Call for Papers

20th Nordic Migration Research conference & 17th ETMU conference
11 ̶ 14 January, 2021, Online



The NMR conference “Colonial/Racial Histories, National Narratives and Transnational Migration” will take place fully online 11-14.1.2021. Due to the change of dates and the new online format of the conference, the conference committee opened an additional call for papers.

The deadline for submitting new abstracts to the conference was 21.10.2020.

Kindly note that the earlier submitted accepted abstracts will be included in the programme, unless the presenters withdraw their abstracts or do not register to the conference. This additional call thus only refers to new abstract submissions.

You will be able to suggest the workshop to which your abstract would be included. In case there is no place for the abstract in that workshop, it will be placed in one of the other existing workshops (with a relevant theme) or in a new workshop established after the additional call.


The conference committee will inform about the acceptance of abstracts latest 5.11.2020.

For questions please contact the conference secretary Merja Skaffari-Multala (

About the conference theme

More information about the conference

Conference Theme: Co­lo­nial/​​Ra­cial His­tor­ies, Na­tional Nar­rat­ives and Transna­tional Mi­gra­tion

The Nordic countries have for long perceived themselves as outsiders to colonialism, embracing narratives of the progressive, equality pursuing and human rights defending nation-states that stand out in international comparison (e.g. de los Reyes, Molina & Mulinari 2002; Keskinen et al. 2009; Loftsdóttir & Jensen 2012; Sawyer & Habel 2014). This ‘Nordic exceptionalism’ can be understood as a form of ‘white innocence’ (Wekker 2016), building on willful ignorance of the Nordic countries’ active participation in colonial projects both overseas and in the Arctic region. Neither have the dominant national narratives included histories of racial classification and knowledge production within the region, in which the indigenous people and national minorities were categorized on the lower levels of hierarchy and subjected to intense scrutiny (e.g. Öhman 2015; Lehtola 2012). Modern nation-state formation was built on assimilation and repression of the communities, histories and knowledges that were considered to be at odds with the homogeneous nation. Likewise, migration scholars have generally dismissed the role of Nordic colonial/racial histories when investigating the post-1960s transnational migration, a large part of which originates in the former European colonies in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

This conference aims to provide a platform for discussions in which the colonial/racial past and present (coloniality) are seen as relevant for how diasporic communities, racialized minorities and Indigenous Peoples are encountered and acted upon in the Nordic societies, as well as how these communities resist, question, resurgence, organize themselves and seek for alternative horizons beyond hierarchies. Racial categorisations and structured inequalities characterize the Nordic societies in multiple ways, but are they addressed adequately by migration scholars? How would the national narratives and the politics of solidarity look like, if colonial/racial past and present was taken seriously? Can national narratives be rewritten in a way that incorporates transnational processes and global power relations, or should we rather abandon the aim of (re)writing national narratives and seek to develop more multilayered perspectives, with focus on local/regional/global for example? What is the role of arts in rewriting narratives of belonging, community and history? How do colonial/racial histories and currents order and shape migration policies, bordering practices and ‘acts of citizenship’ (Isin & Nielsen 2008)?

The confirmed keynote speakers are:

  • Professor Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Department of Sociology, Duke University, US 
  • Professor Anders Neergaard, Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO), Linköping University, Sweden
  • Professor Emerita Gloria Wekker, Department of Gender Studies, Utrecht University, the Netherlands.
  • Marja Helander, Sámi photographer, video artist, visual artist and film-maker