‘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. Whilst Essed writes about Dutch developments during the past decade, we can observe similar developments elsewhere in Europe. The Black Lives Matter movement and earlier calls to act against islamophobia, and 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. To what extent do European countries experience a second, third of fourth wave of antiracism? Was there ever a first wave? If yes, how do these waves compare? Who is doing the organizing during different waves of antiracism, around which claims and what are the means of struggle? What is their theoretical inspiration, and what are the characteristics of the ensuing public debates on racism?
These and many other questions will be discussed by Philomena Essed and three other antiracist activists from different parts of Europe: Latifah Abdou (#WeDecolonizeVUB, Belgium), Inès Seddiki (Gett'up, France) and Jelena Jovanovic (Ergo Network, Republic of Serbia).
Philomena Essed is a professor of Critical Race, Gender, and Leadership Studies at Antioch University’s Graduate School of Leadership and Change and an affiliated researcher for Utrecht University’s Graduate Gender program. She is most known for having introduced the concept ‘everyday racism’, which has become a key contribution to the study of racism. Her work has been translated in multiple languages and applied in many countries. Her publications span decades, including the now classical publications: Alledaags Racisme in 1984 (Published in English as Everyday Racism: Reports from Women of Two Cultures in 1990) and republished in Dutch in 2018, as well as the book Understanding Everyday Racism: An interdisciplinary Theory published in 1991. Her latest books include Dutch Racism (2014) and Relating Worlds of Racism: Dehumanization, Belonging, and the Normativity of European Whiteness (2018).
Essed has a lifelong commitment to social justice. She has been an advisor to governmental and non-governmental organizations, nationally and internationally. As an expert witness on race, gender and racism in Europe she presented among others at the United Nations, the European Parliament and the United States Helsinki Commission (Capitol Hill, Washington, 2008) and the EU Parliament hearing on Afrophobia (Brussels, 2014). She is a founding faculty member of the very successful international Black Europe Summer School (2008-) where she offers yearly courses on the broad theme of ‘Racism and Xenophobia: Causes and Consequences’, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In 2011 The Queen of the Netherlands honored her with a Knighthood.