Manuela Boatcă

Manuela Boatcă

Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg

Manuela Boatcă is Professor of Sociology and Head of School of the Global Studies Programme at the University of Freiburg, Germany. She has a degree in English and German languages and literatures and a PhD in sociology. She was Visiting Professor at IUPERJ, Rio de Janeiro in 2007/08 and Professor of Sociology of Global Inequalities at the Latin American Institute of the Freie Universität Berlin from 2012 to 2015. She has published widely on world-systems analysis, decolonial perspectives on global inequalities, gender and citizenship in modernity/coloniality, and the geopolitics of knowledge in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Alongside literary scholar Anca Parvulescu (Washington University in St. Louis, USA), she recently co-authored Creolizing the Modern. Transylvania Across Empires (Cornell University Press, 2022), forthcoming in German and Romanian translation in 2023. 

Talk Information:

Unthinkable Europeans in Unequal Europes. Defining Romani Europeans Out of Whiteness
January 21, 2023 | 9:00 AM

Present in Europe for centuries, but still not considered of Europe or addressed as Europeans, the Roma are not part of Europe’s reckoning with either racism or enslavement. Such reckoning routinely restricts European racism temporally to the Holocaust, conflating racism with antisemitism; and relegates enslavement spatially to Africa and the Americas, equating enslavement with the transatlantic trade. The Roma fall through these temporal and spatial cracks in Europe’s current politics of memory. I trace this structural oblivion to an Occidentalist imaginary that equates Europeanness with whiteness and that has historically produced unequal Europes in the South and East of the continent to which non-white and other non-conforming populations, histories, and events can routinely be relegated. Drawing on Michel Rolph Trouillot’s analysis of the Haitian Revolution as an "unthinkable history" made by enslaved Black people, I argue that European politics of memory will remain incomplete as long as the history and the present of anti-Roma racism, the legacies of Romani enslavement, and the implications of such histories for the (im)possibility of constructing an identity as Romani Europeans are deemed unthinkable in an Occidentalist white Europe. 

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