Podiumsdiskussion Monday, 17. July 2017 in

Race and Ethnicity: Anthropological Responses to Contemporary Challenges

Creator: Katharina Schramm. All rights reserved.
Date, Time
Monday, 17. July 2017, 6:00 pm Save in my calendar
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung - Headquarter Berlin
Schumannstr. 8
10117 Berlin
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung - Headquarter Berlin

In recent years, race has been revisited as an important topic in public fora and political debates on a global scale. These discussions about race span different temporalities and various social fields. They reach from political movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and #RhodesMustFall to the urgency of the so‐called “refugee crisis” and the heterogeneous politics of inclusion and exclusion attached to it throughout “Fortress Europe”. They are present in renewed attentions to colonial modes of representation and governance and their ongoing reverberations in the present; from the contested institutional spaces of museums and their collections, to forensic expertise and genetic laboratories. They become apparent in the rise of populism and fascism throughout Europe and beyond. This panel discussion aims to bring together the realms of scholarly and public engagement with those of political activism, asking how anthropologists can think, research and write about race in these troubled times.

The panel will address these questions through the following axes:

1. The role of race in the history of anthropology is problematic and ambiguous: On the one hand, anthropological scholarship has been foundational to race thinking. On the other hand, it has been an important platform of critique. How can anthropologists draw on this history in articulating scholarly and public positions on race?

2. How can we respond critically and productively to the above‐mentioned challenges? How can we redefine an engaged anthropology in the current moment? What can we learn from anthropologists who have shaped an engaged practice within the study of race?

3. This question is related to the situatedness of knowledge production and the institutional politics connected to it. A lot of the critical scholarship on race has been pioneered by scholars of colour, yet it is often sidelined in (white) mainstream anthropology. What steps need to be taken to counter institutional processes of marginalization?

4. There seems to be a specific hesitation in European anthropology to study race – a reluctance which might have to do with the fear of reproducing racialisations when studying them or be based in a pervasive belief of European color‐blindness. This is why we find race within European Anthropology so often in the camouflage of other terminologies. However, race and racism work in specific ways that are not captured by terms such as “culture”, “ethnicity” or “diversity”. We therefore ask what a critical analysis of race could look like from a European perspective without taking race for granted as an explanatory category and by including a thorough interrogation of the term “race“.


  • Manuela Bojadzijev, Juniorprofessor for Globalized Cultures, Leuphana University
  • Sinan Çankaya, Cultural Anthropologue, Utrecht University
  • Damani Partridge, Associate Professor, Departments of Anthropology, DAAS
  • Jennifer Tosch, Black Heritage Tours, Amsterdam

Chair: Katharina Schramm Professor for the "Anthropology of Global Inequalities (FU Berlin) und Markus Balkenhol, Postdoctoral Fellow at Meertens Instituut

A cooperation with: Network Anthropology of Race and Ethnicity (ARE) of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)


Prof. Dr. Katharina Schramm
E-Mail: schramm.katharina@fu-berlin.de