Around the world, racist discourses, attitudes, and practices have moved from the fringes into the mainstream, putting core democratic values under pressure. Familiar racial orders have resurfaced and reinforced racist borders, both metaphorical and material. The various contributions to the sixth annual conference of the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (ACGS) examine how forms, discourses and practices of racism have materialized in various institutional contexts.
Organized in cooperation with the collaborative research center Dynamics of Security at the Universities of Giessen and Marburg, Germany, the conference’s main conceptual focus is on the institutional dimensions of racism. How and by whom has racism been ‘mainstreamed’ in different countries and regions around the globe? What kinds of discourses, techniques, strategies, and tactics have been mobilized to mainstream racism? And how does this take shape in diverse institutional settings, including politics, education, international institutions, the media, cultural foundations, the police, and the legal system?
In the wake of unrestrained, state-led xenophobia and populist nationalism, the function of race as a building block of culture, education, finance, nationalism, and democracy can no longer be dissolved into ethnicity, nationalism, and religion. Thus, the function of race cannot be hidden behind modernity, the Enlightenment, multiculturalism or civilization, deferred to the histories of ‘other’ places and ‘other’ peoples, or relegated to a past that was ostensibly erased with the end of the Holocaust, colonialism, and the birth of modern institutions such as the European Union and the United Nations. The various contributions to the conference employ a full range of research tools and approaches to take stock of how race and racism have continued to underscore state histories and institutions, as well as everyday practices, habits, gestures, affects, languages, aesthetics, and representations alike.