Black Feminism, Womanism, and the Politics of Women of Colour in Europe

This landmark conference took place at the University of Edinburgh on Saturday 3rd September 2016.

For curated tweets from the day, please take a look at our Storify.

The conversation continues on Twitter via the hashtag: #WoCEurope.

How might we theorise and practice Black feminism and womanism in Europe today? This is a provocative question as women of colour and their politics are too often erased from or misrecognised in the European imagination. Constructed as alien Others, women of colour exist in a contradictory state of invisibility—they are assumed to be absent from and irrelevant to European societies—or hypervisibility—they are presumed to be oppressed and passive and/or highly sexualised, angry and irrational. Across the political spectrum among ostensible allies, women of colour must struggle against their erasure and the debilitating constructions of themselves that disappear or delegimitise their politics, interests and activisms. Furthermore, women of colour in Europe must negotiate the dominant discourses of racial, gender and intersectional politics of North American Black feminists and womanists that make it difficult to name and take action on their particular racialised, gendered and classed experiences in a European context.

Women of colour in Europe have always maintained critical spaces of analysis and activism based on their race, class, gender, sexuality and other categories of difference. Whether under the mantle of Black feminism or, increasingly in a European context, womanism, women of colour undertake creative resistances to their institutionalised inequalities and imagine radical new futures outside and against the neo-colonial frames and practices of contemporary Europe. This one-day symposium seeks to bring together activists, practitioners and scholars from across Europe to build community, exchange experiences and ideas and collectively imagine a Black feminist and womanist Europe.

Papers, activist narratives, practice reflections and art/music/film contributions included ,but were not limited, to:

  • Building Black feminist and womanist activist spaces
  • Theorising European Black feminism and womanism
  • Including European Black feminism and womanism in academic curricula
  • Challenging and subverting imperial socialist, populist, feminist and anarchist politics
  • Developing transnational alliances and coalitions
  • Queering European Black feminism and womanism
  • Resisting counter-terrorism strategies
  • Gendering migration experiences
  • Imagining European Black feminism and womanism futures