PostRacial Trans-Modernities: Afro-European Relations, Mediterranean Trajectories and Intercultural Reciprocities
Please tick all CIVIS universities involved in the proposal.
Aix-Marseille Université (France)
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece)
Universität Tübingen (Germany)
Contact at Aix-Marseille Université
Département d'études du monde anglophone
Contact at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Asimina Karavanta (Co-ordinator)
Academic title (if applicable)
Department of English Language and Literature
Contact at Universität Tübingen
Department of English
Project partners at CIVIS' African partner universities:
Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (Senegal)
Université de Sfax (Tunisia)
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)
Contact at Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (Senegal)
Academic title (if applicable)
Contact at Université de Sfax (Tunisia)
Faculty of Letters and Humanities
Contact at University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)
Department of African Literature
To which CIVIS Hub challenge (theme) does your project relate?
Society, Culture, Heritage
Cities, Territories, Mobilities
As border-spaces of Afro-European relations, the Mediterranean, the West African coast and the Cape of Good Hope have been contact zones between European and African cultures for a long time (Fernand Braudel, Les Mémoires de la Méditerranée, 1998; Martin Bernal, Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, 1987). The colonial and postcolonial relations between the imperial metropolises and the colonies, and, later, between post-imperial nation-states and postcolonial independent African nations have contributed to the growth of multicultural communities across Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Their creole characteristics and their intercultural heritages attest to the long history of Afro-European communities and cultures that have shaped Europe, parts of Africa and the Americas today. The migrants and refugees from former colonies and from other regions, who cross the Mediterranean and other borders to join these communities on the European continent contribute to their further development with their skills and knowledges; rather than a crisis, this project approaches this phenomenon as an opportunity for the further reinforcement of the intercultural, educational, scientific, economic and political exchanges between the two continents.
The presence and growth of Afro-European individuals and collectivities and the continuous arrival of new migrants from Africa are vital to the present and the future of Afro-European relations. What emerges through these relations is a “trans-modernity” (Walter Mignolo, The Politics of Decolonial Investigations, 2021; Enrique Dussel, Ethics of Liberation: In the Age of Globalization and Exclusion, 2013) whose center is the reciprocity between cultures and traditions that have been represented as oppositional and unequal across the axis of race. While in the last two decades or so, the term “post-racial” has created controversy in the United States where race is predominantly thought of as binary, this project proposes to become a platform in the CIVIS alliance for innovative collaborative research that will approach ‘PostRace’ as a methodological tool and as a basis in order to develop and disseminate antiracist discourses in a wide range of research, teaching and cultural practices that include, but are not limited to, interdisciplinary learning and research activities, intercultural artistic projects and exhibitions, cross-cultural performances and transnational research projects.
The focus on post-racial practices that this project proposes is timely and urgent, as across the geographic areas that are covered by CIVIS we observe a widening of racial domination, processes of re-racialisation and the transformation of race into categories that legitimise further oppression and stigmatisation.
The contemporary situation in Europe and Africa, across the Mediterranean and the Caribbean Seas as well as across the Atlantic Ocean that are co-implicated in the histories of the European and African continents, highlights the need for situated and relational thinking about race vis-à-vis language, ethnicity, socio-economic stratification, nationality and citizenship, to name but a few. This project will explore ‘PostRace’ as a critical concept in order to capitalise on existing creole and Afro-Caribbean and European communities, on their intercultural practices and posit a post-racial future. Among the questions that will be central to our investigation are the following:
What if we consider European modernity from the viewpoint of a PostRacial Trans-modernity whose geographical center is the sea and the racialized and gendered being? What if modernity and the “European tribe” (Caryl Phillips, The European Tribe, 1987) is delinked from its white mythology and be re-examined in light of these intercultural relations with Africa and its transatlantic connections with the Caribbean, as well as with southern Mediterranean cultures?
The PRTM (Post-Racial Trans-Modernities) CIVIS Team at a Glance:
Mina Karavanta (co-ordinator) specialises in Decolonial and Gender Studies, Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies and Migration Studies. With a background in Comparative Literature and Theory, she has published articles, special issues, and edited collections on postocolonial and decolonial studies, African-American and African Literature, Black British Studies, and Critical Theory. She has coordinated symposia and given seminars in France, Italy, Cyprus, the US, the US, Grenada (in the Caribbean) and Greece. Together with Stamatina Dimakopoulou, she is general editor of the peer-reviewed online journal Synthesis: an Anglophone Journal of Comparative Literary Studies (https://ejournals.epublishing.ekt.gr/index.php/synthesis/).
