EuroStorie Research Seminar | Iyiola Solanke 15.03.

We warmly welcome you to join the upcoming EuroStorie research seminar with Professor Iyiola Solanke (University of Oxford).

Iyiola Solanke is a Jacques Delors Professor of European Union Law at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Somerville College.

Her research focuses on institutional change, in relation to both law and organisations. Her work adopts socio-legal, historical and comparative methodologies. She is the author of ‘EU Law’ (CUP 2022), ‘Making Anti-Racial Discrimination Law’ (Routledge 2011) and ‘Discrimination as Stigma - A Theory of Anti- Discrimination Law’ (Hart 2017), as well as many articles in peer reviewed journals. Moreover she founded the Black Female Professors Forum to promote visibility of women professors of colour, and the Temple Women’s Forum North to promote engagement between legal professionals and students in and around Yorkshire. Her current projects focus on weight discrimination and law as well as decolonising European Union law.

Research seminar information

When: Friday, March 15th, 1:00pm-2:00pm (UTC+2).

Where: Room 247, Unioninkatu 33

You can also join us via the Zoom…

Meeting ID: 634 0378 0069
Passcode: 329008

Title: Solidarity across time and place – towards a decolonial narrative of refugees and asylum seekers in EU law

War in Ukraine is an opportunity for the EU to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine, not only through the supply of armaments and military support, but also through providing refuge to those fleeing war and helping them to continue with their lives to the greatest extent possible. It is also an opportune time for the EU to show solidarity with those fleeing war in Ukraine who are not nationals of that country: the over 76,000 foreign students from 155 countries who were studying in Ukraine at the time of the invasion. The majority of these came from India, Morocco and Nigeria, but large numbers also came from elsewhere in Africa and Asia, such as Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Uganda. These students, who were stranded in Ukraine and are now stranded across Europe, were subjected to a ‘racialised refugee hierarchy’ (ODI) as they sought to leave Ukraine and enter other countries: border guards enacted a ‘Ukrainians first’ policy.

In this paper, I suggest that this happened due to pan-European mis-education in the 21st century about the mis-adventures of 19th century European imperialism. The 200-year silencing of the latter has facilitated the perpetuation of a general environment of ignorance across Europe within which racism and xenophobia towards Black people can be embedded in institutions and enacted by individuals. I argue that solidarity in the EU needs to built across time and place. A de-colonial approach would recognize the many ways in which the peoples of the Global South have contributed to the construction of present-day European societies, for example through participation in European wars. It is to be hoped that a corrected understanding of the solidarity of the peoples of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean to Europeans will shift the public narrative so that there will be solidarity towards the peoples of these regions in their time of need from the peoples of Europe. As well as ensuring that African and Asian students fleeing war in Ukraine receive the help that they need, this would also refresh EU debates on the legal framework for refugees and asylum seekers. 

This seminar is part of the EuroStorie Research Seminar Series "Time and Identity". In our spring series, we want to concentrate on different notions of time and identity and illuminate the fundamental narratives and principles of contemporary societies that guide public discourse and decision making. Time is an essential dimension of our foundational stories and shared understandings of who we are, but the intertwinements between time and identity are characterized by diverse and sometimes inconsistent representations. How and by whom are the representations constructed, and what is required for a particular representation of time and identity to become hegemonic? In what ways does the focus on time and identity help us to analyze narratives on Europe?