As Guest Editors of African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal (Routledge), we are pleased to announce a special call for papers on the theme “African and Black Diasporas in the Nordic region”.
Within the field of diasporic studies, the Nordic region can be described as a ‘periphery’, since it is only relatively recently that studies have been produced articulating some of the specificities of diasporic life in this part of the world for African and black subjects. If the seminal writings of Franz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, and later Paul Gilroy have placed Europe on the African diasporic map, feminist diasporic theorists such as Tina Campt, Jacqueline Nassy Brown and Michelle Wright have continued to raise questions of hierarchy and power within this context, suggesting that the peripheries and margins of the African Diaspora can be located in regions otherwise considered as ‘central’. Little is known about the contributions and negotiations of black and African diasporic life in this region of the world; Gilroy’s assertion that diasporic studies are in part a restorative project therefore has particular significance for the Nordic region. Aside from the biographical writings on A.L.G.A Couchi (‘Badin’), Nella Larsen and a few others, there is little known about the historical origins, experiences, and negotiations of particular individuals of African ancestry within specific Nordic contexts.
This issue aims to highlight some of the regional and local specificities that have shaped both contemporary and historical black and African diasporic life in a part of the world where meanings of ‘race’ have been interwoven with understandings of national belonging, citizenship, and gender in particular ways. For example, the work of Katarina Schough suggests that since the mid-1600s, the North has been culturally constructed as the origin of ultimate whiteness – the mythological habitat of the Hyperboreans. This historically modifiable idea of a ‘highborn race’ has since then lent itself to discourses of Aryan supremacy, and later to claims to a particularly innocent form of whiteness – purportedly untouched by colonial relations.
Today, these historically, ambivalently imbedded discourses of racial hierarchy and whiteness sit uncomfortably with contemporary Nordic nations’ more recent egalitarian discourse in domestic welfare policies and third world solidarity work. It is only quite recent that the Nordic countries’ participation in, and cultural-political relation to the trans-Atlantic slave trade been rediscovered, discussed and used to re-position the region as postcolonial (for example the Nordic Colonial Mind research project). In several respects, this belated awakening collides with national projects that have continued to articulate expressions and experiences of ‘race’, gender, and national belonging in exceptionalist and color-blind terms. And as shown by the last decade’s analytical interventions, Nordic postcolonial study is now a burgeoning field, which has begun mapping the multifaceted histories and cultural negotiations of specific national and transnational contexts.
In a sense, this special issue is a response to Paul Girloy’s call for scholars to ‘step back boldly into the past’ in order to draw “a new map of Europe”. Echoing Franz Fanon’s theorization of the dilemma of being both Black and European, Gilroy’s reminds us of how blacks in Europe are still positioned as ‘strangers’ to European culture and history. This critique takes on particular salience in Nordic spaces, and necessitates a recontextualization of our history. One of the preliminary questions we would like to raise are: how can Afrodiasporic perspective be accommodated within a region where national self-images are on the one hand built upon a global economy conditioned by colonialism, and, on the other, culturally constructed as exemptions from colonial and imperialist power dynamics? This special issue of African and Black Diaspora aims to continue the work of re-mapping by calling for papers from the humanities and social sciences focusing upon the historical and/or contemporary experiences, contributions, and perspectives of African and Black peoples in the Nordic Region; particularly, we invite papers advancing Afrodiasporic and postcolonial theorization. Submissions could focus on topics of music, literature, art, and/or specific biographies of the Nordic Diaspora.
Abstracts should be 400-500 words in length and should be sent attached as a Word document. Please be sure to include the following: full name, university affiliation, and the title of your abstract.
Deadlines: submission of abstracts, November 1, 2010. Notification to authors: December 15, 2010
Authors of accepted proposals will be asked to submit articles in final form by May 1, 2011.
Guest editors for this issue will be
Department of Social Work
Södertorn University, Sweden
Dr. Ylva Habel,
Media and Communication Studies
Södertörn University, Sweden
Abstracts and queries should be sent to both
Lena.Sawyer@sh.se and Ylva.Habel@sh.se
Department of Social Work
141 89 Huddinge
Sweden Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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