On Emancipatory Blackness in Central and Southeast Europe

Convenors: Dr Nicolette Makovicky (REES, OSGA) and Dr Agnieszka Kościańska (Leverhulme Fellow at REES, OSGA)

Speaker: Professor Sunnie Rucker-Chang (University of Cincinnati)


Blackness has come to be defined as much by struggle and hardship as its emancipatory potential, particularly in its connections to Négritude, the Civil Rights movement, decolonial movements, and the proliferation of Black American culture. It has even come to have meaning in in Central and Southeast Europe (CSEE), spaces not traditionally associated with Blackness. To be “Black,” either by personal or external designation in CSEE, is defined both by local characteristics as well as coded by tenets of transnational Blackness. In this talk, I will discuss some uses and meanings of Blackness in former Yugoslav countries with a specific focus on Romani communities to elucidate the features of emancipatory Blackness from its transatlantic origins to its local manifestations in CSEE. 


Sunnie Rucker-Chang is Assistant Professor of Slavic and East European Studies and Director of European Studies the University of Cincinnati. In her scholarship, she examines how literary and filmic works contribute to cultural landscapes and offer insight into the construction of minority-majority and minority-minority relations and formations of difference in Southeast Europe. She is the co-author of Roma Rights and Civil Rights: A Transatlantic Comparison (Cambridge, 2020) and co-editor of Chinese Migrants in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Routledge, 2011). Other publications include articles in Slavic and East European Journal, Interventions: Journal of Post-Colonial Studies, Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Critical Romani Studies, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, and Liceum: Journal for Literary and Cultural Studies. 


All welcome, but we do ask that non-REES students please register their interest by emailing the REES office.