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Europeanness in the "East" and "West"
Pawel Lewicki (Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder))
Ana Ivasiuc (Philipps University Marburg)
Rafal Smoczynski (Polish Academy of Sciences)
Time zone:
Tuesday 21 July, 11:00-12:45, 14:00-15:45

Short abstract:

The panel aims at exploring how postcolonial theory may articulate with anthropological theories to understand the intersection of race, class, and gender through which "Europeanness" is constructed discursively both in the "East" and in the "West" of the continent.

Long abstract:

Europeanness may be defined as the unstable and relational articulation of racialized identity markers and as unmarked whiteness, now often present in populist and right-wing discourses targeting various minorities. These markers are rarely seen as a consequence of persistent coloniality, neither in the "West" nor in the "East" of the continent. In current debates we see both in the "East" and in the "West" the tendencies to target immigrants together with anti-elitist discourses against "leftist" elites imposing "dangerous" ideologies of liberalism and tolerance. In the West, these discourses are accompanied by pledges for sexual rights and freedoms against allegedly "constrained" European others. The instrumentalization of minority rights is seen also in the "Europeanization" process in the East, understood as civilizing mission towards more "freedom" and "rationality". These discourses on minority rights, "progressive" sexualities and gender attitudes are intermeshed with racist and racializing discourses. The aim of the panel is to look into different meanings Europe and Europeanness is given in the East and West from a postcolonial perspective. We invite contributions that highlight different cultural dynamics of the intersecting categories of race, class, and gender that reproduce or challenge the division into "East" and "West" or show the overlapping and blurring dynamics of reproduction of such division. How do these categories work and intersect, contributing to different visions of "Europe"? How can postcolonial theory articulate with anthropology to contribute to the discussion on the intersection of race, class, and gender in "Europe"?