Afro-Nordic Landscapes: Equality and Race in Northern Europe

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Europe, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-10-05 17:56Z by Steven

Afro-Nordic Landscapes: Equality and Race in Northern Europe

264 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-415-89743-3

Edited by:

Michael McEachrane

Foreword by:

Paul Gilroy, Professor of American and English Literature
King’s College, London

Afro-Nordic Landscapes: Equality and Race in Northern Europe challenges a view of Nordic societies as homogenously white, and as human rights champions that are so progressive that even the concept of race is deemed irrelevant to their societies. The book places African Diasporas, race and legacies of imperialism squarely in a Nordic context. How has a nation as peripheral as Iceland been shaped by an identity of being white? How do Black Norwegians challenge racially conscribed views of Norwegian nationhood? What does the history of jazz in Denmark say about the relation between its national identity and race? What is it like to be a mixed-race black Swedish woman? How have African Diasporans in Finland navigated issues of race and belonging? And what does the widespread denial of everyday racism in Nordic societies mean to Afro-Nordics?


  • Foreword Paul Gilroy
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction Michael McEachrane
  • Part I: The Nation
    • 1. Imagining Blackness at the Margins: Race and Difference in Iceland Kristín Loftsdóttir
    • 2. “Struggling to Be Recognized as Belonging to the Fauna of Norway”: On Being Black Norwegian Women madeleine kennedy-macfoy
    • 3. The Midnight Sun Never Sets: An Email Conversation About Jazz, Race and National Identity in Denmark, Norway and Sweden Cecil Brown, Anne Dvinge, Petter Frost Fadnes, Johan Fornäs, Ole Izard Høyer, Marilyn Mazur, Michael McEachrane and John Tchicai
  • Part II: Racism
    • 4. There’s a White Elephant in the Room: Equality and Race in (Northern) Europe Michael McEachrane
    • 5. Racism Is No Joke: A Swedish Minister and a Hottentot Venus Cake—An Email Conversation Beth Maina Ahlberg, Claudette Carr, Madubuko Diakité, Fatima El-Tayeb, Tobias Hübinette, Momodou Jallow, Victoria Kawesa, Michael McEachrane, Utz McKnight, Anders Neergaard, Shailja Patel, Kitimbwa Sabuni and Minna Salami
    • 6. Being and Becoming Mixed Race, Black, Swedish and a Nomadic Subject Anna Adeniji
    • 7. Bertrand Besigye’s Civilization Critique: An Aesthetics of Blackness in Norway Helena Karlsson
    • 8. Two Poems by Bertrand Besigye: (i) How A Black African Orders Black Coffee (To Barack Hussein Obama); (ii) You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. Or Black Hail Over All of West Side (Translated by John Irons) Bertrand Besigye
  • Part III: Diaspora
    • 9. Talking Back: Voices from the African Diaspora in Finland Anna Rastas
    • 10. Den Sorte: Nella Larsen and Denmark Martyn Bone
    • 11. A Horn of Africa in Northern Europe—An Email Conversation Abdalla Duh, Mohamed Husein Gaas, Abdalla Gasimelseed, Amel Gorani, Nauja Kleist, Anne Kubai, Michael McEachrane, Saifalyazal Omar, Tsegaye Tegenu and Marja Tiilikainen
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Afro-Rebel (Or Why I am not an Afropolitan)

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-07-10 21:18Z by Steven

Afro-Rebel (Or Why I am not an Afropolitan)

Black Girl Dancing at Lughnasa

Emma Dabiri, Teaching Fellow
Africa Department, School of African and Oriental Studies, London
Visual Sociology Ph.D. Researcher, Goldsmiths University of London

The following is from a discussion I recently took part in ‘Fantasy or Reality? Afropolitan Narratives of the 21st Century’ as part of the Africa Writes 2013 Festival. I was joined on the panel by Minna Salami and Nana Ocran, and the Chair was Professor Paul Gilroy.

When I first heard Afropolitan I was excited. I am always looking for language that expresses my position as an Irish/Nigerian woman who is deeply connected to her Nigerianess. I’d rather refrain as describing myself as half anything, and I detest the word mixed-race. I thought perhaps Afropolitan presented an alternative to this terminology and interestingly, positioned me with others through a shared cultural and aesthetic leaning rather than a perceived racial classification. Further it identified that you could be black or African without having to subscribe to the depressingly limited identities widely perceived as being authentic.

The enduring insights of Afropolitanism as interpreted by Mdembe, should be its promise of vacating the seduction of pernicious racialised thinking, its recognition of African identities as fluid, and the notion that the African past is characterised by mixing, blending and superimposing. In opposition to custom, Mdembe insists the idea of ‘tradition’ never really existed and reminds us there is a pre-colonial African modernity that has not been taken into account in contemporary creativity.

As Minna Salami writes on her blog Africans should be as free to have multiple subcultures as anyone else but the problem with Afropolitism to me is that that the insights on race, modernity and identity appear to be increasingly sidelined in sacrifice to the consumerism Mdembe also identifies as part of the Afropolitan assemblage. The dominance of fashion and lifestyle in Afropolitanism is worthy of note due to the relationship between these industries, consumption and consumerism…

Read the entire article here.

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What being mixed race has taught me

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Women on 2011-10-10 03:40Z by Steven

What being mixed race has taught me

MsAfropolitan: the cosmopolitan African woman

Minna Salami

It’s a shame that we black people are the ones that analyse and debate race and racism the most. If society was as post-racial as some try to claim, then I believe that it is white people that should be analysing and debating the effects racism has had on the world, whilst black people should be discussing how to heal from the effects racism has had on us…
…First of all let me say, in the simplest of summaries, that I think that race is a fallacy, a social and scientific construct, developed by mid-century europeans to justify a financial venture.
Nevertheless, racial profiling is now part of our culture so there’s no use denying it. Although I would argue that mixed race people who want to constitute another race are adding another layer to the madness. After all we may accept that racial divides exist, but we can’t build new truths from something that was untrue to start with. But as I’ve said before, we mixed race people have issues. Either way, racial constructions may now appear to be fact, but that’s because people of similar melanin count share similar social experiences.
And it is in this light, not in the ‘one-drop-rule’ light, that I am black. That is to say, people with my particular skin tone and genetic make up share the same ancestral history with those with two African or diaspora parents. We share the history of slavery, oppression and colonization. This history is a shared legacy of the black experience…

Read the entire article here.

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