What are you looking for?

Photo credit: l’Originɛ
24 January
11:00 - 12:30
Korte Spinhuissteeg
Conference Room

African by Design


The date of this event has been changed!

Cultural anthropologist Marleen de Witte will discuss the emergence of an Afro-Dutch identity among Amsterdam’s youth.

About the Seminar

Culture, identity, and belonging have become contentious issues in the Netherlands, both in political and public debates and among ‘minority’ populations. While dominant discourses demand cultural assimilation ever more forcefully, African-descended youth are exploring their ‘African heritage’ and develop new notions of Dutchness. In this seminar, Marleen de Witte will talk about her project on the emergence of an ‘Afro-Dutch’ identity among young Amsterdammers of various African, Afro-Caribbean, and mixed backgrounds.

Young people creatively refashion ethnic and cultural heritages as an identity marker; at the same time there is a growing emphasis on identity and belonging as primordial, located in blood, genes, and ancestry. How does this paradox play out in urban youth culture?

Marleen will first outline her approach of cultural identity as a practice of design, integrating its affective-aesthetic and political dimensions. She will then discuss examples of ‘African heritage’ making from the fields of music and dance, fashion, and hair styling. The focus is on the interplay between design and authentication, with particular attention to the multiple roles of the body: marker of racialized difference, object of self-styling, and resource for authentication.

Photo credit: l’Originɛ

About NIAS Seminars

NIAS Seminars are aimed to stimulate scientific cross-pollination within the NIAS academic community, but seminars are open to others who are interested. Please  if you wish to attend.