Upcoming Event

The Migration and Diversity Centre is proud to announce the seminar:  

“Racial Exclusion in and at the Borders of Europe”

23rd of March 2017, 12.30 - 7.00 pm    
Keynote: Gloria Wekker & Guest Speaker: Philomena Essed    
Location: Agora 1 (Wing A, 3rd floor of Main Building) at VU University Amsterdam    
VU University, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam


With the intensifying debates in Europe on refugees, migration and polarization, it seems the right time to ask ourselves what happens when we analyse these issues in terms of race. Consider the following examples:

  • After the Brexit referendum, there was a surge in racist incidents in the UK.
  • If we look at the passport index, we see that western countries rank high and non-western countries rank low.
  • In CBS data, the term ‘non-western allochtones’ functions as a barely disguised racial category.
  • A closer look at border deaths shows that it is overwhelmingly non-white males who die, and that Black Africans have the lowest chance of being identified.
  • When we look at who lives in illegalized dwellings under constant police harassment in Calais, Idomeni and other places in Europe (including Amsterdam), we see non-whites.
  • Asylum, family reunion, visa and labour migration laws and policies often exempt whites from being labelled as a migrant altogether, or relegate them to a privileged class (blue cards). The undesired on the other hand, being non-whites, are excluded.
  • Crime statistics, unemployment statistics, income statistics, global distribution of wealth – regardless of what topic we look at, whites are at the right end of the scale and non-whites at the wrong end of it.
  • When people are defined as a group to be excluded, they are racialized (the idea that Eastern Europeans are a recognizable phenotypical category pops up in police reports as of the mid 1990s), and when their exclusion ends they are de-racialized (Irish after 1920s, Japanese after 1970s).

Dominant analyses in European academia and public opinion do not relate these issues to race, but to welfare nationalism, integration problems, Islam, and other notions which end up erasing race as a relevant category. Dominant analyses see non-white people making the wrong choices (use smuggler boats, refusing to go home after rejection of their asylum claim), and see them as people with lacks (of capacities, of resources, of options).

During this seminar, we aim to investigate the idea that racism is a much more powerful and omnipresent form of exclusion in Europe than is generally assumed. What happens when the European regulation of migration and refugees is analysed in terms of race and racism? What happens when we use the same facts to develop analyses of how powerful states, in the process of reinforcing a global order characterized by enormous inequality, justify the outcomes of this process by blaming the victim, and naturalize this through both classical and new forms of stigmatization, cultural racism, and simply: racism? Does the use of race as an analytical category limit us to justified, high-minded but eventually futile anger? Or can it help us to make things visible that go unnoticed in dominant analyses?



Moderator: Nancy Jouwe

12:30 – 13.00 Registration    
13:00 – 13:10 Welcome Note    
13.10 – 14.00 Keynote by Gloria Wekker    
14.00 – 14.15 Break (walking to location)    
14.15 – 15.15 Parallel Sessions    
15.15 – 15.30 Break    
15.30 – 17.00 Parallel Sessions    
17.00 – 17.15 Break (walking to location)    
17.15 – 17.45 Reflections by Philomena Essed    
18.00 – 19.00 Social Drinks  


Additional Information:

Keynote:Gloria Wekker
Gloria Wekker (G.D.Wekker@uu.nl) is emeritus Professor in Gender Studies, Faculty of the Humanities, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. As social and cultural anthropologist,  she specializes in Gender and Sexuality Studies, African- American and Caribbean Studies. She is the author of The Politics of Passion; Women´s sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora (Columbia University Press, 2006). Her last book White Innocence; Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race, (Duke University Press, 2016) received much attention in the Netherlands and beyond. After the occupation of The Maagdenhuis, she was a member of the Commission Democratization and Decentralization and the chair of the Commission Diversity at the University of Amsterdam in 2016.

Guest Speaker:Philomena Essed
Philomena Essed is professor of Critical Race, Gender and Leadership Studies at Antioch University’s Graduate School of Leadership and Change; Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg, and an affiliated researcher for Utrecht University’s Graduate Gender program.  She holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam (1990, cum laude) and Honorary Doctorates from the University of Pretoria, South Africa (2011) and Umeå University, Sweden. (2015). Her research and teaching transcends national, cultural and disciplinary boundaries. Well known for introducing the concepts of everyday racism and gendered racism in the Netherlands and internationally, she also pioneered in developing theory on social and cultural cloning. Her work has been adopted and applied in a range of countries, including the US, Canada, South Africa, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the UK, Switzerland, and Australia. Her books include Everyday Racism (1990); Understanding Everyday Racism (1991); and Diversity: Gender, Color and Culture (1996). Co-edited Volumes include: Race Critical Theories (2002); Refugees and the Transformation of Societies (2004); A Companion to Gender Studies (‘outstanding’ 2005 CHOICE award), Clones, Fakes and Posthumans: Cultures of Replication (2012) and Dutch Racism (2014). In progress is a co-edited volume on Worlds of Racism. Her current work includes a focus is on dignity and ethics of care as experience and practice in leading change, in particular in Higher Education. In 2011 The Queen of the Netherlands honored her work with a Knighthood.


