About the Research Group

The Minerva Fast Track research group “Migration, Identity and Blackness in Europe” takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying Blackness, racialization, and processes of identity (trans)formation in the context of migration. Our research engages qualitative, ethnographic and computational methods to investigate the multifaceted dimensions of Blackness and its intersections with processes of migration and identity formation in Europe.

Exploring Blackness in Europe

One of the primary foci of our research group is the study of Blackness in Europe, particularly in relation to Germany. Despite the increasing diversity and longstanding presence of African, African diasporic and Black individuals and communities in Europe, significant knowledge gaps remain regarding the experiences and realities of Black individuals and communities in Europe. Our research aims to explore the multifacetedness of Blackness in Europe, addressing a critical gap in the knowledge with an attention to migration, social structures, cultural practices, and the collective narratives of European societies in the wake of slavery and colonialism.

Examining Migration, Racialisation, and African Diasporas

Another core focus of our research group is understanding the interconnectedness of migration and racialisation with regards to African diasporas in Europe. Our research delves into the experiences of migrants from the African continent, examining how they navigate and negotiate the interconnected processes of racialisation and migratisation. In tracing the diversity of African migrants in Germany, our research group asks critical questions about whether and how the socio-cultural diversity and heterogeneity of African migrants shape their identities and experiences in Europe.

Understanding Embodiment and Identity Formation

Our research group approaches identity from a social identity perspective and in relation to social representations and social categorisation processes. This view assumes that individuals’ identities are multidimensional and shaped by the intersections of various social dimensions.  Drawing on an intersectional and embodiment lens to studying social identities, our research then aims to further our understanding of the ways in which racialisation and migration experiences influence the (trans)formation and negotiation of social identities in the context of Europe. In doing so, our research goes beyond traditional frameworks by examining embodiment and identity performances, recognizing the multifaceted ways in which individuals express, negotiate, construct and embody their identities within diverse social contexts.

At the heart of our research lies a commitment to capturing the lived experiences and perspectives of African, African diasporic and Black individuals and communities in Europe, and in particular in Germany. We employ qualitative research methods, including ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, participant observations and participatory methods. Complementing our qualitative approach, we use computational methods to analyse large-scale datasets and uncover patterns and trends in the re/presentation of African migrants over time. Our computational analyses provide quantitative insights, which expand and enrich our qualitative findings, enabling us to develop a more comprehensive and robust understanding of the complexities at play.

Our research group aims to bridge the gap between academia and the wider public and we look forward to contributing to public lectures and workshops to foster dialogue around the topics of migration, identity and Blackness in Europe.

We welcome emails and inquires from anyone interested in our work and research.

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