CEREN Colloquiums and other events 

From One Crisis to the Next? Mediating Border Crises and Solidarity Activism-Conference

18.2.2022. 10-16

The conference will be streamed online.

Pre-registration required: https://elomake.helsinki.fi/lomakkeet/115773/lomake.html

Since the 2015 Summer and Autumn of Migration, the border crisis rhetoric has circulated widely in different media outlets in the Nordic countries and Europe more broadly. Public discourse continuously refers to the perceived effects and symbolic value of what was coined as the “refugee crisis”, the alarming rhetoric of which has more recently been witnessed in media and political discussions on the situation of migrants stuck at the border between Belarus and Poland, as well as the potentialities of a crisis at the Finnish-Russian border. This conference provides analyses of the 'border crisis' rhetoric and its impact on present migration regimes, as well as the role of media in creating and reproducing these. Moreover, the conference highlights the practices through which migrants and asylum activists seek to make public the humanitarian and solidarity crises that are no less pressing today than in 2015, although gaining less public visibility. The environment of hostility created in the interplay between mediated extreme right activism and news outlets in the ‘hybrid media space’ poses challenges to journalism that seeks for alternatives to border crisis rhetoric, but new forms of participatory media are simultaneously developing.


10:00-10:15: Welcoming words: Suvi Keskinen

10:15-11:15: Keynote lecture 1: Vanessa Barker: The Punishing Crisis: Borders, Penalty and the Future of Welfare States

11:15-11:45: Gwenaëlle Bauvois and Niko Pyrhönen: Hybrid Mediatization of Anti-Immigration Responses to the ‘Refugee Crisis’

11:45-12:45 Lunch break

12:45 -13:45 (Finnish language panel discussion on representing migration and border crises in journalism) Paneelikeskustelu Siirtolaisuuden ja rajakriisien kuvaaminen journalismissa: toimittaja Jeanette Björkqvist ja panelistit.

13:45-14:15: Minna Seikkula: New practices of solidarity? The ‘border crisis’ shaping Finnish civil society

14:15-14:30 Break

14:30-15:30 Keynote lecture 2: Myria Georgiou: The digital border: Europe’s technologies of power, control and resistance.

15:30-16:00 Suvi Keskinen: The Point of No Return? Competing Crisis Constructions and the Mediatization of the Autumn of Migration 2015 in Sweden and Finland

16:00 Closing of the conference.

The conference is organized by the project “Border Crises in Two Languages: Mediatized Politics and Solidarity Activism in the Wake of the 2015 Asylum Migration”, located at The Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN), Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki.

More about the project: http://https://blogs.helsinki.fi/bordercrises/

Rasismi, valta ja vastarinta ONLINE RELEASE / JULKKARIT

21.5.2021. 16-18

What kind of knowledge there is about racism in Finland? What’s antiracism and what does it require? These are some of the questions Rasismi, valta ja vastarinta: rodullistaminen, valkoisuus ja koloniaalisuus Suomessa book discusses: https://www.gaudeamus.fi/rasismivaltajavastarinta/?fbclid=IwAR34P8w0B9jJXsfVDGa1BlY_k5di4cK2wEVLWaIiX-bNLR5-v5RGk7BktNE

CEREN and RASTER.FI proudly present an online book launch for the newly outcome book Rasismi, valta ja vastarinta: . The event is organized on Zoom and it is open to everyone, no pre-enrollment required.

The link will be updated on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/970999420393746

Rasismi, valta ja vastarinta discusses phenomena related to racism and antiracism in Finland and unpacks those through conceptional framework of racialization, whiteness and de/coloniality. It features texts by both activists and academics, and many of the contributors have been active in RASTER research network as well.

The book launch is organized in two languages. From 4 to 5 pm, we’ll discuss the book in English. Confirmed speakers are Aminkeng Atabong Alemanji, Sasha Huber, Daria Krivonos, Suvi Keskinen and Faith Mkwesha. The discussion is facilitated by RASTER.FI editor Leonardo Custódio, who is also one of the contributors in the book. From 5 to 6 pm, we’ll continue the discussion in Finnish.

Webinar Post-truth politics, mediatization and politicization of immigration


This webinar will focus on how misinformation, denial and distortion of facts, and other aspects of post-truth politics take shape in different European countries. Researchers from Denmark, Finland and Switzerland will discuss their recent and ongoing research with a focus on how the politicized rhetoric of immigration, racism and misogyny is constructed and challenged in media environments.

This webinar is organised by the CEREN based project 'Border Crises in Two Languages - Mediatized Politics and Solidarity Activism in the Wake of the 2015 Asylum Migration' (University of Helsinki) https://blogs.helsinki.fi/bordercrises/ and the Jean Monnet Network 'Post-truth politics, nationalism and the (de-)legitimation of European integration' (Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre, University of Iceland) https://ams.hi.is/en/projects/post-truth-politics/.

Presenters: Peter Hervik, Tuija Saresma and Heikki S. Mattila. Moderator: Gwenaëlle Bauvois (CEREN). Facebbok event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/886887822162841

Online discussion event: The future of feminisms in Finland and beyond


What are the central questions of today’s feminism and what does the future for feminism look like? Can there be feminism without antiracism? How is decolonization relevant for feminist research and activism?

We will discuss these and other timely questions with a starting point in the recently published anthology Feminisms in the Nordic Region. Neoliberalism, Nationalism and Decolonial Critique (2021, Palgrave Macmillan), edited by Suvi Keskinen, Pauline Stoltz and Diana Mulinari. The book will be shortly introduced at the beginning of the discussion. For more information about the book please have a look at: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-53464-6

Discussants: Suvi Keskinen, Faith Mkwesha, Monica Gathuo and Marjaana Jauhola. Moderator: Minou Norouzi

20th Nordic Migration Research Conference and 17th ETMU Conference: Colonial/Racial Histories, National Narratives and Transnational Migration.