Fathi Bourmeche is Assistant Professor at the University of Sfax, Tunisia, Faculty of Letters and Humanities. He is member of the Laboratory on Approaches to Discourse (LAD). He has been teaching graduates and undergraduates of the English Department for more than 15 years. His teaching focuses on various subjects pertaining to Cultural Studies such as elections, political parties, race and ethnicity in the US and the UK, national identities and the media. He is also supervising MA students working on various subjects related to his area of expertise. He specializes in Migration Studies, focusing on recent migration trends and their impact on host societies, particularly in terms of their ethnic and racial makeup. He was a visiting scholar at Penn State University, The Behrend College, Erie, Pennsylvania as an awardee of a CEMAT grant on American Studies in 2015 to conduct fieldwork on Polish Americans. He was also a visiting scholar at University of Florida, Gainesville as a SUSI 2012 awardee, taking part in a series of seminars and lectures on US Foreign Policy. He has participated in a number of international conferences and events, including the Media flows Conference on Dissent and communication: voices and discourses in the era of alternative facts, held in Valencia (October 2021) and the 1st World Congress on Migration, Ethnicity, Race and Health, held in EICC, Edinburgh, Scotland (May 2018).
Pierluigi Cervelli is an associate professor at the University of Rome La Sapienza, where he teaches text semiotics. He is also research associate at the research center on social design of the University of Nimes Projekt and the Institute of Applied Linguistics (ILA) of the University of Abidjan. His basic research interest is a semiotic perspective on the cultural construction of otherness and marginality in the Italian culture, in particular about the fascist regime and contemporary migrations. His last book is "La frontiera interna. Il problema dell'altro dal fascismo alle migrazioni internazionali" (The internal frontier. The problem of the other from fascism to international migrations) (Esculapio Editore, Bologna 2020).
Stamatina Dimakopoulou has a background in comparative literature and publications on transatlantic dialogues across literature and the visual arts, and is currently researching disaffection and vulnerability along with tropes of sharedness and reciprocity. Committed to expanding the scope of academic practice in the humanities, she has designed and is currently conducting workshops in collaboration with the Athens-based ATOPOS CVC and the Athens School of Fine Arts. Together with Mina Karavanta, she is general editor of the peer-reviewed online journal Synthesis: an anglophone journal of comparative literary studies.
Anne Reynes-Delobel is a member of the Research Center on the Anglophone World at AMU. Her research and publications focus on American modernisms and the international avant-gardes, and more specifically on their transatlantic circulation in the interwar period. Anne was co-coordinator of the research project American Literature in France 1917-1967: The Role of Cultural Intermediaries and Mediators. She is the current president of The Kay Boyle Society (an ALA and SSAWAA affiliate)
Astrid Franke has a background in English, Biology and Philosophy, she has written a PhD on the function of stereotypes in literature. The work on her second book, a study of American public poetry from the 18th to the 21th century, was conducted in Frankfurt/M. and, for a year, at UC Berkeley. She has been a member of the Collaborative Research Center "Threatened Orders" with a project on the resilience of the racial order in the US. Other research interests include Popular Culture, Cultural History and Theory, Modern and Contemporary Novel, and, as an underlying thread, intersections of literature and sociology.
Susanne Goumegou is a graduate of the University Humboldt, Berlin. Before her appointment at Tübingen, she was teaching and researching at the Humboldt University, Berlin and the University Marc Bloch, Strasbourg and at the Ruhr University Bochum. Her research interests include Literature and Anthropological Knowledge as well as Fiction and Fictionality with a major focus on Italian Renaissance Literature and French Literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Catherine Mazauric is a member of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Study of Literature in Aix-Marseille and her published work and research focuses on francophone literature, migrant literature, and practices of reading. She is the general secretary of the Association for the Study of African Literature (APELA) and a member of the French National Centre for Scientific Research Group African Studies in France. She is currently a Fellow of the Institute Convergences Migrations (2021-2024)
Danai S. Mupotsa is a Senior Lecturer in African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She holds a BA in Africana Studies and Women’s Studies (Luther College), a B. Soc. Sc. (Hons, First Class, UCT) in Gender and Transformation, an M. Soc. Sci in Gender Studies (UCT) , and a PhD in African Literature and Cultural Studies (PhD). She specialises in gender and sexualities, black intellectual traditions and histories, intimacy and affect and feminist pedagogies. She has extensive experience and expertise in feminist and gender research and mainstreaming. Danai is a member of the editorial collective of Agenda Feminist Media, sits on the editorial board of the Brill series in youth cultures and serves on the executive board of the International Girlhood Studies Association. Danai has edited several volumes, most recently a special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies titled “Time Out of Joint: The Queer and the Customary in Africa” with Neville Hoad and Kirk Fiereck. In 2018, she published her first collection of poetry entitled feeling and ugly. The Portuguese translation, feio e ugly was published in 2020 by Editora Trinta Zero (Maputo). Danai is a 2020 Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equality.
Russell West-Pavlov teaches and researches comparative Global South cultural and literary studies, focusing on Australia, Africa and the Caribbean. Particular interests are the poetics of space and time and their transformation in the contemporary moment. He is a co-convenor of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Global South Studies at the University of Tübingen. He is co-editor of the book series Literary Cultures of the Global South (Routledge) and Challenges (Narr). He has been a professor at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Pretoria. He is a research associate at the University of Pretoria.