Studying the African diaspora in the white landscape of Finland Anna Rastas, University of Tampere, Finland

Migrants from Africa and other people of African descent form a small and relatively recent but rapidly growing visible minority in Finland. Throughout the history of Finland various ethnic minorities, like the Finnish Roma and the Sami people, have faced racism, but as a topic of discussion racism has been avoided. The presence of Africans and other Black people has changed Finnish society dramatically: questions of racism can no longer be ignored. In a predominantly white society they challenge the earlier imaginations of Finnishness and nationhood. Immigrants from the former colonized countries and their non-white descendants whose everyday lives are overshadowed by the collective memory of subordination and its present-day implications have also questioned the earlier ideas of Finns’ (and other Nordic countries’) involvements in (post)colonial relations. My presentation, based on my earlier studies on racism and on my current ethnographic projects favouring action research approaches, is a brief overview of how their presence – and their attempts to have a voice in Finnish society – has influenced the social and cultural life of Finnish society in various ways.

Anna Rastas, Dr.Soc.Sc. (Social Anthropology / Sociology) is currently working at the University of Tampere, Finland as a Research Fellow in the Fluid World Research Development Programme. Her on-going studies focus on the ethics and politics of knowledge production and other epistemological challenges in research on new minorities in multiethnic societies. Her empirical studies on the African diaspora(s) in Finland and in Europe continue her previous studies on the representations of Africans in Finnish non-fiction and her ethnographic studies on racism in Finland.

Date: Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Time: 15:00-16:30

Venue: ccrri seminar room, 2nd floor George Campbell building, South Campus, Howard College Campus. Use the south entrance into the building; and Entrance 3 on Rick Turner (Francois) Road if driving. Please refer to the ccrri website for a map (https://ccrri.ukzn.ac.za, click on ‘The Centre’ tab).

Enquiries: ccrri@ukzn.ac.za or 031 260 1599/3904/3902 

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