The Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies in cooperation with the Graduate Gender Programme (GGeP) at Utrecht University organises the fifteenth round of the Doing Gender Lecture Series. On 26 January 2016 Professor Emeritus of Gender Studies Gloria Wekker will speak about her new book White Innocence (Duke University Press, 2016).
The Netherlands: an ethical nation?
In her forthcoming book, White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race, Wekker explores a central paradox of Dutch culture: the passionate denial of racism and colonial violence coexisting alongside aggressive racism and xenophobia. Accessing a cultural archive built over 400 years of Dutch colonial rule, Wekker fundamentally challenges Dutch racial exceptionalism by undermining the dominant narrative of the Netherlands as a 'gentle' and 'ethical' nation. Wekker analyses the Dutch media's portrayal of black women and men, the failure to grasp race in the Dutch academy, contemporary conservative politics (including gay politicians espousing anti-immigrant rhetoric), and the controversy surrounding the folkloric character Black Pete, showing how the denial of racism and the expression of innocence safeguards white privilege. Wekker uncovers the postcolonial legacy of race and its role in shaping the white Dutch self, presenting the contested, persistent legacy of racism in the country.
Doing Gender Lecture Series
The Doing Gender lectures stress the importance of doing gender work combined with an active involvement in the practice of gender theory and research. The concept of 'doing gender' supports a hands-on approach to gender issues in the sense of social and political engagement with the new forms of gender inequalities that are taking shape in the world today. The lecture series wants to give space to the new generations of gender theorists and practitioners and to perspectives that innovate the field and do gender in new ways. Key is the notion of doing gender: what is the state of the art definition of gender? How do contemporary scholars and activists utilise this definition?
About the speaker
Gloria Wekker is Professor Emeritus of Gender Studies at Utrecht University and the author of several books, including The Politics of Passion: Women's Sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora. Wekker is a social and cultural anthropologist (UvA 1981). Her specializations are in the field of Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies, African American Studies, and Caribbean Studies. Since 2001 she has occupied the Aletta (IIAV)-chair Gender and Ethnicity at the Faculty of Humanities of Utrecht University. She has been the coordinator of the one-year Master 'Comparative Women's Studies in Culture and Politics' at Utrecht University. Wekker has published work in a wide range of areas including the sexual subjectivity of women in the black diaspora, knowledge systems in Dutch academia and Dutch multicultural society, diversity in the curriculum on literature and the history of black, migrant- and refugee women's movement in the Netherlands. She also writes short stories and poetry.