25 February 2021

Thinking With | Kwame Nimako

CONVERSATION | 25 Feb 2021 | 15:00 - 17:00 CET | Zoom online 

For this conversation, we have invited Kwame Nimako as part of the RCMC Thinking With series. For over forty years, Nimako has not only deliberated on multiculturalism and samenleven, but has produced scholarship and activist work that asks: What might it mean to claim one’s right as a project of solidarity, not in self-interest but in the interest of each other?

Pooyan Tamimi Arab, Mano Delea, and Stephen Small join him in a conversation moderated by Wayne Modest.

With an intimate relationship to society-building in the Netherlands, Europe and the UK, and Africa, as an early scholar aligned with the Decolonial School, and currently as the founder and director of the Black Europe Summer School held yearly in Amsterdam, Nimako is among the early voices—with Philomena Essed, Stephen Small, and Gloria Wekker—to think about race in a Dutch context, as related to Europe, and in Nimako’s case also as related to African diasporas and Africa. For decades, he has asked that we think Black solidarity from, in and for Europe. His work demands “conceptual clarity,” nudging us to take account of the fact that we cannot achieve decolonial work without being clear about what our goals are. As such, we invite Nimako to continue our discussion about what it means for us to be in Michael Rothberg’s terms implicated in our society, to practice togetherness (as per Amal Alhaag, Wayne Modest, and Eliza Steinbock), to think towards the same future, even if from differing entry-points. How in particular is thinking from Black Europe beneficial to rights-claiming for Black Europeans, but also assures that our societies more realistically achieve their aspirations towards an inclusive samenleven

If you would like to 'read along' some sources are listed below. Email for temporary access the below texts. 

Image: Banner image from Darlene Clark Hine, Trica Danielle Keaton, and Stephen Small’s Black Europe and the African Diaspora. University of Illinois Press, 2009. Kwame Nimako and Stephen Small have an article in the volume titled “Theorizing Black Europe and African Diaspora: A Discourse on Location.”

BIO | Kwame Nimako

Kwame Nimako (MA, Sociology; PhD Economics, University of Amsterdam) is the founder and director of the Summer School on Black Europe (BESS) based in Amsterdam since 2007.  BESS is a two-week intensive annual program on Citizenship, Race and Ethnic Relations that has welcomed more than 350 participants working on these issues in Europe. He taught International Relations in the Department of Political Sciences at the Universiteit van Amsterdam (1991-2013).  He held visiting professor positions in the Department of African American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley (Spring 2018 and 2012-2015) and at the University of Suriname (2011). He was also a fellow in the Faculty of Economics at the Tinbergen Institute (1989-1991), and he taught Race and Ethnic Relations in the Department of Education (1986- 1991).  He has also given lectures at universities, conferences and organizations in the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Sweden.

Dr. Nimako is President of OBEE Consultancy, which he founded in 1992, and which has consulted with several private and public institutions including the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy (NiNsee) in Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Municipal Council and the Dutch Ministry of Home Affairs. In 1995 and 1996 he was a rapporteur on the evaluation of Social Renewal Projects in five cities in the Netherlands. In 1996-1997, he was the Principal Research Consultant for Focus Consultancy Ltd (UK) on the ACP and ODT* Migrants in Europe Project commissioned by the General-Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States (in Brussels).

Dr. Nimako is the author or co-author of more than thirty books, reports and guidebooks  - and a larger number of book chapters and articles – on economic development, ethnic relations, social policy, urban renewal, and migration. His most recent book is The Dutch Atlantic: Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation (with Glenn Willemsen) (London, Pluto Press, 2011). He recently completed a report (in Dutch, with Mano Delea and Mitchell Esajas) for NiNsee Why Freedom could not wait: Dutch Parliamentary Debates on the Abolition of Dutch Slavery (1862)  (NiNsee 2020).

His most recent book chapters include: Power, (Mis)representation, and Black European Studies, In: Black Studies in Europe: Questioning the Politics of Knowledge, editors, Nicole Gregoire, Sarah Fila-Bakabadio and Jacinthe Mazzoccheti (Forthcoming: Northwestern University Press 2021); Lost and Found: sovereignties and state formations in Africa and Asia, In: Routledge Handbook of Africa-Asia Relations, edited by Pedro Miguel Amakasu Raposo de Medeiros Carvalho, David Arase and Scarlett Cornelissen (Routledge: London 2018); Reorienting the world: with or without Africa? (MnM Working Paper No.5; University of South Australia, 2011); African regional groupings and emerging Chinese conglomerates‟ in Barbara Hogenboom and Alex E Fernandez Jilberto (eds) Big business and economic development: conglomerates and economic groups in developing countries and transition economies under globalization (Routledge, London, 2007); ‘Location and Social Thought in the Black: A Testimony of Africana Intellectual Tradition’ In: Sabine Broeck and Carsten Junker, Postcoloniality,-Decoloniality-Black Critique: Joints and Fissures (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2014); ‘Let Citizenship Blossom’ In: B.S. Santos (Ed) Letters to the Europeans (Coimbra: ALICE ERC Project, 218-233; 2014); and  ‘Conceptual Clarity, Please! On the uses and abuses of the concepts of ‘slave’ and ‘trade’ in the study of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery’ In: Marta Araujo and Silvia Rodriguez Maeso, ‘Race’, racism and knowledge production: debate on history, political struggles and the academia in Europe and the Americas (Palgrave, New York, 2015).          

