Black History Month 2022
February 2022 will be the first Black History Month (BHM) at the EUI.
What is Black History Month?
Born in 1970 in the US in the aftermath of the Civil Rights movement, Black History Month was conceived as a way of remembering Black people’s contributions to the history of the nation. Nowadays, while BHM is widely celebrated (but also commercialised) in the US and the UK, it remains marginal in continental Europe. However, in 2016 local artists and scholars in Florence founded Black History Month Florence (BHMF), a cross-institutional network for Black cultural production that promotes the diversity of Afro-descendent cultures in the context of Italy.
Why Black History Month at the EUI?
The celebration of BHM at the EUI is an initiative that comes from researchers of African descent who believe in the need to make Black European history visible, to stimulate a reflection on the notion of race and to address the structural imbalances that continue to shape the experience of Black people in Europe. At the EUI, the Diversity Committee was created and a Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusiveness was appointed in September 2021. On the research front, a research cluster on ‘Eurocentricism’ was also recently established in addition to the (bottom-up) Decolonising Initiative, which aims to create a space for reflections on academic practices and to trigger institutional changes. This anti-racist initiative brings together researchers, fellows, professors, academic staff, and teachers from the language centre willing to reflect on knowledge production and to address structural imbalances that are rooted in colonial pasts.
This year the EUI researchers collaborated with the EUI Library, the central Communication Service, and other members of the EUI academic community to organise several initiatives.
- The Library will host a little exhibition on the ground floor, which highlights some of the greatest Black thinkers.
- We have curated a reading list with relevant Library books, eBooks and publications by EUI members (on Cadmus). Those parts of the collection about Black History are signposted and visible inside the Library.
- Library social media will focus on Black History book recommendations. Not only do we have academic books, but we have also members of the EUI community recommending novels and non-fiction. Find them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
- Two interviews will be broadcast on Radio Cavolo: the first interview will see the participation of Khalil West, researcher at the Department of History and Civilisation, and Nduta Njenga, Policy Leader Fellow at the School of Transnational Governance; the second is centered around Justin Randolph Thompson, new media artist, cultural facilitator, educator co-founder of BHM Florence and Ruth Gbipki, Librarian at the EUI. Listen to the podcasts here.
- The EUIdeas blog will host a series of blogposts centered on Black History.
- On 4 February Professor Françoise Vergès will hold a lecture entitled For A Decolonial Feminism: Rethinking Whiteness, Eurocentrism and Gender.
- The roundtable Exploring the (in)visibilities of Blackness in Europe: an interdisciplinary and transnational discussion will take place on 22 February online and 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).
- Roger Steffens will present his book So Much Things to Say: An Oral History of Bob Marley on 24 February .