Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

White Innocence in the Netherlands

ir/relevance of race seminar with Gloria Wekker

03Apr2017 15:30 - 17:00


In this lecture, Gloria Wekker will delve into her recent book 'White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race' (Wekker 2016), which is an ethnography of dominant Dutch self – representation.

Summary by the lecturer

After a general introduction to the main concepts and understandings I use, I will highlight two topics.

  • First, I will address manifestations of  “everyday racism”  in the Netherlands in the popular - cultural sphere and ,
  • second, I will pay attention to  White innocence in the academy.

The dominant Dutch sense of self is characterized  by the centrality of a (mostly) silent, but self-flattering conception of whiteness and race has, by dominant consensus, been declared missing in action in The Netherlands: "we do not do race".

About the lecturer

Gloria Wekker is emeritus Professor in Gender Studies, Faculty of the Humanities, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. A social and cultural anthropologist, she specializes in Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies, African- American and Caribbean Studies.

Some of her major publications include The Politics of Passion; Women´s sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora (Columbia University Press, 2006), for which she won the Ruth Benedict Prize of  American Anthropological Association in 2007. Her last book is White Innocence; Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race, which was published in April 2016 by Duke University Press.

She has recently served on two committees that made proposals to restructure the University of Amsterdam, after the Occupation of the Maagdenhuis: The committee on Democratization and Decentralization (D &D) and she was the chair of the Diversity committee.

REC E0.22

  • Roeterseilandcampus - gebouw E

    Roetersstraat 11 | 1018 WB Amsterdam
    +31 (0)20 525 5387

    Go to detailpage


The lecture is fully booked. Registration is no longer possible.

About the seminar series

In this seminar series the relevance and irrelevance of race is being discussed as an object and concept of research in order to explore ways to talk about race without naturalizing differences. The series goes beyond a standard definition of race, one that is allegedly relevant everywhere, and situates race in specific practices of research. In addition the series gives room to the various different versions of race that can be found in the European context and explores when and how populations, religions, and cultures become naturalized and racialized. Scholars from different (inter)disciplinary fields (such as genetics, anthropology, philosophy, cultural studies, history, political sciences, science and technology studies) are invited to address the issue of race through a paper presentation. The seminar is held every six weeks at the University of Amsterdam. Webpage Seminar Series

Published by  AISSR