8th Biennial Conference on the Afroeuropeans Network

Brussels, 7 – 10 July 2021

Keynote speakers: Philomena Essed – Cécile Kyenge – Kehinde Andrews

The 8th Biennial Afroeuropeans Network Conference “Intersectional Challenges in Afroeuropean Communities” will take place from 7 – 10 July 2021 in Brussels, the capital of Europe. Hosted by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), this conference is the result of a long collaboration between academics, writers, artists and activists that gave rise to the International Afroeuropeans Network.

The conference aims to consider how Afroeuropean communities are shaped by the intersections of ‘race’ and ethnicity with other markers of identification such as gender, class, sexuality, ability, age, citizenship status, language… Informed by intersectional thinking (Combahee River Collective, 1979; hooks, 1981; Crenshaw 1989) and its rejection of unidimensional perspectives in activism, policy and research, the conference explores how diverse processes of privileging and discrimination interact, making for complex and dynamic experiences of what it means to be Afroeuropean. It acknowledges that the racial and ethnic alterity of Afroeuropeans intersects with other identities (e.g. male, female, queer, working class, religious, disabled, aged…) and specifically seeks to examine to what extent these intersections create new alignments and opportunities.

Of particular interest are the multiple ways in which Afroeuropeans challenge dominant modes of representation and knowledge production, for instance by claiming space and citizenship, altering taken for-granted modes of knowing and organizing, and presenting their experiences and perspectives as part and parcel of European society and identity. The conference engages with the dynamism emerging from the growing decolonisation movements and their calls for rethinking dominant modes of knowledge production and representation. We invite reflection on the various layers of intersectional existence, activism, and scholarship with a special focus on the lives of Black Europeans with ancestry in Africa and African diasporic geographical locations such as the Americas and the Caribbean. Building on the notion of ‘subjugated knowledge’, the conference explores how marginalized positions may also give rise to innovative epistemological positions, resistance to and revision of the status quo, and inspire activism and reforms of institutions and policies in Europe and beyond.

Panels for the following conference streams are invited by 1 September 2020 :

  1. Stream “Intersectionality as theory, practice and movement: re-centring Black feminist legacies”
  2. Stream “Religion and spirituality in Afro-Europe”
  3. Stream “Structural racism, racialization and exploitation”
  4. Stream “Policy, activism, and political representation”
  5. Stream “Afroeuropean arts: aesthetics & politics”
  6. Stream “Health and racial inequalities”
  7. Stream “Family, ‘mixity’ and identity”
  8. Stream “Media, digital technologies and connectivity”
  9. Stream “Decolonising knowledge, spaces and institutions: from activism to transformative change”
  10. Stream “Pan-Africanism, global justice and human rights in Europe”

For more information:

Call for Papers in Frontiers in Sociology

Emerging Solidarities on the Ground in the Management and Approach of the COVID emergency

Guest editors: Dr. Emilia Aiello (Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, US) & Prof. Elias Nazareno
(Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, Brazil)

The global COVID-19 crisis has put the health of millions of people under stake, and the capacity of healthcare systems under extreme pressure, revealing the lack of preparedness and coordination of international and national democratic institutions to stand out together against it.

The pandemic has clearly reveled at least two societal trends that deserve to be analyzed from Social Sciences and especially from Sociology. First, the leadership failure of national and international governmental institutions, evidenced in their uncoordinated, dithering, and lagged reactions to cope with the COVID-19 at the very initial moment (Dec 2019, January 2020). Second, the still weak relation between science-society-politics, and even though major efforts invested in closing the gap between them, the uneven permeability of the policy spheres to seriously consider scientific evidence, something that would have potentially cushioned the effects of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, these trends are already having a profound damage at the structural level, eroding civic trust in public institutions -and in democracy-, severely exacerbating the human costs of COVID, and unleashing a never seen economic downturn, the reality of how the crisis is being managed and organized at the very grassroots is somehow different. Where governments and those in charge showed to be missing, networks of diverse societal actors operating at the local level are coordinating efforts worldwide and organizing to alleviate the impact, especially on those most at risk communities.

Framed within this context, this Research Topic is aimed at exploring and discussing cases in which diverse actors are self-organizing across different societal areas (from employment, education, health, social and political participation, prevention of violence, housing, or others), re-emerging from the grassroots levels to articulate and provide responses to this health emergency with agendas that demand for a major transparency, accountability, and social justice of public institutional bodies. In parallel with this, it will pay particular attention on cases in which science and society is collaborating, in some cases reacting and stop-gapping responses in those sites where institutional leaders are absents, or in others actively responding to illuminate durable solutions needed to be implemented by public institutions. Being this the main theme on which this Issue focuses, we strongly suggest potential pieces to tackle how
the following aspects have also paid a role in the cases brought to analysis:

  • The capacity of actions and strategies emerged at the grassroots to go beyond national borders
    and generate a major sense of international solidarity.
  • Cases in which ethnic and cultural communities (e.g.: from the Roma communities in Europe, to
    Indigenous peoples and communities of African descent (maroons) in Latin-America and other
    parts of the world) are organizing to contest the challenges posed by the COVID19, unveiling
    ways of practicing leadership which can act and reach quickly the needs of those on the ground.
  • The ways in which these emerged solidarities on the ground might impact on shaping societal and
    cultural relations after the end of the health emergency.
  • The extent to which such solidarities can potentially strengthen democratic institutions, and the
    contrary, the potential perils in accelerating the breakdown of democracies that were already
  • The challenges and opportunities to advance towards a tighter relation between science and
    society at different governance levels, and reflected in existing examples.
  • Other relevant topics tackling upon the ones mentioned above.

For more information or to submit a paper: