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Contemporary Europe confronts a crisis of un-precedented proportions. At its core, reside fundamental issues of the modern state and the post-war legacy of the welfare state bringing into question the notions of “nation” and “national identity” but also the meaning of “what is Europe?” and “who is European?” Even as the post-war consensus lingers it must be seen as faltering but in specific ways that imbue the contemporary crisis with a racial character. The current migrant crisis obviously heightens the specter of race and difference but a longer historical perspective argues for a more ample optic that brings to the fore how Europe’s crisis and for that matter how Europe has from its inception been racialized. Indeed, the idea of Europe—the product of a history of both endogenous and external colonial encounters and resulting political economies that define Europe’s relation with its former colonies and its subjects/citizens—has always been and continues to be framed by race and patriarchy and the anxiety that racial-patriarchal thinking produces.
For the first time since its inception in 2000, the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) will convene on the European Continent. In view of this reality, the organizers are committed to staging more than a successful academic conference; we are interested in collaborating with activist and intellectual communities around a critique and engagement involving diaspora, race, gender, and citizenship alongside historical and contemporary patterns of racial formation. As a relatively new organization but one that has already had an impact on the intellectual landscape in the United States, ASWAD’s intent is to forge meaningful dialogues with various international scholarly communities and civil society groups whose work engages the politics of difference shaping diasporic formations and population dispersal.
Sevilla, as the conference venue, is an UNESCO world heritage site and former medieval capital of Euro-African kingdoms, both Muslim and Christians, and later the head of the Spanish early modern world empire, a neural center in the history of the African diaspora connected to Europe and America and where it remains a living heritage. Historical perspectives on the diasporic phenomena should never be forgotten, in spite of the urgency for action in relation to present issues.
Pablo de Olavide University, ASWAD’s 2017 conference host, is the youngest Spanish public university with a strong commitment to international cooperation and social justice. As conference host and coordinator Pablo de Olavide University will bring together other universities and research institutions, archives, cultural centers and foundations in arranging ASWAD’s ninth biennial conference and its first in Europe.
For inquiries in Spanish contact: Dr. Igor Pérez Tostado (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For inquiries in German/ Dutch contact: Dr. Peggy Piesche (email@example.com)
For inquiries in English contact: Dr. Evelyne Laurent-Perrault (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For inquiries in French/Portuguese contact: Dr. Herman Bennett (email@example.com)
The Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all organizations throughout the African Diaspora that are committed to asserting the humanity of African-descended peoples across the globe. Recent protests against the murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and countless others have caused a disturbing backlash against the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and its mission to end police brutality and state violence against Black people. On numerous occasions the media and opponents of this movement have unfairly demonized and stigmatized BLM, and ASWAD objects to this disparaging mischaracterization. During these troubled times, ASWAD declares its unity with the Black Lives Matter movement and with the global struggle to proclaim Black humanity.
As multidisciplinary scholars of the global African experience, we are painfully aware that current events represent just one moment in a long history of anti-Black racism that has spanned centuries. The contemporary dehumanization of African peoples has its roots in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade that began in the fifteenth century. During that era, a racist ideology developed to justify the enslavement of millions of Africans, which later transformed itself to validate colonization, segregation, and systems of class and caste throughout the world. This belief in Black/African inferiority—indeed, the belief that people of African descent are not equal humans—still lies at the heart of the problem of global racism and white supremacy. Today, we witness the proliferation of state violence, socio-economic exploitation, and mass incarceration against African peoples, not just in the United States, but also in Brazil, France, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Maghreb region, and in every corner of the African Diaspora. Across the globe, African peoples are being stripped of their citizenship and their humanity because some people’s lives are still deemed more valuable than others.
ASWAD is committed to the global fight for Black humanity and we are pleased to see that peaceful protests are taking place in London, Berlin, and Paris, in cities across Latin America and the United States, and around the world, which give voice to the belief that BLACK Lives Matter everywhere in the Worldwide African Diaspora.
Leslie M. Alexander, President
On behalf of the Executive Board of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD)
ASWAD extends its condolences to the families of those massacred at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church on June 17, 2015 in a criminal act of domestic terrorism. We share in the pain of all who are suffering, but also in the outrage that anti-black violence continues to erupt in societies that continue to cling to the ideologies of racial supremacy, inequality, and ignorance that constituted the very foundations on which they were built. (more…)
The Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora stands with the thousands of people outraged over the refusal of the Ferguson grand jury to send the case of the murder of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson to trial. We stand also with the families and communities of other black youth around the world facing similar targeting and violence at the hands of police, such as the React or Be Killed movement (FB group “Reaja ou Sera Morto”) in Bahia, Brazil seeking justice for Davi Alves and other black men murdered or disappeared in police custody. (more…)
Evanston, Illinois, — “This journal,” declared Dr. Cornel West, “signifies a rich coming-of-age in the study of African and African Diasporic studies.”
West was reacting to news that the Journal of Africana Religions, the world’s first and only English-language journal to examine black religions in global perspective, will be published quarterly in both print and electronic form by Pennsylvania State University Press starting in January, 2013. (more…)