6 mins read

Remembering Differently

The Haitian scholar Michel-Rolph Trouillot opens his remarkable work “Silencing the Past” by pointing to the ambiguity of the word ‘history’. History is both ‘what happened’ and ‘that which has…..

8030
5 mins read

Africa’s Last Colony

Earlier this year I flew to the Algerian military town of Tindouf, as part of a Vice News crew, to help make a documentary and write an article about the…..

2641
2 mins read

#WhiteHistoryMonth: Aimé Césaire on Europe

I’ve been reading Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism. He puts it all plainly. In the flurry of theory, tangles of citational prose, and the demands for refereed this, that, and the other that ping throughout an academic’s daily grind, such clarity is bracing. And welcome. I’ll be assigning the whole text to my undergraduates next year.

2658
5 mins read

Know your Dutch history

Twenty years ago, Teun van Dijk published the book Elite Discourse and Racism, in which he discusses the subtle ways that racial discrimination pervaded Dutch society at the time. To van…..

5606
2 mins read

When Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie met Sweden

Last Sunday the Göteborg International Film Festival and International Writers’ Stage Gothenburg co-hosted a conversation between Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Swedish film critic Jannike Åhlund (JÅ). It got weird quickly.

5410
9 mins read

Why are historians suddenly looking at Sweden’s colonial past?

It is, to a surprisingly large extent, a story that’s been going on since the Second World War. Sweden–it is said–is different from the rest of Europe. After all, “The world’s conscience” (as newspapers in the West would usually describe Sweden in shorthand) had never been properly colonialist. As historian Gunlög Fur explains: “Colonialism was defined as control over other territories, and Sweden, it could claim, was a marginal player at most. It was made believable internationally that Sweden was not part of any mechanisms of oppression, and it could avoid being seen as a colonial power. Instead, Sweden saw itself as the moral equivalent of a great power, building up its sympathy with the marginalised and oppressed.”

6947
7 mins read

File under: Dutch Liberalism

In the Netherlands, many people convince themselves that racism is something that exists elsewhere–in South Africa, for example, or in the United States. For this is a ‘tolerant,’ liberal nation. To maintain the facade, often blatant acts of racism are downplayed, rationalized or swept away. As an exercise, see some of the comments on our Facebook page whenever we post something about racism in the Netherlands.