The Quest for Belonging -- Discussant at Jayne Ifekwunigwe's presentation '(An)Other Diasporic City'

publicatie: 15-03-2015

(An)Other Diasporic City

Belonging and Transnational Processes of Making "Home".

=> Text Presentation 'The Quest of Belonging', by Fenneke Wekker, under tab: Tekst.


The anonymity of the city can breed social isolation and exclusion. With the increased potential for ethnic, racial and cultural diversity, the city can also act as a repository for conviviality and inclusion. Utilizing ethnographic examples, film clips and visual images that represent the lived urban realities of selected African Diasporas in Europe and beyond, Jayne Ifekwunigwe will craft collective and stratified biographies of belonging. In turn, these narratives will expand the way we think about the dynamic and symbolic processes of making “home” when one is displaced, misplaced or feels “out of place”.

This critique will be interwoven with an engagement with the American-African diaspora in an attempt to interrogate what is recuperated and what is lost in the privileging of the African American experience as the dominant biography of belonging for the Global African Diaspora.

The lecture look at the ways in which new cartographies of the Global African Diaspora contribute to a reconfiguration of gendered and racialized situated politics of belonging in Fortress Europe, where immigration control remains an issue that polarizes political debates and public opinions. That is, what are the dialectics of diaspora and belonging? As both an imagined community- the nostalgic longing for or memory of an elsewhere coupled with the harsh realities of settling or staying put-how can the Global African Diaspora engender a sense of belonging and inclusion for the marginalized amid local virulent social climates replete with institutionalized racism, structural inequalities, xenophobia and Islamophobia?

With ao:

Jayne O. Ifekwunigwe was a former Reader in Anthropology at the University of East London (UK) and is currently a Visiting Associate Professor of African and African American Studies at Duke University. She received a Joint Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley/San Francisco. Her scholarly and teaching interests include comparative ‘mixed race’ identities; the gendered and generational politics of global African diasporic formations; as well as visualizing cultural and heritage tourism in urban spaces. She has conducted interdisciplinary, visual and ethnographic research in the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa. Over a five year period (1996-2001), her summer visual ethnographic field work in Cape Town, South Africa assessed the post-apartheid management of memory, culture and heritage as this newly democratic nation attempted to compete within the global tourism market.

Fenneke Wekker is a sociologist and works as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her research focuses on urban ethnography, mechanisms of in- and exclusion in urban settings, feelings of belonging and home. Wekker’s current work is on community building in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and the implications of urban ‘superdiversity’ for a sense of belonging.

The program is organized in association with the seminar Biographies of Belonging held at VU University, department of sociology.

Moderator: Jennifer Tosch from Amsterdam Black Heritage tours.


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