Webinar Series 2: Black Lives Past and Present

CLUE+ and the Graduate School of Humanities VU cordially invite you to the second webinar series: Black Lives Past and Present.

11/17/2020 | 4:00 PM

The next webinar in this series will take place on 18 May 2021 (see below)

‘In recent months 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. 

To view the webinars of the first Black Lives Past and Present series, click here.

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://tinyurl.com/4y7327fc to register. After registration you will receive information on how to join the webinar.

Tuesday 18 May: 16:00-17:00 (CEST)

Polyvocal Interpretation of Contested Colonial Heritage

In the project Polyvocal Interpretation of Contested Colonial Heritage (PICCH), funded by the European Joint Programming Initiative Cultural Heritage (JPI-CH), the VU Amsterdam will take part in a 5-nation research consortium led by Prof. Daniela Petrelli of Sheffield Hallam University (UK), which seeks to incorporate voices and needs of users into the access and curation of colonial heritage.  The two-year project is focused on digitized collections of colonial audiovisual heritage  held by the Pitt-Rivers Museum (UK), Ina-theque (France) and The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (NL), as well as the European audiovisual heritage portal EUScreen. Working across these collections, it aims to identify and map shared racialised representations connected with their respective imperial contexts, identify problematic visualisation and language and open up a dialogue between the archives and a variety of users, including archivists, researchers, filmmakers, and grassroots organisations on how to explore and make use of such heritage.  This multidisciplinary project brings together methods and insights from colonial and postcolonial theory, official and personal history, archival science and user studies, audio processing and language technology, and critical heritage and participation.  The project will employ state-of-the-art digital tools to analyze and annotate the audiovisual documents, as well as conduct intensive use studies with various stakeholder communities to assess how they search and mobilize audiovisual content.   

Besides VU Amsterdam and Sheffield Hallam (UK), project partners include Aix Marseille Univiversity (FR), Oslo Metropolitan University (NO) and VoiceInteraction - Tecnologias de Processamento da Fala, (PT).  Professor Badenoch will be able to hire a postdoc and a senior developer. Together they will carry out the Dutch part of the project, which, in addition to researching (post)colonial collections at Sound and Vision in the framework of the project, will lead the work package devoted to implementing the lessons learned from analyses of content and use. They will produce guidelines for best practice as well as work to develop a prototype interface for use with EUScreen, the European portal for audiovisual heritage, to allow new kinds of browsing and polyvocal interpretations of colonial heritage.

Poster 2.4

Tuesday 6 April: 16:00-17:00 (CEST)

Under Cover of Darkness: Gender, labour and race in the Cape, from the colonial period to the present

[Click here to watch a recording of this webinar]

The Under Cover of Darkness exhibition (www.undercoverofdarkness.co.za) at the Slave Lodge in Cape Town intended to surface the stories of twelve women in servitude during the early Dutch colonial occupation at the Cape of Good Hope as a means to render this history more visible. Recently the exhibition hosted a symposium titled Uncovering: Women's invisible labour in the Cape. In both the exhibition and the symposium, the legacies of women’s labour in the Cape were traced from colonialism to contemporary times. They sought to highlight how labour practices in the Cape, especially the clothing and textile industries, as well as the service and cleaning industries, continue patterns established during colonialism and through slavery. The project as a whole advocates for a recognition of invisible labours of care, and the pressures brought to bear on those who perform it.

The Under Cover of Darkness project team

Carine-ZaaymanCarine Zaayman

Carine Zaayman is an artist, curator and scholar committed to critical engagement with colonial archives and collections, specifically those holding strands of Khoekhoe pasts. Bringing intangible and neglected histories into view is a key motivation for her work. Her research aims to contribute to a radical reconsideration of colonial archives and museum collections, especially by assisting in finding ways to release their hold over our imaginations when we narrate the past, as well as how we might shape futures from it. She obtained a PhD in Fine Art from the University of Cape Town in 2019 and worked as a senior lecturer for its Michaelis School of Fine Art and the Centre for Curating the Archive until then. At present, Zaayman is a postdoctoral fellow at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, as a team member in the Worlding Public Cultures project.