Parallel Sessions (final program):


Session 1:

Nawal Mustafa: Boats & Black Bodies: Why Race is at The Heart of Who Gets to be Validated as A Refugee
Tamara Last: European Management of Border Deaths through a Lens of Racial Exclusion

Session 2:

Ildikó Plájás: “The Least Wanted Travel the Most”: Technologies of Vision and (Racial?) Categories in Monitoring Mobility in Romania
Amade M’charek: Face, Crime and the Migrant Other: On the Absent Presence of Race in the Media

Session 3:

Tesseltje de Lange & Lisa Berntsen: Shifting Statuses of Legality: Exclusion and Inclusion of Irregular Migrant Workers through Legal Categorization
Karin de Vries: Immigration Rstrictions and Racial Inequality: A Closer Look at the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights


Session 4:

Guno Jones: Citizenship, Populism and (Auto)Destruction. Some Notes on the Unpredictability of the Will of ‘the People’
Dorrie Wilson: The City of Light is Afraid of the Dark: James Baldwin, Migration and Citizenship in Contemporary Belgium and France
Halleh Ghorashi & Leila Kian: “Sometimes I feel more Moroccan than Dutch” Embodied Ethnicity of 2nd Generation female Iranian-Dutch

Session 5:

Thomas Spijkerboer: Legitimizing Townships in Contemporary Europe and Apartheid South Africa
Giovanni Picker: Refracted Urbanities: The Colonial Matrix of Stigmatized and Segregated “Gypsy Urban Areas” in Contemporary Europe
Artwell Cain: Afrophobia is no Stranger to the Netherlands

For more information and directions, please click here.

For questions, please contact mdc@vu.nl.