11-14 .01 2021

The 20th Nordic Migration Research Conference and the 17th Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration (ETMU) conference will be organized online in collaboration with the University of Helsinki, Finland, on January 11–14, 2021, under the theme of Colonial/Racial Histories, National Narratives and Transnational Migration. The conference aims to provide a multidisciplinary 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. 

THE NEW DATE OF THE CONFERENCE IS JANUARY 11-14, 2021: More information

CEREN, INEQ & ESSO workshop: "Immigration, Racism and Nationalism"

30.11 2020 at 09:15-16:15. Finnish local time (EET), UCT+2h

Location: Online via Zoom (registered participants will be provided with the details closer to the event)

The research workshop "Immigration, Racism and Nationalism" is organized by the ESSO-group (Social Psychologists studying Ethnic Relations at University of Helsinki: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/esso-group/), Helsinki Inequality Initiative (INEQ, https://www.helsinki.fi/en/ineq-helsinki-inequality-initiative/) and the Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism CEREN (https://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/ethnic-relations-and-nationalism)
What kind of patterns are evident in anti-immigration and far-right rhetoric? How do media represent multiculturalism in the contemporary context? What kind of affects are attached to these circulating meanings. What are the possibilities for resistance towards exclusionary orientations?

The workshop brings together scholars from social psychology, media and communication studies, sociology and political science to join in discussions on challenges of representing immigration, racism and nationalism. Presentations will discuss rhetorical, visual, and affective dimensions of communicating these topics. They will tackle the adoption, circulation, normalisation and resistance of anti-immigration and far-right views both in online and offline contexts, among political actors as well as the general public.

In addition to addressing the actual challenges of communication, the workshops aims to strengthen interdisciplinary dialogue and to take stock of recent theoretical and methodological developments. How can insights from different fields of study be mutually beneficial? How can we enhance interdisciplinary efforts to integrate different kinds of knowledge into multidimensional and nuanced understanding of these complex issues?

See the detailed program of the event:
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/3001218666658469

09:15–09:30  Opening by Professor Risto Kunelius (INEQ)      

09:30–10:30  Keynote 1: Professor Diana Mulinari (Lund University): Theories on the flesh: The geopolitics of academic white fragility

10:30–10:35  Short break

10:35–11:15  Presentation 1: Katarina Pettersson & Emma Nortio: The far-right discourse of multiculturalism in everyday talk: Reproduction and contestation in the Nordic region

11:20–12:00  Presentation 2: Minna Seikkula: The figure of the racist in antiracist advocacy

12.45–13:25  Presentation 3: Gwenaëlle Bauvois & Niko Pyrhönen: The "multiculturalist enemy"? Unpacking the repertoires of othering in the lay discourse against multiculturalism

13:30–14:10  Presentation 4: Mervi Pantti, Matti Nelimarkka & Aino Lehtisalo: ‘Racism card’ and other r-compounds: Deconstructing the meaning of racism in the Suomi24 discussion forum

14:15–14:55  Presentation 5: Satu Venäläinen: Discourse and affect(s) in the circulation of meaning-making around gendered violence and immigration 

15:00–16:00  Keynote 2: Professor Shirley Anne Tate (University of Alberta): Love for the dead: Sambo and the libidinal economy of 'post-race' conviviality

16:00­–           Conclusions and closing the seminar

CEREN conversation: “Black Lives Matter - Policing, protest and racism in Finland

18.11. 2020 at 16.30

Location: Online via Zoom

Since the gruesome killing of George Floyd in the USA in May 2020, Black Lives Matter protests have spread to many countries and highlighted issues such as racial profiling by the police, other forms of police misconduct, and anti-black racism. Activists have organised Black Lives Matter demonstrations also in Finland.

At this CEREN conversation event, we will consider the meaning and implications of these anti-racist protests for Finnish society. Recently, the problem of ethnic and racial profiling by the police has been highlighted by researchers in the Stopped-project. The 2018 report by the Fundamental Rights Agency and the recent survey of the Non-discrimination Ombudsman raised concerns about discrimination endured by black people and people of African descent in Finland.

The CEREN event seeks to address these questions: Is racial discrimination taken seriously enough in Finnish society? Will the current protests affect structural inequalities and thinking on these matters? How can ethnic and racial discrimination in policing and security sector in general, be prevented?

These issues will be discussed by Alemanji Aminkeng Atabong from the Åbo Akademi University and CEREN, University of Helsinki; Eugene Bryant from the African Antiracism Society in Finland (Afars); Kalle Da Silva Gonçalves from the Helsinki Police Department; and Michaela Moua from the Ministry of Justice.

Facebook event

CEREN conversation: documentary “Fanon yesterday, today” and discussion event

2.1.2020 at 12-15, Porthania II, Yliopistonkatu 3, Helsinki

Hassane Mezine is a French-Algerian photographer, whose film “Fanon yesterday, today” addresses the impact and legacy of psychiatrist, author and anti-colonial activist Frantz Fanon. The film engages both with a life history approach to Fanon and his work, and a contemporary analysis of his relevance for anti-imperialist and anti-racist struggles all over the world. Family members, former colleagues, academics and activists provide their views on Fanon and the legacy of his thought in interviews that are conducted in a range of geographical areas, including France, Algeria, Palestine, South Africa, and the US.

The screening of the film (87 min) will be followed by a discussion between the director Hassane Mezine, artist-researcher Minou Norouzi (Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies) and curator-researcher Giovanna Esposito Yussif.

Read more about the documentary:

CEREN conversation: Osallistamisen sudenkuopat – valta ja valinnat vähemmistötutkimuksessa

30.1.2020 klo 14-16,  Svenska social- och kommunalhögskolan, sali 210 (käyntiosoite Yrjö Koskisen katu 3, Helsinki). 

Paneelikeskustelussa yksintulleiden turvapaikanhakijanuorten kanssa tutkimusta tehneet tutkijat kertovat kokemuksistaan tutkijoina sekä nuoret itse tutkimuksen kohteena olemisesta. Millaisia sudenkuoppia ja mahdollisuuksia osallistavaan tutkimukseen sisältyy? Miltä tuntuu olla tutkimuksen kohteena? Väsyvätkö nuoret jo jatkuviin tutkimuspyyntöihin? Millaisia toiveita nuorilla on tulevalta tutkimukselta? Kuinka voitaisiin kehittää eettisesti kestävää tutkimusta yhdessä?

Paneeliin osallistuvat nuoret ovat SPR:n vaikuttajatiimin jäseniä, ja heillä on runsaasti kokemusta tutkijoiden kanssa toimimisesta. Suomeen alaikäisinä yksin tulleet nuoret perustivat keväällä 2017 vaikuttajatiimin, jonka tarkoituksena on saada nuorten ääni kuuluviin erilaisissa tapahtumissa ja tilaisuuksissa. Heillä on viikoittain useita esiintymisiä ja he ovat suunnitelleet koulutussisällön viikoittaisiin tapaamisiinsa.

Tutkijan näkökulmia paneelissa edustavat yksintulleiden nuorten kanssa tutkimusta tehneet Mervi Kaukko ja Anna-Kaisa Kuusisto Tampereen yliopistosta.​

Anna-Kaisa Kuusisto on poliittisen maantieteen dosentti. Hän on tutkinut yksin tulleiden nuorten kuulumisen tunnetta ja kehittänyt erilaisia sosiaalisen tuen malleja, joissa huomioidaan näiden nuorten ylikulttuurinen arki.

Mervi Kaukko on tutkija Institute for Advanced Social Research-instituutissa (Tampere) ja kasvatustieteen apulaisprofessori Tampereen yliopistossa. Mervi on tehnyt osallistavaa ja taidelähtöistä tutkimusta pakolaislasten ja -nuorten kanssa Suomessa ja Australiassa. Mervin uusin hanke käsittelee pakolaisnuorten ja heidän lähipiiriensä sosiaalisia suhteita ja suhteellista hyvinvointia.

Keskustelun järjestävät yhteistössä CERENin kanssa ETMU ja Siirtolaisuusinstituutti.


CEREN Colloquium with Prof. Peter Kivisto "Undocumented Immigrants in a Polarized Civil Sphere: The Case of Postville, Iowa"


Postville, Iowa is used as a strategic research site to explore the political logic, the symbolic meaning, and the implications of workplace raids for both sending and receiving locales. On May 12, 2008, ICE agents descended on this small rural town and arrested 389 undocumented workers at the largest kosher slaughterhouse in North America—at the time the largest such raid in history. The context, the raid itself, and the aftermath are examined in terms of the confluence of state power, employer exploitation, and a struggle in the civil sphere between proponents of inclusion and exclusion.

Peter Kivisto is Professor in Sociology, Anthropology and Social Welfare, Richard A. Swanson Chair of Social Thought at Augustana College, US and Visiting Professor at the Swedish School of Social Sciences. His research interests include immigration, multiculturalism, social integration, citizenship, and religion. Among his books are The Trump Phenomenon: How the Politics of Populism Won in 2016 (2017), Race and Ethnicity: The Basics (2012, with Paul Croll), Key Ideas in Sociology (2011), Illuminating Social Life (2011); Beyond a Border: The Causes and Consequences of Contemporary Immigration (2010, with Thomas Faist); Citizenship: Discourse, Theory and Transnational Prospects (2007, with Thomas Faist); and Intersecting Inequalities (2007, with Elizabeth Hartung).

CEREN Conversations: Art & Critical Knowledge on Migration and Borders

2.12.2019 at 16.15-17.45, Porthania (Yliopistonkatu 3), room PIII.

What art teaches us about migration and borders? Critical research on migration and borders strives to challenge the role of borders and bordering practices as given and definite part of the social reality. The CEREN Conversation “Art & Knowledge on migration and borders” invites artists and academics for a dialogue on perspectives art and artistic practices open to critical knowledge on migration and borders.

Babak Arzani and Behrooz Torki from Illegal Oedipus collective as well as the artist duo Anna Knappe and Amir Jan will introduce their work the European border regime and experiences of bordering practices respectively. Elisa Pascucci, who in her academic work has specialized in refugee subjectivities and refugee knowledges, comments the discussion from a researcher’s point of view.

Recently relocated from Budapest to Helsinki, Illegal Oedipus is an art collective consisting of two Iranian artists. The focus of the team is on interactive art installations that aim to engage audiences on contemporary social issues such as human smuggling, and social and economic inequality. Babak Arzani is the visual artist of the group, and Behrooz Torki is the game designer and programmer. They also collaborate with performers and musicians who help us in creation and execution of their art.

Anna Knappe and Amir Jan have been working as an artist duo since 2010, producing cinematic works, media installations and photographic works dealing with the various aspects of global migration from different perspectives. They collaborate closely with the Afghan diaspora communities in Europe, aiming to empower the migrant minority communities to narrate their own collective stories instead of being the actors or subjects in the narratives created by and for the purpose of the majority groups.

Elisa Pascucci (Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives, University of Helsinki) is a human geographer specializing in refugee and humanitarian studies. Her research focuses on two main areas: refugee political agency and political mobilization, and infrastructures and economies of humanitarianism and refuge.

The discussion is facilitated by Minna Seikkula (CEREN, University of Helsinki) and it is part of the activities of the research project KNOWACT (see https://blogs.helsinki.fi/borderstruggles/)

CEREN Colloquium with prof. emeritus Frej Stamboul on Frantz Fanon and his legacy

11.11.2019 at 15.15-16.45, Festsalen, Soc&kom, Snellmaninkatu 12, 00170 Helsinki.


The lecture will focus on Fanon’s global itinerary, in which he deconstructs the white European coloniality of power, based on a fake universality and embedded in racialism and domination over what it calls “people without history”. Fanon has been digging into the imperial citadel built on crude violence and blind terror, which has destroyed the layers of numerous political fabrics across several continents. Such predatory behaviour resulted in slave trade, mass illiteracy and a frightening level of impoverishment. It also inflicted a deep feeling of humiliation and caused serious mental disorders. Fanon spent his short life demystifying this historical adventure and fighting for the birth of a more humane world based on equality, dignity and freedom.

Frej Stambouli is Professor emeritus of Sociology at Tunis University, Tunisian Republic. He did his PhD at Sorbonne University, Paris, France. He has been Visiting Professor at UCLA/Los Angeles (1986, 1987) and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1991, 1992). He was Member of Prince Aga Khan Board for the Promotion of Muslim Architecture (1977-1983). He has published on nation building and social change in modern Maghreb in various international journals and edited collections, such as British Journal of Sociology, and Les Temps Modernes. Recently he published a chapter on the “Jasmine Revolution” in “Teheranin kodeissa, Kairon kaduilla”, edited by Susanne Dahlgen (2016, Otava). Prof. Stambouli has lectured on Islam at the University of Helsinki, University of Turku and Tampere University (2016, 2018).

CEREN Colloquium with Matti Pohjonen: 
Extreme Speech: or Three Perspectives to Online Hate Speech


18.11.2019 at 15.15-16.45, Festsalen, Soc&kom, Snellmaninkatu 12, 00170 Helsinki.

This talk introduces the concept of extreme speech, initially developed as an anthropological qualifier to explore public controversies around online hateful speech and violent online political extremism. Extreme speech, instead of providing a blanket categorisation of all forms of speech seen as hateful, proposes that “the production, circulation, and consumption of online vitriol should be approached as much as a cultural practice and social phenomenon as it is a legal or regulatory one” (Udupa and Pohjonen 2019, p 3050). Building on lessons learned from comparative research on online hate speech debates in Ethiopia and the EU, the talk extends the concept of extreme speech to explore the different I have approached online hate speech in my comparative research: online hate speech as "conflict"; online hate speech as "extreme speech"; and online hate speech as "commentary".

Matti Pohjonen is a Lecturer in Global Digital Media at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He works at the intersection of digital anthropology, philosophy and data science. For the past 10 years, he has developed critical-comparative research approaches for understanding digital cultures globally. This has included, among other things, work on international news and blogging in India, mobile technology in East Africa, comparative research on online extremism and hate speech in Ethiopia and Europe, and exploring new methods in “big data” analysis and artificial intelligence for digital media research. He received his MA and PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where he also worked as a Senior Teaching Fellow (2006-2009) an AHRC-funded Post-Doctorate Research Fellow (2013). He was also a Researcher for the Programme for Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCLMP), at the University of Oxford (2013-2016), a Research Fellow (2015-2016) for the VOX-Pol Network of Excellence, and a Visiting Research Fellow (2017) at the Centre for Media and Communication (ZeMKI), at the University of Bremen. His work as a Senior Researcher (2016-2017) for Africa’s Voices Foundation, a not-for-profit research organisation launched out of University of Cambridge, was dedicated to developing innovative research and data analysis methods for hard-to-reach populations in East Africa.

CEREN COLLOQUIUM: What are the asylum and refugee policies that Europeans want?


21.11.2019 at 14.15-15.45. Room 210 (2nd floor) Swedish School of Social Science (Yrjö Koskisen katu 3, Helsinki)

Talk by Dr. Anne-Marie Jeannet from the European University Institute, followed by a commentary by Östen Wahlbeck, Senior Lecturer at the Swedish School of Social Science. Moderators: Mari Toivanen and Gwenaëlle Bauvois, Researchers at the Swedish School of Social Science (CEREN).

Asylum and refugee policies around the world have faced considerable public scrutiny in recent years. Despite intense political debates, very little is known about what the public preferences are in this policy area, and about the extent to which there is a widespread public willingness to move away from the status quo. The lecture will first conceptualise the core dimensions of asylum and refugee policy and then examine how different policy designs impact on public support. To do so, we will consider a recent experiment on public preferences conducted in eight different European countries with 12,000 participants. The talk will conclude by discussing the policy implications of the experimental findings, particularly given recent policy reforms in France and Greece.
The talk is based on the findings of the research project MEDAM (The Mercator Dialogue on Asylum and Migration). For more information on the MEDAM-project: https://www.medam-migration.eu/en/
The event is organized by Ceren (The Center for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism) and Väestöliitto (The Family Federation of Finland).

Anne-Marie Jeannet is a sociologist that studies how changes in the social structure, such as deindustrialization or immigration, alter political life. She is particularly interested in how the public perceives and responds to these social phenomena and the role of the socio-political context in shaping the public’s response to these occurrences. Anne-Marie received her doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2015 and she is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute.

Pohjois-Syyrian konflikti: Solidaarisuus ja mahdollisuudet rauhaan

29.10.2019 at 13-15, Fönster-tila, Tiedekulma.

Turkki hyökkäsi Pohjois-Syyrian kurdialueille lokakuun alkupuolella Yhdysvaltain vedettyä pois joukkonsa maiden rajalta. Tuen vetäminen ISIS:iä vastaan menestyksekkäästi taistelleilta kurdijoukoilta ja siviilikohteisiin kohdistuneet sotilasiskut ovat herättäneet laajaa paheksuntaa.

Hyökkäys on johtanut lyhyessä ajassa massiiviseen sisäiseen pakolaisuuteen Syyriassa sekä pelkoon jihadistijärjestö ISIS:in uudesta noususta. Hyökkäyksen humanitaariset seuraukset ovat katastrofaaliset, ja konfliktin leviäminen ei ole poissuljettua. Samalla kun eurooppalaiset valtiojohtajat ovat tuominneet iskun, kansalaisyhteiskunnan parista on noussut vaatimuksia konkreettisista teoista hyökkäykseen puuttumiseksi. Mistä tässä on kyse?

Keskusteltaessa Turkin vastaisista pakotteista, Turkki uhkaili EU:ta ”pakolaisaallolla” – miten Turkin toiminta kytkeytyy myös EU-politiikkaan? Konfliktin yhteydessä on keskusteltu myös eurooppalaisesta aseviennistä Turkkiin – käydäänkö sotaa myös Suomesta viedyillä aseilla?Tiedekulman keskustelussa pureudutaan kysymyksiin rauhan mahdollisuudesta, humanitaarisesta tuesta hyökkäyksen myötä pakolaisiksi joutuneille ihmisille sekä keinoista osoittaa solidaarisuutta Pohjois-Syyriaan.

Aiheesta keskustelevat muun muassa vanhempi tutkija Elisa Pascucci (Helsingin yliopisto), vanhempi tutkija Toni Alaranta (Ulkopoliittinen Instituutti), vanhempi neuvonantaja ja entinen suurlähettiläs Ilkka Uusitalo. Keskustelua fasilitoivat tutkijat Mari Toivanen ja Minna Seikkula (Helsingin yliopisto).

Tilaisuus järjestetään pääosin suomenkielisenä. Ei ilmoittautumista.

Antiracist and decolonial perspectives on pedagogy - afternoon

29.10.2019 at 15-17, lecture hall A111, Metsätalo.

As researchers, who carry out research in areas ranging from politics of migration, to transnationalism, to racism and antiracism, to post- and decoloniality, to name a few areas, we consider it imperative to consider how our roles as educators are impacted by the theories we explore and develop. Therefore, we have begun organizing meetings for all those who teach, or are interested in teaching, to reflect critically at the pedagogies we deploy in the classroom and vis-à-vis our students. As academics, we take seriously the notion that the use of any decolonial or antiracist theory must be coupled with a decolonial and antiracist praxis. Please join us as we delve into the rich theories and practices of critical pedagogies. If you have any suggested reading for the group, please do not hesitate to contact nelli.ruotsalainen@helsinki.fi. The next meeting time and date will be posted here and sent out on the CEREN email list. 

RESEARCH IN ACTION: Using participatory and creative methods in research -seminar

Date: Monday 3.6.2019

Time: 10:00-16:00

Place: Festsalen, ground floor, Swedish School of Social Science, Snellmaninkatu 12, Helsinki

Research designs and methods that involve close cooperation with research participants increasingly interest researchers in social sciences and humanities. Many researchers also seek to develop creative forms of knowledge production and use arts-based methods in their studies. The aim of this seminar is to reflect on and discuss experiences of doing participatory, arts-based and action oriented research. What does participation mean in different research projects and what are the methodological choices involved in doing participatory research? How should different positionalities and power relations be taken into account? How can creative methods and arts enable collaborative knowledge production and what are the challenges of such research? How can research contribute to social change?


10:00-10:15 Welcoming words

10:15-11:15 Annalisa Frisina (University of Padova): Photovoice and digital storytelling for researching (and challenging) everyday racism

11:15-12:15 Umut Erel (The Open University): Participatory arts-based methods for researching migration: Opportunities and challenges

12:15-13:15 Lunch break

13:15-14:15 René León Rosales (Multicultural Centre): Participatory action research in segregating and racializing urban landscapes in Sweden: Some reflections on methodological dilemmas 

14:15-14:30 Coffee break

14:30-15:45 Panel discussion on collaboration, positionalities and knowledge: Umut Erel, Annalisa Frisina, René León Rosales, Leonardo Custódio (University of Tampere) and Pauline Hortelano (Åbo Akademi University)

15:45-16:00 Closing words

Please register for the seminar latest 28.5. at


Annalisa Frisina: Photovoice and digital storytelling for researching (and challenging) everyday racism

This talk starts from reflecting how Post/de-colonial sociology, Critical Race Theory and Visual Studies can offer a good theoretical framework for researching everyday racism with young people.  Participatory visual methods such as photovoice and digital storytelling can be used to open a transformative safe space for racialized young people, who can express their “right to look” (Mirzoeff 2011). This methodological proposal is based on a participatory visual research with young people (with and without a migrant background) from the North East of Italy. They were invited to take pictures on three themes: “Self-portraits of a new generation”; “People/places in the city I live in that make me feel (in)secure”; “Feeling a citizen, feeling a foreigner”. This talk will argue the relevance of focus group with photo-elicitation for discussing/unlearning everyday racism with young people who often are socialized to “white innocence” (Wekker 2016) in Europe.


