Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Migrant Belongings: Digital Practices and the Everyday has been postponed to Spring 2021. 

The new submission deadline for panels is 31 January 2021. Abstracts can be submitted until 15 February 2021. For submission guidelines see below. 
Call for papers

Migrant belonging through digital connectivity refers to a way of being in the world that cuts across national borders, shaping new forms of diasporic affiliations and transnational intimacy. This happens in ways that are different from the ways enabled by the communication technologies of the past. Scholarly attention has intensified around the question of how various new technical affordances of platforms and apps are shaping the transnationally connected, and locally situated, social worlds in which migrants live their everyday lives.
This international conference focuses on the connection between the media and migration from different disciplinary vantage points. Connecting with friends, peers and family, sharing memories and personally identifying information, navigating spaces and reshaping the local and the global in the process is but one side of the coin of migrant-related technology use: this Janus-faced development also subjects individuals as well as groups to increased datafied migration management, algorithmic control and biometric classification as well as forms of transnational authoritarianism and networked repression.
This conference pays particular attention to the everyday use of digital media for the support of transnational lives, emotional bonds and cosmopolitan affiliations, focusing also on the role digital media play in shaping local/urban and national diasporic formations. This is because it becomes increasingly important to give everyday digital media usage a central role in investigations of transnational belonging, digital intimacy, diasporic community (re)production, migrant subject formation, long-distance political participation, urban social integration and local/national self-organization.
Therefore we need to examine individual and collective user practices within the wider historical and cultural contexts of media studies, cultural studies and postcolonial cultural studies scholarship, attuned to issues of politics and power, identity, geographies and the everyday. This also creates new challenges for cross-disciplinary dialogues that require an integration of ethnography with digital methods and critical data studies in order to look at the formation of identity and experience, representation, community building, and creating spaces of belongingness.
Contributions are welcome from any field of study that engages with questions about how technology and social media usages mediate contemporary migration experiences, not only within media and communication studies, or digital and internet studies but also in neighbouring disciplines such as anthropology, postcolonial studies, gender studies, race studies, psychology, law, visual studies, conflict studies, criminology, sociology, critical theory, political theory and international relations.
Contributions that explore non-media-centric entry points by focusing on users’ digital practices and foregrounding ethnographic exploration as a uniting framework are especially welcome.
The conference is part of the ERC project CONNECTINGEUROPE, Digital Crossings in Europe: Gender, Diaspora and Belonging. 
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
  • Affective digital practices and the politics of emotion
  • Digital diaspora
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Cities and urban belonging
  • Translocality and transnationalism
  • Co-presence and togetherness
  • Cultural capital
  • Migrant visualization
  • Appification of migration
  • Platformization of migrant lives
  • Gender and critical race
  • The migration industry of connectivity
  • Digital ethnography
  • Transnational authoritarianism
  • Networked conflicts
  • Datafication and surveillance

Submissions for panels should be submitted via e-mail to by 31 January 2021.
  • Submission for panels should include a chairperson, a rationale for the panel (250 words), and the names of three speakers including their abstract (250 words) and biographical note (150 words).
Abstracts should be submitted electronically, using the online submission system by 15 February 2021.
  • Submissions for papers should include an abstract (max 300 words) and short biographical note (150 words) about the author including her/his current position and interest in the field of digital media and migration.
For further questions please mail:
The PDF of this call for papers is available here.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Deadline Extended *** Postcolonial Bauman Conference

University of Leeds, September 3-4 2020
KEYNOTES: Etienne Balibar; Carlo Bordoni and David Lyon (others TBC)

As one of the most prominent and influential intellectuals of our times, Zygmunt Bauman envisaged and practiced sociology as a dialogical activity.

Jointly held by the Bauman Institute and the Postcolonial Intellectuals and their European Publics Network (PIN), this transdisciplinary conference proceeds in this spirit by inviting a dialogue between Bauman and postcolonial studies organised around four overlapping strands, each of which reflects on the composite figure of ‘postcolonial Bauman’:
  1. Postcolonialism and Postcommunism;
  2. Postcolonial Europe
  3. The Intellectual as Outsider
  4. The Intellectual as seen from the Outside
The full Call for Papers can be downloaded by clicking below


As we each adapt to the new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to recognise the dramatic changes to everyone’s home and working life by extending the deadline for our Call for Papers.

So – abstracts may now be received until 12.00 noon (BST) on Monday 11th May 2020.
Abstracts should be no more than 150 words and clearly linked to one of the four conference strands outlined in the original Call for Papers available by clicking here.