Past events

 Date Type of event  Researcher(s) Paper / event
30 January 2017Feedback ForumDimitris Dalakoglou (Discussant: Thomas Spijkerboer)The Violent Refugee: The Right to Mobility and the Borderisation of Europe
31 October 2016Feedback ForumRicha Kumar (Discussant: Zsuzsa Kovács)Résumé of a security professional: mapping the capitals of the security professionals
20 September 2016Feedback ForumNina van Egmond (Discussant: Martijn Stronks)Labour, Work and Migration - Migration policy built on a concept of dignity as non-humiliation
21 June 2016Roundtable SessionMigration and Diversity Centre (MDC) and Centre for international criminal Justice (CICJ)If You Don't Count, You Don't Count:How to extract migration data from states
7 June 2016Feedback ForumJill Alpes (Discussant: Rivke Jaffe)Transnational migration control and sending states: The unifying force of 'fraud' at the airport of Douala, Cameroon
10 May 2016Feedback Forum Jasmijn Slootjes (Discussant: Tineke Abma)Narratives of Meaningful Endurance: Critical Transitions Between Vicious and Virtuous Cycles Between Health and Employment in Migrant Women's Life Histories
14 April 2016Feedback Forum Lonneke Geerlings (Discussant: Kathy Davis)Cultural mobility
29 March 2016Feedback ForumLaura Kok (Discussant: Christian Reinhardt)forcasting violence induced human mobility flows
24 February 2016Feedback Forum Emanuela Roman (Discussant: Ben Crum)Cooperation on readmission in the Mediterranean area and its human rights implications
28 January 2016Feedback Forum
Hannah Leyerzapf (Discussant: Janna Wessels)We are all só different that it is just.. normal.” Processes of normalization in health care teams in an academic hospital in the Netherlands.
27 May 2015Seminar Thomas Spijkerboer, Tamara Last, Orçun Ulusoy, Paolo Cuttitta and Henk Van Houtum
Presentation of the Deaths at the Borders of Southern Europe Database
26 May 2015Feedback ForumDevyani PrabhatProportionality Analysis and the Cancellation of British Citizenship for Conduct by Categories- paper
13 February 2015Feedback forum Mehdi Bozorgmehr Panethnicity Revisited: Contested Group Formation in the Post-9/11 Era
9 December 2014   Feedback forum Martijn Huisman and Silvia Klokgieters LASA-Project; a study on the rational of resilience in Turkish and Moroccan young, old and elderly migrants
25 November 2014Feedback forum Marieke Slootman (Discussants: Machteld de Jong and Ismintha Waldring)‘I am… who I am…’. Ethnic identifications in social contexts among ethnic minority individuals
21 October 2014Book presentationDienke Hondius (Discussants: Siep Stuurman, Amade M'Charek, and Gloria Wekker; Master of Ceremony: Nancy JouweBlackness in Western Europe: Racial Patterns of Paternalism and Exclusion
19 June 2014Feedback forumFiore Geelhoed (Discussant: Vanessa Vroon-Najem)Identity under construction: Global pathways to Islamic orthodoxy, radicalism and extremism in the Netherlands
28 March 2014Feedback forumDiana van Bergen (Discussant: Sawitri Saharso)Parental ethnic socialization and intergroup antagonism among Muslim immigrant youth and native youth in the Netherlands
20 March 2014Feedback forum with visiting scholar, co-organised with IDIKathy Davis (Discussant: Dubravka Zarkov)Tango: Passionate Encounters in a Globalizing World
28 January 2014Feedback forumMarja van Heese (Discussant: Wouter Veraart)RESPECT - The UNESCO Cultural Conventions, armed conflict and the battle for peace in the minds of men
10 December 2013Feedback forumJuan Amaya-Castro(Discussant: Brian Burgoon)Emigration policies in the context of global governance
26 November 2013Forum for visiting scholar, co-organised with the Amsterdam Critical Discourse CommunityRobert BarskyAsocial injustice: Refugees lost without translation
18 October 2013Symposium with visiting research team from NorwayVarious, including Eli Støa and Halleh Ghorashi‘What Buildings do: The Effect of the Physical Environment on the Quality of Life of Asylum Seekers’
17 October 2013Migration PhDs networking meetingAll PhDs working on migration-related issues are invitedKick-off meeting of the IMES-MDC PhD network
25 June 2013Feedback forum  with visiting scholarHeleen de Jonge van Ellemeet (Discussant: Joke Reijven )Crimmigration: the convergence of criminal law and immigration policy reflected in the case law of the Dutch Supreme Court
21 May 2013Feedback forum Efe Kerem Sözeri (Discussant: Liza M. Mügge)  National connectedness and political identities
18-19 April 2013 SymposiumVarious (see programme)Regulating transnational work and family in times of crisis
26 February 2013Feedback forum with visiting scholarReza Hasmath (Discussant: Dimitris Pavlopoulos)The Ethnic Penalty in the Labour Market? Prevalence, Causes and Policy Options
22 January 2013 Public lecture and feedback forumNayarana  Jayaram and Ellen BalPublic lecture on Indian diaspora by professor Nayarana Jayaram, Research Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, followed by feedback forum with Ellen Bal discussing her work on Indian diaspora. Introductions by Susan Legêne and Chan Choenni
15 November 2012
Feedback forumMartijn Stronks (Discussant: Annemie Halsema)Time and Identity. An interdisciplinary analysis of the relation between time and identity in the context of family migration law
27 September 2012Feedback forumYounous Arbaoui (Discussant: Miranda PoezeEffective family bonds of Somali refugees
26 June 2012Feedback forum with visiting scholarFroukje Santing (Discussant: Boris Slijper)We are all citizens of the Netherlands
8 June 2012SymposiumAdam McKeown (Discussant: Betty de Hart )   Saskia Sassen (Discussant: Juan M. Amaya-Castro)Looking Historically at the Role of the State in Migration Law Video 1  Video 2
17 April 2012

MDC launch event for 2012 activitiesCaroline Drieënhuizen (Discussant: Thijs Sunier)

Bahija Aarrass (Discussant: Chan Choenni)

Sylvia van der Raad (Discussant Guno Jones)
Becoming Dutch by means of the empire: foreigners in the Dutch East Indies and Holland 1811-1870. 

Education through migration. The relevance of the right to education in the European Convention of Human Rights in migration issues. 

The other side of workplace diversity discourse: how do those who personify the main object of diversity policies act and processes of inclusion and exclusion.
13 December 2011Feedback forumDiana van BergenEthnic Socialization and the Onset of Radicalization. The Case of Turkish-Dutch Youth in The Netherlands
18 October 2011Feedback forumJacomijne PrinsExploring in-group diversity through storytelling: how intersecting stories work to construct a diverse Moroccan Dutch experience
20 September 2011Feedback forumJuan Amaya-CastroIllegality Regimes and the Corrosion of Citizenship
26 April 2011Feedback forumEllen BalDreaming of leaving: The construction of migration aspirations among young middle class Bangladeshis in Dhaka
15 March 2011Feedback forum with visiting scholarSébastien ChauvinSans-Papiers Striking for Legalization: Labor Unions and the Contradictions of French Migration Policy
16 December 2010Feedback forum with visiting scholarManuel AbrantesThe Employment Situation of Brazilian Immigrants in Dutch Cities
16 November 2010Feedback forum with visiting scholarPeter GeschiereAutochthony, Belonging and Exclusion, The Pitfalls of a Culturalization of Citizenship
13 September 2010Feedback forum with visiting scholarInes MichalowskiCitizenship Tests in Various European Countries in Relation to Political Liberalism