Jade NairJade Nair

Jade Nair is a project manager at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Curating the Archive. She has been part of the Centre since 2013 and been involved in various curatorial, archival and research projects including exhibitions, documentaries and digital archives dealing with political history, queer archives and the clothing and textile industry. Much of her work has been centred on the afterlife of apartheid in the form of land restitution and the effects of South Africa’s socio-economic structure on vulnerable populations. Having grown up in Cape Town, the history and heritage of the Western Cape is a significant part of her research. She holds a BA honours degree in curatorship from the University of Cape Town.

Nina LiebenbergNina Liebenberg

Nina Liebenberg is an artist, a curator, and a lecturer at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Curating the Archive. She has been teaching on the Honours in Curatorship programme since 2013, and has facilitated annual interdisciplinary workshops for the programme, using curation as methodology to explore various overlaps and connections between diverse university departments.  As a PhD candidate, her current research  is focused on disciplinary object collections as covert markers of the colonial and apartheid regimes;  and curatorship and artmaking as methodologies able to address these histories through uncovering and extending the meaning of these material depositories beyond their disciplinary scope. 

Poster 2.3


The webinar on Wednesday 8 December will be hosted by the IISH, to attend this webinar click here (no registration required). 

Tuesday 8 December: 15:30-17:00

Anthony Bogues: Trumpism Stalled – American democracy and the recent election

To attend this lecture, use the link: https://knaw-nl.zoom.us/j/94805568064?pwd=NUhuRUl5ZWhGekszbnBHdHRRanBjdz09

Donald Trump was defeated in a  bitterly contested election, which saw the largest turnout of the American electorate in 120 years. The Trump regime reworked a version of American conservatism constructing a politics that was authoritarian-populist. It was a political project to create an “illiberal democracy" privileging an imagined community of whiteness. This talk will discuss this project, the election results and ask the question wither Trumpisim after Trump.  

Anthony Bogues is the Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and the inaugural director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the IISH where he is co-convening a global project on Slavery, Race and the Making of Capitalism.

This lecture is part of the monthly IISH Seminar series. This seminar is open to the public online only. This lecture is co-hosted by the VU Research Institute for Culture, Cognition, History and Heritage (CLUE+), as part of its Black Lives, Past and Present lecture series.

Poster 2.2

Tuesday 17 November 2020: 16.00-17.00

Beyond White Jesus

[Click here to watch a recording of this webinar]

Peter-Ben Smit: If we are like him, isn’t he like us? Inculturation, ownership and Jesus in Western “white” tradition

The best argument against “the” white Jesus is: the white Jesus. Christian faith was formed by and played a role in forming Western and Northern European culture. This has led to a variety of representations of Jesus, frequently white, always responding to specific contexts and needs. Christ entered culture: a process of “in-culturation”; the results range from Jesus as a victim of the plague, by way of Jesus as philosopher or shepherd, to Jesus as a transgender person or a person with Down’s syndrome. Considering this shows that representations of Jesus are always in flux and not a single one of them can be regarded as normative for all contexts and people, not even “the” white Jesus, which, in fact, only exists as a plethora of diverse representations of Jesus in relation to particular situations.

Robert Beckford: Your white Jesus can't Save Us, But the Black Christ might Save You

In Caribbean diaspora cultures in Britain, the white Jesus is so ideologically 'loaded' that its inclusion makes no meaningful contribution to the struggle for Christian racial justice. The solution for artists is to construct Black images of Christ to promote black resistance and re-existence.  But can these representations offer more than a contribution to the sacred cause of "Black Lives Matter? Does the black Christ connote inclusivity, or is it a reproduction of the bias the artists seek to overcome?

Poster 2.1