Dr. Annalisa Frisina is Associate Professor in Sociology at FISPPA Department, University of Padua in Italy. She has extensive research experience in youth studies, migration studies, religious studies, with a special expertise on visual and collaborative/participatory research methods. She is co-founder of InteRGRace (Interdisciplinary Group on Race and Racisms) and SLAN.G. (research group on Social Control, Labour, Racism  and Migration). She is committed to researching/contrasting different forms of racisms (mainly islamophobia, anti-black racism and antiziganism) through cultural work with young people. https://en.didattica.unipd.it/off/docente/E7BDF5B285A13497371CAB781C52A19F

Umut Erel: Participatory arts-based methods for researching migration: Opportunities and challenges

This talk will reflect on opportunities, challenges and how we can create conditions for co-producing knowledge with migrant support and advocacy organisations and groups of migrants. It is based on work with the Participatory Arts and Social Action Research project, which explored the experiences of place-making, belonging and enactments of citizenship of migrant families in London. It looked at intergenerational knowledge, experiences and challenges to racist and sexist policy such as the No Recourse to Public Funds Policy and how these methods may enable participants to articulate collective knowledges with practitioners and policy makers. The talk will look in particular at participatory theatre and walking methods as ways of engaging with research participants.


Dr. Umut Erel is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the Open University, UK. She has widely published on the intersections of migration, ethnicity, citizenship, racism, gender, and class. Her methodological interests are in creative and participatory methods for research and engagement. She was PI of Participatory Arts and Social Action in Research, exploring theatre and walking methods for research http://fass.open.ac.uk/research/projects/pasar

Dr. Erel also led the Open University’s contribution to the ‘Who are We?’ Project at Tate Exchange, reflecting on migration, citizenship, participation and belonging across arts, activism and academia https://www.whoareweproject.com

For recent publications, see http://www.open.ac.uk/people/ue27

René León Rosales: Participatory action research in segregating and racializing urban landscapes in Sweden: Some reflections on methodological dilemmas 

This presentation will reflect on the methodological and ethical dilemmas encountered in participatory action research projects addressing issues connected tor racism and segregation in the Swedish society. Rosales will reflect on how these experiences and insights can be understood in a discussion about the role of researchers who are working with these issues.


René León Rosales is Head of Research at the Mångkulturellt centrum [Multicultural Center] in Botkyrka, Stockholm (www.mkcentrum.se). His dissertation, “On the hither side of the future” (2010), is a study of the effects that economic and ethnic segregation, politics and masculine ideals have on boys’ identification processes in a multi-ethnic school in the northern part of Botkyrka. Since then, he has studied how municipalities can improve their work against discrimination. He is currently working with two research projects financed by the Swedish research council. The first project is called “The suburbs and the renaissance of the education of the people. An investigation of the rise and politicization of an urban justice movement in vulnerable racialized neighborhoods in major Swedish cities”. The second one is called “Methodological laboratories” and is an investigation of the methodological and ethical difficulties that arise in connection to the gathering of so-called equality data regarding ethnic/racial categories.

The seminar is organised by the projects Intersectional Border Struggles and Disobedient Knowledge in Activism (KNOWACT) and Postethnic Activism in the Neoliberal Era, funded by the Academy of Finland, and The Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN), Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki. 


CEREN colloquium with Associate Professor Anju Mary Paul, Yale-NUS College in Singapore.

8.4.2019 at 14-16, room 210, Soc&kom, Snellmaninkatu 12, 00170 Helsinki.

Gender Shock - Stories of Privilege, Pressure and Prejudice in the Migrations of Asian Women Scientists


There is growing interest in the return migrations of Asian scientists who were trained in the West, however, migration scholars have largely focused on Asian male scientists, ignoring the particular challenges faced by Asian women scientists. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Asian women scientists who were all trained in the West and then had to decide whether or not to return to Asia, this talk explores the shared narratives of privilege, pressure and and prejudice in the lives of these women that shape their career progression and desire to work in Asia. In addition, this talk introduces the concept of “gender shock,” a variation on the widespread notion of “culture shock” but focusing on the surprise of entering a social space where the attitudes, norms, and beliefs surrounding one’s gender are unfamiliar in either a positive or negative way, resulting in the individual’s sudden heightened awareness of the influence of their gender. This talk demonstrates how Asian women scientists become increasingly aware of the salience of their gender in shaping their career, as they age and move through different educational stages even within their home countries, let alone foreign countries.


Anju Mary Paul is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Yale-NUS College in Singapore. She is an international migration scholar with a research focus on migration to, from, and within Asia. Her book Multinational Maids: Stepwise Migration in a Global Labor Market (Cambridge University Press 2017) received the 2018 Thomas and Znaniecki Best Book Award from the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association, and the 2018 Max Weber Award for Distinguished Scholarship from the Organizations, Occupations, and Work Section of American Sociological Association. Dr Paul has also published sole-authored articles in the top journals in sociology and migration studies including the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Migration Studies, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Global Networks, and Ethnic and Racial Studies. While she continues to study migrant domestic work, her current book project, Asian Scientists on the Move, looks at how the brain circulations of Asian-born, Western-trained bioscientists are changing Asian science.

