Planets in my head - Yinka Shonibare
26 March 2019

We Need New Terms. Contested Categories and Concepts of Belonging and Difference

CLOSED MEETING | 26 March | 10:00 - 17:00 | RCMC Nooterzaal

Categories are necessary for us to think with or to speak. This is the common response proffered when demands are made for rethinking established and contested categories, categories that may be regarded as denigrating and stigmatising, exclusionary, outmoded or reductive. Yet we know that words, concepts and categories are always changing, in meaning and in use.

In this workshop, we want to critically engage with contemporary concepts and categories commonly used among policy makers, academic and the public alike, that describe belonging to and differences within Europe today. By subjecting these concepts to an interdisciplinary critical conversation, we want to not just trace their histories but also question their very utility for our contemporary moment. Who is the citizen/subject and who is the migrant? What name do we give to the non-migrant, and what does it mean to be of migrant background? Does the term diversity, used to describe the multicultural polity, have any academic or analytical purchase today or has this term reached the limits of its possibility? What are the politics of use associated with terms such as integration and conviviality (samenleven) and how do the meanings of these terms change across different domains, political, policy and everyday use? Do the categories over-determine how they are used and thus limit their utility? Should we move away from these concepts, and what are the alternatives?

Organised by Wayne Modest  (Research Centre for Material Culture) and Anouk de Koning (Radboud University)


Image: Planets in my head, Yinka Shonibare, TM-6427-1a