Please email your abstracts to the Organising Committee via Sarah McLaughlin –

Decisions on abstracts will be communicated to authors not later than Friday 15th May 2020.
*** Given the current global uncertainty concerning the health risks of travel (as well as possible restrictions on movement, perhaps into September) – and to make our event as inclusive as possible by assisting the participation of academic and non-academic colleagues from all parts of the world – we are currently planning for the possibility of this 10th Anniversary Conference being held entirely online. FURTHER DETAILS FORTHCOMING ***

Please take good care of yourselves, friends and family.
With our best wishes,
The Bauman Institute

Organising Committee:
Professor Griselda Pollock, Dr Mark Davis, Professor Max Silverman, Professor Tony Bryant, Professor Graham Huggan, Dr Jack Palmer, Ms Sarah McLaughlin.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

9th PCI Film Series

The Postcolonial Studies Initiative is happy to announce its 9th film series with a selection of films, shown monthly, that draw on a variety of different contexts in our postcolonial world. The series is organized annually and invites all interested in our European postcolonial present and the representation of its political, cultural and aesthetic realities and challenges. Each film will be introduced briefly by scholars connected to the PCI and international guests and filmmakers.

This series will include presentations with filmmakers and Q&As. We are very happy that this series will be opened by Pravini Baboeram who will present “The Uprising”, a music documentary that tells the story of resistance against racism in Europe.

Please join us for our first screening: 

The Uprising with Q&A with director (dir. Pravini Baboeram, 2019)  

About the film: 
Musician and activist Pravini Baboeram presents “The Uprising”, a music documentary that tells the story of resistance against racism in Europe. With commentary and experiences from academics and activists, the Dutch-Indian singer/songwriter offers a decolonial perspective on the anti-racism movement in the Netherlands, UK and France. She not only provides an analysis of the history and legacy of colonialism, but also a vision on strategy for the future of the movement.
This documentary zooms in on collective challenges of communities of color. In 9 self-written songs Pravini connects the fight against Blackface, the struggle for the recognition of colonial crimes that the Netherlands has committed in Indonesia, the fight for the liberation of Palestine and the struggle in the political field for an inclusive society. “The Uprising” offers a unique view of the resistance against racism in Europe through the eyes of people of color. Pravini's documentary has been selected for the international film festival DocuDonna in Massa Marittima, Italy. This festival focuses predominately on female directors who focus on societal issues in their work. For more information click here. To see the trailer click here.
Practical information
Date: 14 October, 2019
Time: 17:15-19:00
Location: Entrance at Muntstraat 2A, MCW-LAB (Grote zaal KNG20)
Admission is free of charge. However, due to safety regulations, maximum capacity of the room is 80 people. Because the screening is part of the postcolonial studies minor, seating for non-UU students is limited. 

Cold War (dir. Pawlikowski, France, Poland, UK, 2018,1.28 min)  

Introduced by Sandra Ponzanesi (Utrecht University, Media and Culture Studies) 

Love Without Borders

Set against the background of the Cold War in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris, the film depicts an impossible love story in impossible times. Over and over, the hero and heroine of the film are separated by borders and ideologies, but they remain fatefully drawn to each other. 

On November 9, 2019, the pictures of the fall of the Berlin Wall are celebrating their 30th anniversary. On November 25, the PCI is screening Cold War by acclaimed filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski to mark the event. The film is an ode to love at the time of the Iron Curtain, and the tragic divisions caused before the Peaceful Revolution of 1989. Paweł Pawlikowski follows his Oscar-winning Ida with the stunning Cold War, an epic romance set against the backdrop of Europe after World War II. Shot in luminous black and white, it’s a wistful and dreamlike journey through a divided continent – and a heartbreaking portrait of ill-fated love.

Paweł Pawlikowski won the best director award at Cannes in May 2018, the European Film Prize in five categories (best film, best director, best actress, best scenario, best editing) and the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards and for two BAFTA Awards.
Polish-born Pawel Pawlikowski started as a documentary filmmaker in British television. His second feature, Last Resort (2000), about an east European woman and her young son, washed up here in an unbelievably grim seaside holding area for asylum seekers, earned him international critical acclaim at numerous festivals, including Toronto and Sundance, and won the 2001 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award.
Official website:

Official website:
Practical information:
Date: 25 November, 2019
Time: 17:00-19:00
Location: Entrance at Muntstraat 2A, MCW-LAB (Grote zaal KNG20)
More info:
Admission is free of charge. However, due to safety regulations, maximum capacity of the room is 80 people. Because the screening is part of the postcolonial studies minor, seating for non-UU students is limited. 