CEREN Colloquium with Prof. Shirley Anne Tate, Leeds Beckett University, UK 

1.4.2019 at 15-17, Lecture hall 4, Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40 

Anger, psychic institutional pain and silencing in academia


I am a ‘wounded body stranger’ (Tate and Wahidin 2014) removed from myself so I do not feel psychic pain. However, pain emerges and I use it here drawing from Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals as an analytic frame to explore how as Black women we cope with an imposed silencing from within white feminism whilst maintaining subjective and Black feminist community cohesiveness. I look at psychic institutional pain in UK universities as locations of body and knowledge estrangement drawing on Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark and such pain is seen as both repressive and productive of Black feminist critique. Institutional pain can also be agentic, productive, when we notice that it is rooted in Lorde’s anger. ‘Mi vex’ recognizes the source of vexation, of Black feminist anger-pain, while repeating it as complaint and need for intersectional political action in order to continue to build Black feminist community.


Shirley Anne Tate is Professor of Race and Education and Director of the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality (CRED) in the Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University, UK, and Honorary Professor, Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa.  Her area of research is Black Diaspora Studies broadly and her research interests are institutional racism including universities, the body, affect, beauty, 'race' performativity and Caribbean decolonial studies, while paying attention to the intersections of 'race' and gender in her research, writing and teaching. She has published widely, given talks internationally and supervised PhD candidates and Masters students on these topics. 

CEREN Col­loquium with Prof. Peter Kiv­isto, Au­gus­t­ana Uni­versity, US

4.3.2019 at 15-17, Lecture hall 4, Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40.

"Is Populism Good to Think?  Making Sense of an Illiberal Era"


Right-wing populist movements have emerged as significant political forces in Western Europe and North America--not to mention other locales, such as Brazil and the Philippines.  While one can point to  various family resemblances across nations, as well as international alliances among the right-wing parties, the differences are also evident.  Does the concept of populism help us in making sense of their emergence and determining if and when they pose a threat to liberal democracy?  This talk is intended to offer reflections on the analytical utility of the term.


Peter Kivisto is Professor in Sociology, Anthropology and Social Welfare, and Richard A. Swanson Chair of Social Thought at Augustana College, US. His research interests include immigration, multiculturalism, social integration, citizenship, and religion. Among his books are The Trump Phenomenon: How the Politics of Populism Won in 2016 (2017), Race and Ethnicity: The Basics (2012, with Paul Croll), Key Ideas in Sociology (2011), Illuminating Social Life (2011); Beyond a Border: The Causes and Consequences of Contemporary Immigration (2010, with Thomas Faist); Citizenship: Discourse, Theory and Transnational Prospects (2007, with Thomas Faist); and Intersecting Inequalities (2007, with Elizabeth Hartung).


14 February 2019, 2.15pm-4.45pm in Festsal, Soc&kom, Snellmaninkatu 12, 00170 Helsinki.


Prof. Anne-Marie Fortier, Lancaster University, UK: Affecting Citizenship: Possibilities and Limitations

Commentary: Dr. Marja Peltola, University of Helsinki

Dr. Anna Bredström, Linköping University, Sweden: “The Swedes and Their Fathers”: DNA-Genealogy as Biological Citizenship?

Commentary: Docent Johanna Leinonen, Migration Institute of Finland


The Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN), Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki

Academy of Finland projects "Ordering the 'migrant family': power asymmetry work and citizenisation in welfare professional bureaucracies" (MigraFam) & "Citizenisation in the local welfare state: migrant mothers' everyday life in restructuring urban settings."

Welfare States, rise of authoritarian nationalism and post-truth

Open lectures 4.12.2018 at 13-16
Lecture hall 13, Main Building, University of Helsinki, Fabianinkatu 33, Helsinki.

13:15-13:20 Welcoming words
13:20-14:25 Lecture by Ben Pitcher and discussion
14:25-14:35 Break
14:35 - 15:40 Lecture by Jón Olafsson and discussion
15:40 - 16:00 General discussion

Dr. Ben Pitcher (University of Westminster, UK): The Inviolable Truths of Race: How the Populist Right Set the Terms of the Debate on Immigration, and Why We Let Them Do It

Prof. Jón Ólafsson (University of Iceland):
Disinformation, “konspiratsia” and fake news: The epistemic structure

The open lectures are organised in cooperation with the Nordic network The Power of Narrative: Media and Democracy in Turbulent Times (NOS-HS, 2018-2019).

Democratic politics in the Western world have come under the spell of right wing populism and its divisive rhetoric. From Brazil to Russia – across the US and Great Britain movements have risen with leaders claiming fight for the common people against indifferent, self-serving and corrupt elites, with racism and xenophobia playing an important part in populist debates.

This event focuses on the way in which populist racisms are changing the terms of political debate, establishing a common political grammar that is shared by a range of politicians, journalists and commentators across a wide political spectrum. It considers the challenges faced by an anti-racist politics when it is framed by the far-right as a cause of political elites. It uses populist racism as a heuristic to consider some deep-rooted myths of national identity, cultural entitlement, and the racial politics of the welfare state.

Dr. Ben Pitcher: "The inviolable truths of race: How the populist right set the terms of the debate on immigration, and why we let them do it."

In the run-up to the Brexit vote, right-wing populists deployed a familiar xenophobic language of race, national identity and belonging. In doing so, they set up a fundamental distinction between popular desire - the will of the people - and a ‘politically correct’ political establishment comprised of ‘metropolitan elites’. This lecture will consider the political and conceptual terms under which right-wing populism has flourished in Britain, Europe and beyond. I will suggest that, in failing to challenge the populist distinction between the people and political establishment as it relates to issues of immigration and national identity, the opponents of the populist right have helped to establish right-wing discourses as inviolable truths. In particular, I will address some deep-rooted ideas in the conceptualisation of welfare and social class that reveal a normative whiteness operating at the heart of our political culture. To undertake the urgent task of challenging right-wing populism, we need to understand the extent to which race shapes public life in Western liberal democracies, and work to develop rival forms of antiracist populism that do not take the inviolable truths of race for granted.

