TRS.20.038 – Re/Presenting Europe: Popular culture, black presence and belonging

Route: Towards resilient societies

Cluster question: 046 What is Europe? Past, present and future.

My skin had disguised my Europeanness’ writes author Johnny Pitt, noting that Europe and whiteness are often still equated. How has popular culture reinforced or challenged that association? Discussions regarding the position of Afro-Dutch footballers, ethnic stereotypes on television and representations of slavery and racism in Dutch hip hop show that popular culture is an increasingly important site for navigating Europeanness and belonging. European sports and hip hop stars played a key role in the Black Lives Matter protests which mainstreamed questions of race and belonging, thereby continuing the work of earlier efforts to re-imagine European identity and to show that the black presence in Europe is positive and part and parcel of the Netherlands.
Through its role in public discussions, popular culture poses multi-faceted questions; who belongs here and who gets to have a place in the public view? How do contested popular cultural representations of ethnicity affect our society? Interrogating and understanding popular culture and its influence on society has the power to challenge racism and facilitate transformative change.
Our consortium will tackle analytical and empirical questions about European urban popular cultures as expressions of belonging and black presence as well as racialization and stereotyping. Research will be done in collaboration with black social movements and NGOs that cater to the black presence in the field of urban popular culture. In addition, students of the universities and Hogeschools in the consortium will be encouraged to do BA and MA research and course work on the Black presence (teaching based research). The project will employ a combination of methods, including ethnographic fieldwork, cultural probing, archival work, digital data analysis, and discourse analyses in historical data and social media to provide insight into the contested black European presence and foster a sense of societal belonging.
Persons involved: Organizations: Mulier Institute (Agnes Elling), Research Center for Material Culture (Rolando Vasquez Melken, Daan van Dartel), LKCA (Claudia Marinelli and Amalia Deekman), Fare Network (John Olivieira), Participatie Federatie (Harrie van de Louw). Researchers: Jacco van Sterkenburg (Media and Communication, Erasmus University (EUR)), Evert Bisschop Boele (Hanzehogeschool, Groningen, Chair of Culture Participation, Erasmus University (EUR)), Bram Ieven (Dutch Literature and Culture, Leiden University (LEI)), Francio Guadeloupe (Anthropology, University of Amsterdam (UvA)), Kim Dankoor (Media and Culture, Utrecht University (UU)), Dan Hassler-Forest (Media and Culture, Utrecht University (UU)), Brianna Kennedy (Education, Utrecht University (UU)). Networks/Other: Simon Mamahit (Students of the Game network, Cultoor Oost), Aafje de Roest (Students of the Game network, Leiden University (LEI))


Afro-Dutch, anti-racism, belonging, black, Black Europe., cohesion, Diversity, ethnicity, hip hop, media, popular culture, race, sports

Other organisations

CultoorOost, Erasmus Universiteit (EUR), Fare Network, Groningen, Hanze Hogeschool Groningen, Leiden University (LEI), LKCA, Organizations: Mulier Institute, Other: Students of the Game network, Participatie Federatie, Research Center for Material Culture, Students of the Game network, UU. Networks, UvA


Organisation Utrecht University (UU)
Name Dr. R.A. (Rachel) Gillett