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Call for Papers: A Second Wave of Anti-Racism In Europe?

  • July 5, 2021


We are pleased to invite paper proposals for the two-day workshop “Antiracism in Europe”, that will take place at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium). The workshop aims to map, archive and theorize past and present antiracism activism in Europe. 

from Thursday 09 December 2021 - 09:00h
to Friday 10 December 2021 - 17:00h



Workshop Abstract:

‘We are witnessing the force and momentum of what can be called a new, second wave of Dutch anti-racism, since the 1980s’ writes Philomena Essed in 2014 (p. 141). Whilst Essed writes about Dutch developments during the past decade, we can observe similar developments elsewhere in Europe. The Black Lives Matter movement of 2020 and far earlier calls to act against islamophobia, to decolonize museums, public spaces and educational institutions all evidence the resurgence of race and racism as a topic forcefully entering public and political debates. These demonstrations, newly emerged collectives and political discourses do not always make it to the history books let alone become part of our collective memory or cultural archives (Wekker, 2016). Therefore, we feel the urgency to map and archive these developments.

What are the emblematic struggles in Europe? Who is doing the organizing, around which claims, what are the means of struggle, what is the theoretical inspiration, and what are the characteristics of the ensuing public debates? Further, we aim to theoretically understand and expand these antiracisms. What kind of understanding of race (substantively and conceptually) is articulated in these antiracisms? Which terminology is used, e.g. who are considered to be ‘people of color’, ‘black’, ‘politically black’ or ‘indigenous’ and what are the implications hereof? How does attentiveness to the colonial history of the respective countries figure in these antiracisms if at all? Finally, we wish to reflect on the epistemological benefit and ethical implications of historicizing European antiracism into different periodical waves and archiving grassroots activities in an overarching context of structural violence. To what extent do European countries experience a second wave of antiracism? Was there ever a first wave? If yes, how do these waves compare? What kind of work this periodization and comparison do? And what are the ethical implications of archiving and mapping antiracism activism?

To explore these and other questions, we invite contributions from activists and academics alike who have shown a commitment to antiracism in their work and engage with antiracism from an embodied and situated perspective. We welcome submissions from various academic disciplines, activists, and about different parts of Europe (including Western, Central, Eastern and Nordic Europe). We welcome single and co-authored pieces, as well as collaborations of activists and academics. Race, racism and antiracism are understood in the plural, meaning these terms may refer to anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, antizygantism, indigenous peoples and other racialized communities. It is hoped the conference will amount to future collective academic/non-academic publication(s) and networks.


Submission and workshop details: 

  • Send an abstract of max 500 words plus a biography of the author(s)/activist collective(s) of max 250 words to by 5 July 2021. We aim to send you an update about our decisions by the end of July.

  • Once selected, you will be asked to submit a full draft of your text prior to the workshop, the exact date TBC. Please know that our initiative is open to those in the early stages of their career as well as to those based outside traditional academia, thus your drafts do not necessarily need to be very lengthy nor academic by character.

  • The workshop will take place on 9-10 December at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium. The aim is to organize an on-campus conference, pending the pandemic.   

  • A limited amount of funding is available for those without institutional or professional affiliation, to cover (parts of) travel, accommodation and childcare costs. Please indicate in your submission if you want to apply for this funding. The need for financial assistance will not be taken into account when evaluating the submissions.  

  • Please indicate too if you have any additional access needs. We will do our utmost best to accommodate these. Access needs will not be taken into account when evaluating the submissions. 


Academic committee:

Prof. Dr. Ilke Adam, BIRMM & EDGE, Vrije Universiteit Brussel 
Prof. Dr. Jean Beaman, University of California, Santa Barbara
Prof. Dr. Wayne Modest, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Director of the Research Center for Material Culture in the Netherlands
Mariska Jung, PhD candidate at Vrije Universiteit Brussel


This workshop is supported by BIRMM, BSOG, EDGE and RHEA at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.