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How should we theorize race in the study of family migration in Europe? How have the history of colonialism and racism impacted the development of European family migration law, including the Netherlands? Betty de Hart (VU) will address these issues based on her recent academic work on the regulation of mixed intimacies in Europe. She argues that mixed couples, especially couples of white Dutch women and racialised migrant men, have been problematized as a threat to national identity in specific ways, impacting family migration policies for all.

Event details of Bridging Race and Migration Studies: Betty de Hart
Date 10 June 2021
Time 15:45 -17:00


Betty de Hart is Professor Transnational Families and Migration Law at the Amsterdam Centre for Migration and Refugee Law at VU University Amsterdam. Through decades of research on the regulation of ‘mixed’ and mixed-status families and her current ERC project “Regulating Mixture in Europe”, she has engaged extensively with both race and migration (law) studies. Betty and her team presently investigate how lawmakers and enforcers in Europe understand ‘race’ and ‘mixed’ intimacies, how these constructions translate into law, and how this impacts the everyday lives of families. In this lecture, she will reflect on the role ‘race’ and ‘mixture’ have played in her work as a legal scholar.

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About the Series

In 2021, ACES launches a new online lecture series titled “Race and Migration - scholarship in between, on and beyond the borders”. Starting January 27th and reaching until June 10th, the series invites speakers and the audience to reflect on the historical divides and bridges between race and migration scholarship in Europe. During five monthly sessions, scholars from various fields are invited to discuss how they tackle the intersections between race- and migration in both their scholarly work and in institutional settings. The series is convened by Sonja Evaldsson Mellström and Eline Westra, UvA Department of Political Science.

What are the points of contestation between race- and migration studies in 21st century Europe? Why have these two fields developed parallel to, but not always in conversation with, each other?

The study of race- and ethnicity in Europe has historically been concerned with imperial pasts, postcolonial presents and constructions of race across the continent. Migration studies, on the other hand, has predominantly tackled issues of migrant settlement, integration and global mobilities focusing on questions of labour markets and economics, national identity and social cohesion, and state sovereignty. While there are notable exceptions, serious engagement with issues of race- and ethnicity has traditionally been lacking in European migration studies. Over the past decades, a shift has occurred in Europe where scholars within critical race-, migration-, post/colonial - and mobility studies increasingly have treated race and ethnicity as constitutive of migration processes.

This IMES/ACES lecture series invites six scholars to reflect on how the intersections between ethnicity-, race,- post/colonial- and migration scholarship inform both their own work and the larger field of migration studies. The series offers a platform for students, scholars and practitioners to critically engage with the historical divides and bridges between race and migration scholarship. Through the discussions the series aim to create avenues for tackling the issue of race in studies of transnational mobility and to provide a space to reflect on how academia institutionally can bridge the historical divides.