Young, Gifted, Black, and Online: AfroSwedish Feminist Technologies of Blackness
In the last decade, young black feminists in Sweden have been the originators of online projects and social media platforms that have changed the landscape in terms of discourses of race, blackness, and (popular) culture. Due to their success online, many of these projects have had afterlives in print and performance: they form an archive of millennial black consciousness and its relation to global discourses of black culture, politics, and activism. In January of 2014, Rummet (Space) was launched by four rasifierade (racialized) and queer-identified women in their 20s, the first online platform in Sweden for and by young feminists of color. Given that it was a separatisk or separatist site, in which white Swedes were encouraged to read, but not comment, the site was immediately and enduringly controversial, even considered “racist.” This talk investigates the challenge that Rummet and an Instagram platform @SvartKvinna (Black Woman) made to Swedish feminism and race discourse. By creating digital diasporas, available within Sweden but concerned with “black” identity more broadly, these projects created new technologies of race and blackness, emplaced within Sweden but connected, sometimes controversially, sometimes vitally, to other geographies.
About the Speaker
Monica L. Miller is Professor of Africana Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. A specialist in contemporary African American and Afro-diasporic literature and cultural studies, she is the author of the book Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity. A frequent commentator in the media and arts worlds, she teaches and writes about black literature, art, and performance, fashion cultures, and contemporary Black European culture and politics. A grantee from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Institute for Citizens and Scholars, she is currently at work on a book project, Blackness Swedish Style: Race and the Rhizomatics of Being which considers cultural production by the emerging black community in Sweden and its connection to black European identity formation and cultural/political movements.
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