CESSMIR second conference ‘Contemporary forms of racism and discrimination’


PhD pre-conference 18 – 19 September 2022

Main conference 19 – 21 September 2022

Ghent University, Belgium

Contemporary forms of racism and discrimination

CESSMIR’s second conference opens up an exchange platform for researchers, practitioners and policy makers working in the broad field of migration, integration and ethnic-cultural diversity. They are invited to share their questions and expertise on understanding and responding to contemporary forms of racism and discrimination from a broad, interdisciplinary approach. With experts working in different domains of society, including education, employment, health care, housing, media, deviance and crime, architecture, family, child support and social work, CESSMIR actively seeks contributions that speak to different audiences, but with a commonly shared focus on social exclusion.

The exclusion of social groups based on migration background, colour, religion, language and legal documents, amongst other aspects, remains a key social problem in societies across the globe. Despite the advancements made in terms of social justice and inclusion through processes of decolonisation and anti-racism, racism and discrimination remain an everyday reality for large numbers of minoritised people. In addition, recent economic and health crises have fostered insecurities, populism and economic and health inequalities, which in turn resulted in more open polarisation and hostility between different racialised and ethnicised groups. It is therefore paramount that academics and practitioners remain focused on understanding and tackling racism, discrimination and social exclusion in order to develop a more cohesive and just society.

Important deadlines

  • (Extended) deadline for abstract submission: 15 April 2022
  • Notification for acceptance or rejection: 30 April 2022
  • Early registration: 30 June 2022 (Extended)
  • Late registration: 1 September 2022

Call for contributions

Conference theme: Contemporary forms of racism and discrimination

We strongly welcome empirical and theoretical contributions reflecting on the processes of racism, discrimination and exclusion in the Global South. We also particularly welcome contributions aiming to bridge race and migration studies in Europe.

Given its inter-disciplinary approach, CESSMIR encourages (English language) contributions from practitioners and policy makers.

Equally, we welcome researchers working from very different theoretical and methodological approaches and from both junior and senior voices in their field.

Possible topics can include:

  • Theoretical perspectives on concepts of race, ethnicity, racism, discrimination and exclusion
  • Empirical studies and perspectives on racism and discrimination across a variety of settings, such as, but not limited to:
    • Labour markets
    • (Urban) housing markets
    • Education
    • Health care
    • Justice
    • Family counselling
    • Care practices
    • Participation and integration
  • Discrimination based on migration background, skin colour, language, religious background, legal status, etc.
  • Institutional racism
  • Discrimination and racism in discourse (e.g. (social) media discourse, political discourse, policy making, anti-racism activism, etc.)
  • Stereotypes, prejudice, implicit bias, stigma, labelling, hate speech
  • Intersectional approaches (how race and/or ethnicity intersect with class, gender, sexuality,..)
  • Experiences, practices and responses of racialised and ethnicised minority groups
  • Experiences, practices and responses of institutional actors and policy makers attempting to tackle racism and discrimination (police, justice, companies, sport federations, social housing authorities, schools, etc).
  • Anti-discrimination policies and legislations
  • Anti-racism activism

Formats for contributions

The following formats will be accepted for submission:

  1. Individual presentation

Individual presentations will be grouped into thematic sessions of 4 presentations based on provided keywords. Each accepted presentation is given 15 minutes for their presentation, followed by 5 minutes for a discussion with the audience. Each thematic session lasts 90 minutes. Submissions for individual presentations should include a proposal of no more than 2,000 characters, including spaces. A reference list is not required.

Click here to submit an individual presentation

  1. Symposia

A symposium is a focused group of presentations on a common theme. Symposium organisers are encouraged to include multiple disciplines, a diversity in presenters’ backgrounds, and if possible contributions from practitioners or policy makers. A symposium lasts 90 minutes and consists of 3 to 4 contributors and a discussant, who summarises and comments on the presentations and moderates the public discussion. We strongly encourage interaction with the audience. Each contribution is given 15 minutes. There should be at least 30 minutes for a general discussion. Submissions for symposia should include a proposal consisting of an overall short text of the symposium as a whole (no more than 3,000 characters, including spaces), and a short abstract of each of the contributions (each no more than 2,000 characters, including spaces). A reference list is not required.

Click here to submit a symposium proposal

  1. Dialogues

A ‘Dialogue’ is a focused session, in which a societal issue is tackled in-depth. More specifically, the contributors bring academic and non-academic knowledge to the table and as such contribute to a deeper understanding of the issue and of ways to tackle it (what has been done in practice and policy, what was the rationale behind it, what works for whom in what ways, etc.). This is done with contributions from an academic and from a practitioner/policymaker, preferably a practitioner/policy maker working in Belgium and a practitioner/policy maker working in another country than Belgium or in an international organisation. A dialogue session lasts 90 minutes and takes place on 19 September, between 4 and 5.30 pm, or on 20 September, between 11.30 am and 1 pm. Submissions for a Dialogue should include a proposal of no more than 4,000 characters, including spaces. A reference list is not required. 

