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Anti-Racism and Gender Equality: Global Gains. Targeted Backlashes.
April 7, 2022 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 pm
Anti-racism and gender equality have recently acquired critical gains, from the extraordinary force of Black Lives Matter to mobilize communities against racism at a global level to national or regional initiatives, such as the 1619 Project, the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture, EU Strategy for LGBTIQ equality, or the marriage equality laws in Chile, Switzerland, or Costa Rica. Yet, not surprisingly, such achievements have also been met by vehement and coordinated backlashes and opposition in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere. For instance, as Ibram Kendi argues in The Atlantic, in the U.S., “‘anti-racism is anti-white’ is the mantra dividing the Democratic Party, especially since the 2021 elections. It is the mantra unifying the Republican Party, especially since the 2020 election.” In Hungary, the Orban leadership defunded and banned gender studies in universities, started an anti-LGBT campaign, as well as an anti-Roma campaign, and passed a law banning the use of materials seen as promoting LBGT and gender education in schools.
Attempts to add and center the history of the oppressed in the mainstream have also been met by resistance. For instance, in 2020-21, in the U.S., politicians and opinion-makers at the state and federal levels have started to fight against education about what they called “divisive ideologies,” but essentially meant Black history in American schools. In 2022, an Indiana state senator said that teachers “need to be impartial” when teaching about Nazism and fascism. Hidden under the label of a reaction against critical race theory, the opposition to truth-telling about the history of genocide, enslavement, Jim Crow, the Holocaust, and so on has identified innovative tactics to oppose adding the historically oppressed to the center.
At the same time, the proponents of racist and homophobic rhetoric have successfully managed to co-opt an anti-elitist agenda as theirs, attracting, among others, poor white people who critique the social and economic privilege of liberals. The growth of populism and extremism, including via social media, continues to elevate risks at a global level. And the pandemic has posed additional challenges for marginalized people and historically oppressed groups, including Roma.
This webinar aims to reflect on some recent gains in advancing anti-racism and gender equality across the world. The panelists will also examine patterns, fears, or coordinated actions against racial justice and gender equality and explore possible responses to such rampant backlashes. The webinar will take a global perspective and also place the recent backlashes against anti-racism and gender equality in the broader history of oppression.
This webinar is organized by the Roma Program of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, the Romani Studies Program of the Central European University, and the Critical Romani Studies Department at Södertörn University.
The event marks the 51st anniversary of the First World Romani Congress when the Romani Day, flag, and anthem were adopted. Thus, while this day represents a significant moment in Roma history, we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the recent global gains of anti-racist movements, counteract backlashes, and foster dialog and solidarity amongst historically oppressed peoples.
About the Speakers
Dr. Eddie Bruce-Jones
Dr. Eddie Bruce-Jones is Deputy Dean of the School of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London, where he is a Reader in Law & Anthropology. In 2020, he was the William and Patricia Kleh Visiting Professor of International Law at Boston University. Dr. Bruce-Jones is Associate Academic Fellow of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple and Member of the New York State Bar. Prior to joining Birkbeck, Dr. Bruce-Jones was Visiting Lecturer in Public International Law at King’s College London School of Law and an associate at the city law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, LLP in London. He received a DPhil and an MA in Social Anthropology from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, an LLM from King’s College London, a JD from Columbia Law School, and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University.
Dr. Bruce-Jones is author of Race in the Shadow of Law: State Violence in Contemporary Europe (Routledge, 2016) and co-author of two forthcoming textbooks on equality law. His research has been published in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, the UCLA Journal of International and Foreign Affairs, and Race & Class. He is the Principal Investigator of an Arts and Humanities Research Council grant on archiving the British colonial indentureship period. Dr. Bruce-Jones is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law and the advisory board of the European Law Open. He is a member of the Independent Commission on the Death of Oury Jalloh (on police brutality and due process) and has advised several intergovernmental organizations on issues of racism and policing.
He has held teaching or research affiliations with the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt, the DePaul University Law Berlin Summer School, and the Central European University. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law and an advisory board member of the European Law Open.
