Webinar Series: Black Lives Past and Present

CLUE+, Debatcentrum 3D VU and the VU Diversity Office cordially invite you to the Webinar series: Black Lives Past and Present

07/01/2020 | 4:00 PM

‘In recent weeks we have been re-awakened by loud voices of anger and sorrow at the injustice called racism. They speak of violence that kills people. They also speak of hidden power structures in our society that put people at a disadvantage because of fewer opportunities to develop themselves or because of ethnic profiling’ (statement on racism by VU, click here to read the full statement). The research institute CLUE+ of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam wishes to take part in the ‘courageous conversations’ about uncomfortable questions with sometimes painful answers. By organizing a series of webinars on the history of slavery, colonialism, institutional racism and violence we hope to contribute to these conversations with insights from history.

Practical information

The series consists of short introductions by the speakers after which the audience can ask questions via the chat. Moderator will be Aaron Peterer
If you wish to attend, please use this link: https://vu-live.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_8cG9JXFoTMWSAhmGUmOQOQ to register. After registration you will receive information on how to join the webinar.

1. Wednesday July 1: 16.00-17.00

Remembering the history of slavery and race relations in Europe on the day of Keti Koti

[Click here to watch a recording of this webinar]

Aaron Peterer: Memory Walk
introduction of the series followed by a viewing and discussion of a short film clip: Street interviews by students at the National Monument of Slavery Heritage in Amsterdam, Oosterpark  https://youtu.be/L4kTGYXx7EA

Aaron Peterer 

Aaron Peterer obtained his BA in Comparative Arts and Media Studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and is international project manager at Anne Frank House, producing and directing international educational projects about traces of discrimination. Among his projects is “Memory Walk”, where students produce filmclips discussing monuments.

Dienke Hondius: Blackness and Whiteness in European History: Racial Patterns of Paternalism and Exclusion


How did race relations develop in Western Europe? Which patterns and traces can be recognized? What are persistent trends in this history, and where can we find changes? What is the relevance of these insights for today’s debates about racism and anti-racism?

Dienke Hondius is assistant professor of history at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and staff member of the Anne Frank House. Currently the Ida E. King Distinguished Scholar of Holocaust Studies at Stockton University in Galloway, New Jersey. Among her research projects are Mapping Slavery (see www.mappingslavery.nl) and Mapping Hiding Places (work in progress: see  https://arcg.is/1r9Ovu and https://arcg.is/bOLfT) Among her books are Blackness in Western Europe; and co-authored are the Amsterdam Slavery Heritage Guide; Dutch New York Histories; Netherlands Slavery History Guide. 

Interesting links:

Documentary 'HERE. Black in Rembrandt's time' about the exhibition at the Rembrandthuis Museum (Dutch only)

Mapping Slavery Project: www.mappingslavery.nl




2. Wednesday July 8: 16.00-17.00

Wim Manuhutu: From Main Target to Golden Child and beyond. Decolonizing the history of the Moluccas

empty[Click here to watch a recording of this webinar]

Wim Manuhutu

As the Black Lives Matter is also targeting institutional and systemic racism and inequalities and is linking up with movements demanding decolonizing of public spaces and institutions, universities are not exempt from what is happening. Historians are challenged to revisit and critically investigate the frameworks in which they operate. The history of the Moluccas and the Moluccan community in the Netherlands provides a case where colonial perspectives on these histories have been dominant, even after formal decolonization (i.e. the image of the ‘loyal Ambonese’) and where a process of decolonization of history is still ongoing as the recent protests against the statute of Jan Pieterszoon Coen in Hoorn have brought to light.

Wim Manuhutu is a lecturer at the History Department of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In 2016 he co-organized a workshop on the history of slavery in Indonesia at Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta and is working with Indonesian historians and heritage professionals on Mapping Slavery in Indonesia. As a former director of the Moluccan Historical Museum he has a long standing involvement in Moluccan history in the context of decolonization and postcolonial Dutch society. 

Poster 2

3. Wednesday July 15: 16.00-17.00

Pepijn Brandon: When, where and how did the Dutch slave-trade begin?

[Click here to watch a recording of this webinar]

Pepijn Brandon

The year 1637 is commonly seen as the starting point of Dutch involvement in the slave-trade. Participation in the slave-trade in the four decades before that date is described as incidental. This timeline ignores the significant involvement of the VOC in slavery before 1637, and underestimates the importance of early WIC attempts to gain a foothold in the trade. Understanding the beginnings of the Dutch slave-trade requires connecting histories of Dutch expansion in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Re-examining the literature on this subject also raises profound questions about the status of black and brown lives in Dutch history writing.

Pepijn Brandon is Assistant Professor Economic and Social History at the VU and Senior Researcher at the International Institute of Social History. His work focuses on interconnections between capitalist development, war and slavery. He currently coordinates the City of Amsterdam's investigation into the city's historic role in slavery in the Atlantic and Asia. He was the 2020 Erasmus Lecturer of the History and Civilization of the Netherlands and Flanders at Harvard University, and is a Research Fellow at the Center of the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University.

Poster 3