Department of Culture and Learning

Conference on Race in Contemporary Denmark

Conference on Race in
Contemporary Denmark

18 - 19 January 2018

Aalborg University Copenhagen

Race has an ambiguous and contentious presence in contemporary Denmark. In the broader public issues concerning racialization and neo-colonialist discourses and policies are often seen as belonging to the past and with no relevance in a post-racial present. In recent years, however, critical approaches to racism and colonialism have gained more traction. While scholars have observed a widespread denial of structural racism in Danish society, activist groups led by minorities and people of color have offered strong interventions aimed to challenge racial oppression and dominant knowledge around the legacy of Danish colonialism.

These developments and the emerging racial awareness call for more nuanced understandings and examinations of the complexity of racialization and the role of neocolonialism in Denmark. As such, it also opens up for approaching race as a multifarious phenomenon that intersectionally embrace gender, class, religion, and not least time and space. The conference will include keynote speakers and panels that ask questions, such as: how does race works in contemporary Danish society? Can one talk about race in Denmark without talking about anti-Semitism, islamophobia, anti-blackness and ultra-nationalistic ideologies? And how can decolonial and postcolonial theory contribute to contemporary scholarly work on racialization and race?

The conference approaches race and neocolonialism in contemporary Denmark through its historical continuities and disruptions, and we welcome investigations of race through a variety of domains such as (but not limited to) refugee and border control, integration policies, popular culture, trafficking laws, foreign policy, transnational kinship, radicalization as well as development and humanitarian aid. At the very heart of these academic discussions, we ask about the state of race and neocolonialism in contemporary Denmark; what is (not) unique about the Danish case? And how may general and international experiences, discussions, and theories might produce new understandings of racialization in Denmark?

The 2-day conference will be organized around four thematic workshops (‘streams’) and a number of keynote talks.


Stream I: Racial Blind Spots in Danish Policy Domains

Stream II: Race and the Contentious Production of Post/De Colonial Spaces

Stream III: Researching Critical Media Events and Resistance to Racism and Racialization in Denmark

Stream IV: Intersectional Perspectives on Race


Conference Chair Steffen Jensen

Conference secretary Julie Skibsted Larsen

Conference secretary Tine Thomsen

Call for papers
Practical information
Organizing Committee