He co-wrote “Theorizing Black Europe and African Diaspora: Implications for Citizenship, Nativism and Xenophobia”, (with Stephen Small) in Black Europe and the African Diaspora, Darlene Clark Hine and Trica Danielle Keaton, (editors) University of Illinois Press, Urbana Champaign, 2009; and “Collective Memory of Slavery in Great Britain and The Netherlands”, (with Stephen Small) in Marten Schalkwijk and Stephen Small (editors) New Perspectives on Slavery and Colonialism in the Caribbean, Amrit Publishers, The Hague, 2012, pp. 92-115. He is currently writing a book with Stephen Small entitled Public History, Museums and Collective Memory of slavery and its legacies in England and The Netherlands.  

Dr. Nimako is a specialist on citizenship and migration in Europe, with a primary focus on the African diaspora in nations across Europe, and its distinctive experiences vis a vis other racialized minorities. He has knowledge and expertise on key dimensions of politics, policy and practice across Europe, past and present; and the ways in which European and nation-specific laws shape Black people’s lives. He also has knowledge of, and contacts with, the most important Black and multi-cultural organizations and community groups across Europe working for social justice, inclusion and citizenship. Dr. Nimako is unique in bringing key insights on the economics of Black people’s experiences in Europe – and the relations between Europe and a range of African nations -  to debates in sociology and cultural studies.





Discussant | Pooyan Tamimi Arab

Pooyan Tamimi Arab is an assistant professor of religious studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University and a member of the Utrecht Young Academy. He is part of the research project “Religious Matters in an Entangled World" (


Discussant | Mano Delea

Mano Delea (LLB; MSc, Political Science, International Relations; PhD, Modern History, University of Amsterdam, 2019) is a lecturer in History at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Programme Director of the Black Europe Summer School. He is also a lecturer in the Transatlantic Studies: History, Culture and Politics program at Radboud University, Nijmegen and a teaches research methods at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.


His research focuses on historical trajectories of emancipation from the perspective of sovereignty and power relations. His PhD research examined the collective memory of Atlantic chattel slavery and its implications on Pan-Africanism and knowledge production. He was Programme Officer for the Forest People’s Programme in Suriname and French Guyana where he assisted a human rights lawyer with the Saramaka People v. Suriname land rights case and the human rights case of Moiwana Village. His most recent research – Why Freedom Could Not Wait – with Kwame Nimako and Mitchell Esajas for the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy (NiNsee) examined the Dutch debate of 1862 on the abolition of slavery. It includes a discourse-analysis on which parliamentarians were in favor of abolition and which were against, and why.



Mano Delea

Discussant | Stephen Small

Stephen Small, PhD.  is Professor of African Diaspora Studies and Director of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues at the University of California. where he has taught since 1995. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, he earned his PhD in Sociology in 1989 at the University of California, Berkeley. He has carried our research, teaching and community training in the United States, Brazil and Jamaica, as well as in the Netherlands and Great Britain.  He was Extraordinary Professor for the Study of Dutch slavery and its Legacies, in the Department of History at the University of Amsterdam, 2010-2015. He has directed international study programs in Brazil, France, Spain and Zimbabwe. He has published three books, co-authored five books and co-edited three books.  

He co-wrote 20 Questions and Answers about Dutch Slavery and Its Legacy (with Sandew Hira), 2014; also available in Dutch - 20 vraagen en antwoorden over het Nederlandse slaverrnijveerleden en haar erfenis, 2015; and co-edited Black Europe and the African Diaspora (with Darlene Clark Hine and Trica Danielle Keaton), 2009. His most recent book is 20 Questions and Answers on Black Europe, 2018. His next book is tentatively entitled Inside the Shadows of the Big House: 21s Century Antebellum Slave Cabins and Heritage Tourism in Louisiana, to be published at the end of 2021.  He is currently researching legacies of imperialism in Black Europe, with an emphasis on Great Britain in general and Liverpool in particular. 

Stephen Small