blackness and to the way it affects the experience of migration to Europe.

In order to do this, I will refer to the subjective experience of a group of women who migrated from Suriname to the Netherlands during the 60s and 70s. As I will show, this group shares the common self-identifications of Blacks and at the same time of postcolonial migrants – as was the case for many of those who migrated to Europe from former colonies. Moreover, these women have in common the fact that they found employment in the domestic work sector in the city of Rotterdam. Their memories are a small and yet significant example of the negotiations that Black migrants in Europe have made in order to resist the race-based discriminatory attitudes they encountered after their arrival. […]

[CFP] From Sodomy Laws to Same-Sex Marriage: Coupling, Questions of ‘Nature’, and the State, 1786-2015

The idea that certain sexual acts were ‘unnatural’ goes back to Antiquity and by the Middle Ages had been formalised in the European world through Christian doctrine and canon law. It was absorbed into the laws of a number of modern European states, and exported legislatively to much of the world through colonial expansion. Looking back from 2014, the shift from severe punitive measures for sex ‘against nature’ to the recent introduction of same-sex marriage laws in close to twenty nations across five continents must rank as one of the fullest revolutions of official attitudes in modern history. It is a revolution that begs many broad questions. This conference seeks to develop fresh, historically-informed, international perspectives on coupling – broadly understood – as a phenomenon poised between ‘nature’ and state regulation, from the late eighteenth century to the present. […]

Events in the wake of International Women’s Day

The 8th of March is International Women’s Day. On this occasion GRaSe, the Max Weber Centre, the Robert Schumann Centre for Advanced Studies and the departments of Law and History and Civilization present two events on gendered, sexual and racial discrimination on Wednesday 12 March. In the morning, GRaSe will host the session “Gender and […]