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The Black Archives: Making History Visible

29. September 2020  @ 12:00 1. October 2020  @ 15:00 CEST

The Black Archives is an alter­na­tive archive con­sist­ing of more than 10,000 books, doc­u­ments, and arti­facts. The archive is a crit­i­cal inter­ven­tion, chal­leng­ing dom­i­nant his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tives, which tend to down­play his­to­ries of colo­nial­ism, slav­ery, and their lega­cy. West­ern Euro­pean coun­tries such as the Nether­lands, the UK, Spain, and France were major colo­nial empires involved in the transat­lantic slave trade. Oth­er (Western-)European coun­tries such as Ger­many and Bel­gium became major impe­r­i­al pow­ers after the abol­ish­ment of the transat­lantic slave trade. Although these his­to­ries played a major role in the devel­op­ment of Euro­pean nation-states and metrop­o­les such as Lon­don, Ams­ter­dam, Berlin, and Paris, these parts of his­to­ry are often under­ex­posed in pub­lic mem­o­ry, arts, and edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions. Many of these metrop­o­les have become »major­i­ty-minor­i­ty« cities, cities in which there is no longer one dom­i­nant eth­nic group but a mosa­ic of peo­ple with dif­fer­ent cul­tur­al back­grounds and dif­fer­ent migra­tion his­to­ries. How­ev­er, their his­to­ries are often not part of dom­i­nant his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tives, and they are seen as dis­con­nect­ed and unre­lat­ed from the cities in which they live. By devel­op­ing and delv­ing into »alter­na­tive archives,« how­ev­er, we can find sur­pris­ing (hi)stories of the pres­ence, con­tri­bu­tions, and eman­ci­pa­tion strug­gles of dif­fer­ent groups of peo­ple. Dur­ing the work­shop, we will explore how doc­u­ment­ing and shar­ing (hi)stories of under­rep­re­sent­ed and mar­gin­al­ized groups can be used to chal­lenge dom­i­nant his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tives and struc­tures of inequal­i­ty and priv­i­lege and con­tribute to more inclu­sive cities and spaces.

Mitchell Esa­jas (The Black Archives)


Platz der Luft­brücke 5
Berlin, 12101
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