Dr. Manuela Boatcă
<p>Manuela Boatcă is Professor of Sociology and Head of School of the Global Studies Programme at the University of Freiburg, Germany. She has a degree in English and German languages and literatures and a Ph.D. in sociology. She was Visiting Professor at IUPERJ, Rio de Janeiro in 2007/08 and Professor of Sociology of Global Inequalities at the Latin American Institute of the Freie Universität Berlin from 2012 to 2015. She has published widely on world-systems analysis, decolonial perspectives on global inequalities, gender and citizenship in modernity/coloniality, and the geopolitics of knowledge in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In 2018 she was awarded an ACLS collaborative fellowship alongside literary scholar Anca Parvulescu (Washington University in St. Louis, USA), for a comparative project on inter-imperiality in Transylvania. The resulting co-authored book, titled “Creolizing the Modern. Transylvania Across Empires” is forthcoming in English, German, and Romanian in 2022.</p>
Dr. Angéla Kóczé
Angéla Kóczé is an Assistant Professor, Acting Chair of Romani Studies, and Academic Director of the Roma Graduate Preparation Program at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. In 2013–2017, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC, USA. She has published several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters with various international presses, including Palgrave Macmillan, Ashgate, Routledge and CEU Press, as well as several thematic policy papers related to social inclusion, gender equality, social justice and civil society. In 2013, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, honoured Kóczé with the Ion Ratiu Democracy Award for her interdisciplinary research approach, which combines community engagement and policymaking with in-depth participatory research on the situation of the Roma. She is a co-editor of The Romani Women’s Movement: Struggles and Debates in Central and Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2019, with Violetta Zentai, Jelena Jovanović and Enikő Vincze) and The Roma and their Struggle for Identity in Contemporary Europe (Oxford: Berghahn, 2020, with Huub van Baar).
Dr. Solvor Mjøberg Lauritzen
Solvor Mjøberg Lauritzen is an academic activist from Norway. She is assistant professor of Critical Romani Studies at Södertörn University, Stockholm, and associate professor of Education at MF Norwegian school of theology, religion and society, Oslo. She is currently leading the research project MEMOROBIA: Memorialisation of Romani enslavement in territories of contemporary Romania, where she focuses on the inclusion of slavery in European curricula. Her research and activism focus on the realization of the right to education for minorities, peace education, anti-racism, and refugee rights.
Dr. Sunnie Rucker-Chang
Dr. Sunnie Rucker-Chang’s primary interests lie in contemporary cultural movements and identity formation in Central and Southeast Europe. She writes primarily on racial and cultural formations, minority-majority and minority-minority relations in Southeast Europe. She is co-editor and contributor to Cultures of Mobility and Alterity: Crossing the Balkans and Beyond (with Yana Hashamova and Oana Popescu-Sandu) (forthcoming, University of Liverpool Pres, 2022), co-author of Roma Rights and Civil Rights: A Transatlantic Comparison (Cambridge, 2020), and co-editor of and contributor to Chinese Migrants in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2011). Her work has appeared in Critical Romani Studies, EuropeNow! – A Journal of Research and Art, Interventions: Journal of Post-Colonial Studies, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Slavic and East European Journal, and Slavic Review. She is currently finishing a monograph focusing on the politics of Blackness in former Yugoslav states that challenges conventional ideas of race and racialization in the Balkans and connects the region to broad trends in European Studies.
Dr. Jan Selling
Associate Professor Jan Selling is Head of Department of Critical Romani Studies at Södertörn University, Stockholm. He is a profiled researcher in the field of antigypsyism studies. As a curator for the civil rights section of the RomArchive, together with leading international scholars, he researched the history of Roma and Sinti emancipation and published a historically and internationally comparative monograph in 2020, which in 2022 will be published in English by CEU Press under the title Romani Liberation. A Northern Perspective on Emancipatory Struggles and Progress. At Södertörn University he teaches Romani history, antigypsyism and contemporary perspectives on Romani rights.