Click here to submit a Dialogue session proposal

  1. PhD pre-conference presentation

PhD candidates may also submit preliminary research plans or work in progress in dedicated sessions taking place during the pre-conference. Individual presentations will be grouped into thematic sessions of 4 presentations based on provided keywords. Each accepted presentation is given 15 minutes for their presentation, followed by 5 minutes for a discussion with the audience. Each thematic session lasts 90 minutes. Submissions for individual presentations should include a proposal of no more than 2,000 characters, including spaces. A reference list is not required.

Click here to submit a PhD Pre-conference presentation

  1. Other formats 

We are open to other formats besides the ones mentioned above, including, but not limited to, artistic interventions, debates, etc. Submissions for other formats should include a proposal of no more than 4,000 characters, and/or a short video of max. 3 minutes.  

Click here to submit another format

Keynote sessions

Session 1: 19/09 11:30 - 13:00
Keynote by Dr Kwame Nimako (11:30 – 12:15) - Ideological incompatibilities and institutional contradictions: Racism and Discrimination in Color-Blind Europe Today

Kwame Nimako


Kwame Nimako is the founder and director of the Black Europe Summer School (BESS) based in Amsterdam since 2007.  He holds degrees in sociology and a PhD in economics from the University of Amsterdam where he also taught International Relations in the Department of Political Sciences (1992-2013 and Race and Ethnic Relations at the Centre for Race and Ethnic Studies (1986- 1991). He held visiting professor positions in the Department of African American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley (Spring 2018 and 2012-2015) and at the University of Suriname (2011) and has also given lectures at universities, conferences and organizations in the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Sweden.

Dr. Nimako has consulted with several private and public institutions including the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy (NiNsee) in Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Municipal Council, and the Dutch Ministry of Home Affairs. He was the Principal Research Consultant for Focus Consultancy Ltd (UK) (1996-1997) on the Migrants in Europe Project commissioned by the General-Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States (in Brussels). He is the author or co-author of more than thirty books, reports and guidebooks, on economic development, ethnic relations, social policy, urban renewal, and migration.

His most recent book is The Dutch Atlantic: Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation (with Glenn Willemsen) (London, Pluto Press, 2011). Among his recent book chapters are: Lost and Found: sovereignties and state formations in Africa and Asia, In: Routledge Handbook of Africa-Asia Relations, edited by Pedro Miguel Amakasu Raposo de Medeiros Carvalho, David Arase and Scarlett Cornelissen (Routledge: London 2018); Black Europe and a Contested European Union; In: The Open Veins of the Postcolonial: Afrodescendants and Racism, edited by Iolanda Evora and Inocencia Mata (Tagus Press, Dartmouth, 2022); Araújo, Marta; Nimako, Kwame (2022), Mobilizing History: Racism, Enslavement and Public Debate in Contemporary Europein Shirley Anne Tate and Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Race and Gender. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 449-466.

He is currently writing a book with Stephen Small entitled Public History, Museums and Collective Memory of slavery and its legacies in England and The Netherlands.


Western European nations achieved global historical domination and contemporary global influence on the basis of colonization, slavery and imperialism, establishing and expanding political and economic systems based irrepressibly and inextricably on ideas of race. Religious, biological and cultural racist ideologies thrived in the academic halls and political corridors of the powerful, as well as in the gateways to national boundaries, employment, education, housing and health. After slavery was legally abolished, explicit, direct institutional racism was superseded by implicit, indirect institutional racism. Today, nations in Western Europe adamantly insist that all people are equal, and that color-blind policies and practices must prevail in order to achieve equality of opportunity, and outcomes that are equitable. And yet deep and abiding ideas of race, otherness and rightful belonging still pervade political and public discussions of immigration, citizenship, asylum seekers and refugees. Evidence of a pervasive repertoire of direct and indirect racial discrimination – intersecting with and compounded by gender, class and religious stratification – continues to be revealed. These are the ideological and institutional entanglements that must be unraveled if we are to confront, contain, reduce and eliminate racial discrimination. At the forefront of challenges to racial discrimination is a plethora of local, national and international groups and organizations across the continent, based on racial, ethnic and religious identity – many having gender and women’s experiences as a pivot of their activities. These groups and organizations maintain both a microscope and a telescope on racist ideologies and practices; they reject color blindness as a state-led fabrication and foil to avoid equality. And they offer the best hope for a sustained reduction in racial discrimination.