Dr. Ben Pitcher teaches sociology at the University of Westminster, UK. He has written extensively on race, politics and popular culture, and is currently writing a book on the cultural politics of prehistory. He is the author of Consuming Race (2014) and The Politics of Multiculturalism (2009).

Prof. Jón Ólafsson: "Disinformation, 'konspiratsia' and fake news: The epistemic structure."

The discussion will consider technological changes that put a strain on media discussion by the infiltration of fake news and disinformation, adding to the challenges of finding a common ground for discussion. Particular attention will be given to the concept of “fake news” which is used both to describe a growing social media industry associated with racist and xenophobic types of populism and by right wing nationalists to characterize the mainstream media. The concept will be explored from an epistemic as well as a historical perspective. Is there a substantive difference between today’s structure of disinformation and methods employed in the past for agitation and propaganda purposes?

PJón Ólafsson is a professor at the University of Iceland, Comparative Cultural Studies Department, Faculty Member. Studies Political Philosophy, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science.

Chairs: Suvi Keskinen, Academy Research Fellow, Professor, Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN), University of Helsinki.
Niko Pyrhönen, post doctoral researcher, CEREN, University of Helsinki.

CEREN 20 Years: New Challenges to Research on Ethnic Relations

3.12.2018 at 12.15 – 16.45, Festsalen, 1st floor, Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki, Snellmansgatan 12.

The Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN) is celebrating its 20 years anniversary! As part of the festivities, we organise a thematic seminar on 3.12.2018. The event is open for all interested, welcome!


12:15-12:30 Welcoming words: Prof. Suvi Keskinen, Rector Johan Bärlund

12:30 – 14:45 Keynote lectures:

Dr. Marta Araújo (Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal): Academic (mis)understandings: Knowledge production and institutional racism

Assoc.Prof. Lena Näre (Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki): How institutions recognise? Human capitalisation and intersections of racialised migrancy, gender and class in the activation of unemployed youth

Comments: Emeritus Prof. Charles Husband (University of Bradford/University of Helsinki)


14:45-15:00 Break

15:00-16:30 CEREN yesterday and today

15:00-15:45 Prof. emeritus Tom Sandlund (Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki): Establishment and history of CEREN

15:45-16:30 Introduction of current research at CEREN

16:30-16:45 Closing words


Marta Araújo: "Academic (mis)understandings: Knowledge production and institutional racism."

The Eurocentric understanding of racism within the paradigm of prejudice studies consolidated since the end of WWII has pervaded much political and academic debate, fixating a notion of racism as a problem of ignorant individuals or extreme politics. In this communication, it is argued that such conceptualisation has been crucial both to invisibilise the persistence of institutionalised racism and to constitute struggles against racism as the problem. Considering the university as a key site for analysing these understandings, and their intersection with politics and policy-making, I illustrate my argument with three examples from the Portuguese context: 1) the emergence of an academic agenda on racism; 2) the public exhibition ‘Racism and Citizenship’ taking place in 2017 in Lisbon; and 3) institutional responses to students’ complaints of everyday racism in the University of Coimbra. These examples will be used to reflect upon the struggles for meaning pervading contemporary racism and anti–racism.

Marta Araújo is Principal Researcher at the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra, where she integrates the Research Group 'Democracy, Citizenship and Law' and lectures in the Doctoral Programmes 'Democracy in the 21st Century' and 'Human Rights in Contemporary Societies'. She is also invited lecturer at the Black Europe Summer School (International Institute for Research and Education - IIRE, Amsterdam). Marta Araújo has published internationally and is currently a member of the Editorial Board of publications on sociology, race and education in Brazil, Britain, Portugal and the United States. She has also been actively engaged in outreach activities, both with grassroots movements and with schools. Her research work addresses the (re)production and challenging of Eurocentrism and racism in two complimentary lines: 1) Eurocentrism, knowledge production, history teaching, and political struggles; 2) public policy, racial inequality and anti-racism.


Lena Näre: "How institutions recognize: Human capitalisation and intersections of racialised migrancy, gender and class in activation of unemployed youth."

In this talk I develop the notion of institutional recognition to analyse the ways in which employment institutions recognise unemployed young people, their skills, and capabilities and how this recognition is linked to processes of human capitalisation in labour market activation services in Finland. Human capitalisation relates to the processes through which previously non-economic areas of life become economized and how abilities, skills, knowledge and a consumeristic understanding of personal responsibility creates an idea of a flexible workforce that can be adjusted to the varied demands of the labour market. The processes of recognition and human capitalization are by no means neutral but are embedded in intersectional hierarchies of racialised migrancy, gender, and class. The paper is based on collaborative multi-sited ethnographic research tracing labour market activation in the Helsinki metropolitan area in Finland in 2014-2016 and conducted in relation to Migrant Youth Employment: Recognition of Capabilities and Boundaries of Belonging - project (2014-2017).

Lena Näre is Associate Professor of Sociology (tenure track) at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland. She joined the Department in 2011 after having been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism, Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Sussex Centre for Migration Research, University of Sussex, UK. She holds a DPhil in Migration Studies from the University of Sussex and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Helsinki. Her research focuses on questions of migration and asylum, work and care, intersectionality, ageing, home and belonging as well as ethnographic methods. She is currently leading an Academy of Finland funded project on irregular migration and precarious work in Finland (2015-2018) and a Kone Foundation-funded project Struggles over Home and Belonging - Neighbourhood Solidarities as response to the asylum ‘crisis’ (2018-2020). Her work has been published in journals such as e.g. Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Identities and Men and Masculinities. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Nordic Journal of Migration Research and vice-president of European Sociological Association (2017-2019).