Paris is Burning (dir. Jenny Livingston 1990)  

Introduced by Zerrin Cengiz (Utrecht University) and Milica Trakilović (Utrecht University)
The legendary documentary Paris is Burning (Jenny Livingston, 1990) about the New York Underground drag queen and transgender culture.

A new restoration of Paris Is Burning has been released. The timing couldn’t be more apt: this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which arrives at a fraught time in queer visibility. It’s no wonder that in addition to being cherished and debated over the years, Paris Is Burning has often been taught in colleges and beyond, an urtext for debates about the meanings of gender, race, class, and sexuality.
 Over the past decade, Jennie Livingston’s landmark 1990 documentary “Paris Is Burning” has had a renaissance of sorts, thanks in no small part to the popularity of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” If you’ve never seen “Paris Is Burning,” you’re only getting half of what “Drag Race” has to offer, so a new restoration and theatrical re-release of the film courtesy of Janus Films is the perfect opportunity to catch up.
Practical information
Date: 13 January, 2019
Time: 17:00-19:00
Location: Entrance at Muntstraat 2A, MCW-LAB (Grote zaal KNG20)

Admission is free of charge. However, due to safety regulations, maximum capacity of the room is 80 people. Because the screening is part of the postcolonial studies minor, seating for non-UU students is limited.


Palimpsest of the Africa Museum (2019) & Lobi Kuna (2018) 

Introduction and Q&A with filmmaker Matthias De Groof


During this special PCI screening event filmmaker Matthias De Groof will show fragments of his films 'Palimpsest of the Africa Museum’, a documentary on the renovation of the Tervuren museum in Belgium, and its crippled decolonization. He will also show Lobi Kuna, a participative fiction on cultural heritage. The film performs a cinematic restitution.

In 2013, the Royal Museum for Central Africa closes for renovation. Not only the building and the museum cabinets are in need of renewal: the spirit of the museum has to be brought into this century. The documentary which resulted from the renovations, entitled Palimsest of the Africamuseum, will be shown and introduced by the filmmaker, who will also show fragments of a Lobi Kuna, fiction film he made with Congolese friends on restitution. Both films are part of a cinematic triptych showing crippling decolonisations. While showing these processes, the triptych itself attempts to undo the historic entanglements between the medium of cinema and coloniality.

Matthias De Groof is a postdoctoral researcher affiliated with the University of Antwerp. He has held visiting fellow appointments at the New York University, the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies in Finland, and the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence of the Bayreuth University in Germany.

Palimpsest of the Africa Museum (dir. Matthias De Groof in collaboration with Mona Mpembele, 2019, 1,09 min.)
In 2013, the Royal Museum for Central Africa, located just outside Brussels, closes for renovation. Not only the building and the museum cabinets are in need of renewal: the spirit of the museum has to be brought into this century. In COMRAF, a board of advisers, the process of decolonization leads to fierce discussions. In order to completely dislodge the majestic building from its colonial form, fundamental questions also need to be asked. Who is looking at whom here? And whose story is being told here? For the trailer, see here.

Lobi Kuna (avant-hier / après-demain), (dir. Matthias De Groof, 2018, 45 min.)
Lobi Kuna” is the fruit of a strong friendship between a Belgian and a Congolese. The film is based on a visit Mekhar (Congolese artist) and dr. Matthias De Groof paid to the museum of Central-Africa in Belgium. “Lobi Kuna” became the fruit of common concerns and reflections on interrelated issues such as the diasporic journey, stolen heritage, racism, museums and the postcolonial condition. It tells the story of Mekhar’s gaze being unsettled as he views through his lens the macabre museum as a mausoleum of his cultural heritage. Lobi Kuna tells the story of his appropriation of the past in order to project himself into a future. Being co-written by a Congolese, partially shot in Congo by a Congolese crew, co-produced by Congolese, the film is participatory / collaborative.

Practical information
Date: 9 March, 2020
Time: 17:00-20:00
Location: Entrance at Muntstraat 2A, MCW-LAB (Grote zaal KNG20)
More information:
Admission is free of charge. However, due to safety regulations, maximum capacity of the room is 80 people. Because the screening is part of the postcolonial studies minor, seating for non-UU students is limited.