Paneldiscussion with Neslihan Doğan (12:15 - 13:00)
Neslihan Doğan: Neslihan Doğan is neighbourhood explorer and historian at STAM. As part of her thesis and the project 'The women of Breskens', she conducted research into first-generation Turkish women and their role in migration.


Session 2: 20/09 9:30 - 11:00
Keynote by Naima Charkaoui (9:30-10:15) - On the wounds of racism and the importance of resilience

(c) Sien Verstraeten
(c) Sien Verstraeten


Naima Charkaoui studied political sciences at Ghent University (Belgium). She has been working on human rights, inequality and racism in Belgium since 2001: first for more than 10 years at the head of the Minorities Forum (coalition of grassroots migrants organisations), later in children's rights organisations and currently at the Flemish umbrella organisation for international solidarity. She is author of two books on racism, one for adults (2019) and one for children (written with Ikrame Kastit, published 2022) and a book on migration.


Racism certainly is a major social and political problem, but we often don’t realize sufficiently that it is also a personal problem. In this lecture - based on her book 'Racism: About Wounds and Resilience' (in Dutch, also translated to French) - Naima Charkaoui explains how racism damages the health and development of people affected by it, with a focus on children. She puts forward tools to strengthen the resilience and resistance of the victims. These tools can be used by people who are themselves victims of racism, as well as by those around them (parents, friends, etc.) and professionals.

Panel discussion with Astrid De Bruycker & Arne Carpentier (10:15 - 11:00)
Astrid De Bruycker: At the start of 2019, Astrid De Bruycker (Vooruit) became deputy-mayor for Equal Opportunities, Welfare, Participation, Neighborhood Work and Public Greenery. At the beginning of 2021, she took the initiative to start bystanders training to combat racism and discrimination.
Arne Carpentier: Arne studied Moral Sciences and after his studies did internships in Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine. As a pedagogical supporter at School Without Racism, his most important task is to develop, supervise and follow up workshops, excursions and training.


Closing session: 21/09 11:30 - 13:00
Keynote by Prof. Peter Stevens (11:30 - 12:00) - Reducing race/ethnic inequalities in Flemish education: thinking broad and bold


Peter A. J. Stevens (BA, MA Ghent University, MA, PhD Warwick University) is Associate Professor in Qualitative Research Methods at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at Ghent University (Belgium). Stevens’ research interests cover the areas of sociology of education and race/ethnic relations. His work has been published in leading journals in the field of education, race and ethnic relations and sociology, including Review of Educational Research, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and Sociology of Education. He is editor with Gary Dworkin of The Palgrave Handbook of Race and Ethnic Inequalities in Education (2019, 2nd edition, Palgrave, Basingstoke). Stevens is currently doing research on the development of ethnic stereotypes, experiences of discrimination and ethnic identities in particular school settings.


Although race/ethnic inequalities are common, structural features of almost any educational system, these inequalities are relatively high in Belgium (and Flanders) compared to other European nations. Reflecting on 20 years of research experience in different countries, Stevens will reflect on what could work in reducing race/ethnic inequalities in Flemish education. The starting point is the recognition that race/ethnic inequalities should not be studied in isolation from social class inequalities and that changes are required on many, inter-related levels of analysis, including the role of the teacher, the curriculum, pedagogy and school structural features (like tracking) and school policies. The Keynote is deliberately intended to stimulate discussion, not to provide the ‘definite’ answers to a persistent social problem that continues to undermine the idea that in our meritocratic system, education can be used as an effective tool to reduce social inequalities.

Closing session: 21/09 11:30 - 13:00
Keynote by Pieter-Paul Verhaeghe (12h-12h30) - The Long Arc Towards Justice: Have Racism and Discrimination Been Declined, or Not?

Pieter-Paul Verhaeghe


Pieter-Paul Verhaeghe is a tenure-track assistant professor in sociology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. He conducts research about discrimination, class inequalities, segregation and social policy. He is a member of several advisory committees to tackle discrimination and exclusion on the housing and labour markets. In addition, he frequently participates into societal debates through opinions and lectures.


In 1964 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a sermon in which he declared that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The words of Dr. King have been used by many progressive and liberal thinkers worldwide as a reminder that despite persisting ethnic and racial disparities, a more equal and just future might happen. More than fifty years after the civil rights movement in the United States it is time to take stock: have racism and discrimination really been declined, or not? During this keynote speech Prof. Verhaeghe will provide an multidisciplinary overview of the existing scientific evidence with respect to time trends in different aspects of racism and discrimination: discriminatory behavior on the labour and housing markets; explicit and implicit attitudes; and ethnic minority representation in positions of power.

Q&A with the Audience