Workshops & Abstracts

20th Nordic Mi­gra­tion Research conference & 17th ETMU conference
11 ̶ 14 Janu­ary, 2021, On­line/ University of Helsinki, Fin­land

Co­lo­nial/​Ra­cial His­tor­ies, Na­tional Nar­rat­ives and Transna­tional Mi­gra­tion
  1. Precarious Inclusion: Migrants and Refugees in Contemporary Welfare States
  2. Exploring Migration and Disability in Contemporary Welfare States
  3. Refugees and the Violence of Welfare Bureaucracies in Northern Europe
  4. Race and Racialisation Buried Alive in Welfare State Practices
  5. State-Education between Racialisation and the Possibilities of Anti-Racist Strategy
  6. Anti-Racism and Hopes of Living Together
  7. Differentiated Whiteness(Es) Besides Hegemony? Tracing Gradations of Whiteness
  8. How (Non-) Whiteness Acquires Meaning: Discussing Racialization in the Nordic Countries
  9. Femonationalisms, Racialization, and Migration
  10. Racial / Colonial Legacies, Gender, and Feminisms in the Nordic Countries
  11. Outside of the (Colonial) Box– White Innocence of Nordic Non-Engagement with Racism and Colonialism
  12. Coloniality of Migration, Racial Capitalism and Decolonization of the West
  13. Colonial Histories and Migration: Heritage, Narratives and Materiality
  14. Settler Colonialism and Migration
  15. Sámi, Kven & Tornedalian identities, Ethnicities and Narratives
  16. Appropriation or Collaboration? Cultural Production, Colonial Histories and Imaginations for the Future
  17. Decolonizing Power, Knowledge and Being in the Nordic Countries.
  18. Museums and Knowledge Production in Increasingly Diversifying Societies
  19. Rethinking Knowledge Production in Migration Studies
  20. Context of Coloniality and the Unconventional Gaze: Challenging the Conventional Gaze in Study of Minorities & the “White Curriculum” in Academia
  21. Asylum Activism: Positionalities, Power and Colonial Presents
  22. Communities, Power Relations and Knowledge: Ethics and Innovative Practices in Politically Engaged Research Methods
  23. Practices and Ethics of Studying Social Media Discourses of Migration, Ethnocultural Diversity and Racism
  24. How to Do Research on Immigrant Integration?
  25. Official Discourse on Muslims and Islam and its Effects on Integration Efforts
  26. Integration at the Local Level: Opportunities and Challenges
  27. The Only Way Out is Through: The Decolonial and Decanonical Turn in Contemporary Art
  28. Cancelled
  29. Let’s Make it Home: What Critical Storytelling and Visual Arts-based Methodologies Offer
  30. Arts-Based and Participatory Methods in Research with Refugees
  31. Migration, Globalization and Education
  32. Displacement and Placemaking in Architecture, Urban, and Social Design Studios
  33. Deportation and Resistance in the Nordic Context
  34. Forced Migration and National Memory Politics in the Nordic Countries
  35. Forced Migration, Family Separation and Everyday Insecurity
  36. The Debated Securities of Migration: Theory and Practice
  37. Disappearing Migrants, Disturbed Intimacies and Emerging Politics
  38. Young Refugees in the Nordic Countries
  39. The ‘Others’ amongst ‘Us’ : Immigrants, Inclusion, and the Law
  40. Migration, Family and Life Course
  41. Decentering Adoption Mythologies: Counter-Narratives to Rethink Adoption
  42. Transnational Migration, Diaspora Communities and the Second Generation
  43. Exploring Nordic Migrant Entrepreneurship: Intersectional Understandings of Place and Context
  44. Europeanization, Democracy, Other: The Racialized Gaze on Eastern European Migrants
  45. Nordic Europe's Eastern Others? CEE/Russian Migration and the Nordic States
  46. Historical and New Forms of ‘North-North’ Migration
  47. Asylum and Refugee Protection
  48. The Mutability of Coloniality: media representations, migration practices, indigenous and diasporic experiences
  49. Cancelled
  50. Integration processes: Contestations, negotiations and experiences
  51. Labour, Precarity and Social welfare
  52. Migration Paths and Identities
  53. Reception of Asylum Seekers and Refugees
  54. Societal Perspectives, Racism, Fear and Manipulation

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