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Summer School on Black Europe

Exploring Dimensions of Citizenship, Race and Ethnic Relations

Course Description


The Summer School on Black Europe is an intensive two week course offered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The course is a collaboration between the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and NiNsee, the National Institute for the study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy. The overall goal of this course is to examine the contemporary circumstances of the African Diaspora in Europe. We will focus on the historical and colonial legacies of European countries to discuss the origins of Black Europe and investigate the impact of these legacies on policies and legislation.

This course will begin with a historical overview of the African Diaspora in Europe that traces the involvement of European nations in the colonization of the Americas. We address the migration and settlement of Blacks in Europe, and we examine immigration and citizenship laws that regulated their settlement. We also look at anti-discrimination laws as they have arisen in various European countries. We compare the history of regulation and management of race and ethnic relations and the discourse surrounding the concept of Blackness and self-identification. We will trace the chain of events following social and civil conflicts that prompted these policies and analyze the legislative and intellectual discourse produced in the aftermath.

In the second week, we will explore the notions of Blackness as; an official categorization; as a social construction employed by the dominant groups to indicate (non) belonging; as a Diaspora living within Europe; and as a contestation of the dominant (White) paradigm. In this way we examine the social mobilization of Blacks to resist domination.

This course will also seek to address the dimensions of race and ethnic relations that are unique to Europe; examining the ways in which conceptions of the "other" are institutionalized and reproduced; the rise of xenophobia in various EU countries; the legal definitions and discourse surrounding the conceptualized "other"; and examining the ways in which each country has dealt with issues of race and national identity.


Past Instructors:

  • Dr. Philomena Essed, Antioch University
  • Dr. David Theo Goldberg, University of California Humanities Research Institute
  • Dr. Ramon Grosfoguel, University of California, Berkeley
  • Dr. Dienke Hondius, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Dr. Trica Keaton, Vanderbilt University
  • Dr. Kwame Nimako, Universiteit van Amsterdam
  • Dr. Stephen Small, University of California, Berkeley
  • Dr. Thomas Spijkerboer, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Dr. Gloria Wekker, Universiteit van Utrecht


Certificate and Credits

This course is accredited through the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Students wishing to receive university credit (3 US credits of 6 ECTS credits) for the course must submit a paper (15-20 pages). The paper topic must first be submitted to the directors of the programme for approval. Proposals are due at the end of the first week of the programme. Please do not submit a paper proposal in advance of the programme. Once a paper topic has been approved, the students may begin with their research. University libraries will be made available to the students during the course. The paper will be graded on its relevance to Black European Studies and its ability to process the course material. The paper must be relevant to the subject and incorporate some of the readings from the Summer School.


For more information over the Summer School, please email