Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives

October 10, 2019 - October 11, 2019

A Two-Day Symposium

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)

(308 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095)


“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).


9:00am 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-3:40pm Panel Three: Speaking B(l)ack with/and the Archives | Moderated by Shelleen Greene, UCLA

  • Emma-Lee Amponsah (Ghent University), “Kreyolization: Resisting Assimilation Violences in Dutch and Flemish Education”
  • Esther Mugambi (Artist), “How Do You Observe a Stone That is About to Strike You?”
  • Jessica de Abreu (The Black Archives) and Mitchell Esajas (New Urban Collective), “The Black Archives: The Genealogy of Anti-Racism in the Netherlands”

3:45pm-4:00pm Coffee 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), Notes On Livability: Being Alive in the Aegean Coast of Turkey

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


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

  • 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

1:45pm-3:15pm Borderscapes, Colonial Memories, and Policing the Crisis | Felice Blake, UCSB

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

3:15pm-3:30pm Break

3:30pm-4:45pm Keynote Speaker: Gloria Wekker (Utrecht)

5:00pm-5:30pm Thinking Black Studies in/and Europe: Closing Reflections with Marcus Anthony Hunter, UCLA5:30pm-6:30pm Reception


“On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives” is sponsored by the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI); the UCLA Dept. of African American Studies, the UCLA Dept. of 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; the UCLA Dept. of Anthropology, the UCLA Dept. of Gender Studies, the UCLA Dept. of Geography, the UCLA Dept. of History, the UCLA Dept. of Philosophy, the UCLA Dept. of Sociology, and the UCLA Theater Department.

Co-Organized by SA Smythe (UCLA) and Vanessa Thompson (Goethe University Frankfurt)


What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

The event will be held on the UCLA campus at Kerckhoff Grand Salon (308 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095). We recommend parking at Parking Structure 4 for $13.00 (all day) by Pay-By-Space. According to the UCLA Map, Parking Structure 4’s address is 221 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA. Please go to the UCLA Visitor Parking page for more details.

Is there reserved seating?

No. Seats are available on a first come first serve basis.


October 10, 2019
October 11, 2019


UCLA Charles E. Young Grand Salon (Kerckhoff Hall)


October 10, 2019
October 11, 2019


UCLA Charles E. Young Grand Salon (Kerckhoff Hall)