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Afro Sweden: Becoming Black in a Color-Blind Country

Join author Ryan Skinner and Swedish hip hop artist Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité for an important conversation about Skinner’s new book, Afro Sweden: Becoming Black in a Color-Blind Country.

Contemporary Sweden is a country with a worldwide progressive reputation, despite an undeniable tradition of racism within its borders. In the face of this contradiction of culture and history, Afro-Swedes have emerged as a vibrant demographic presence, from generations of diasporic movement, migration, and homemaking. In Afro-Sweden, Ryan Thomas Skinner uses oral histories, archival research, ethnography, and textual analysis to explore the history and culture of this diverse and growing Afro-European community.

Skinner employs the conceptual themes of “remembering” and “renaissance” to illuminate the history and culture of the Afro-Swedish community, drawing on the rich theoretical traditions of the African and Black diaspora. Remembering fosters a sustained meditation on Afro-Swedish social history, while Renaissance indexes a thriving Afro-Swedish public culture. Together, these concepts illuminate significant existential modes of Afro-Swedish being and becoming, invested in and contributing to the work of global Black studies.

The first scholarly monograph in English to focus specifically on the African and Black diaspora in Sweden, Afro-Sweden emphasizes the voices, experiences, practices, knowledge, and ideas of these communities. Its rigorously interdisciplinary approach to understanding diasporic communities is essential to contemporary conversations around such issues as the status and identity of racialized populations in Europe and the international impact of Black Lives Matter. The book is published by University of Minnesota Press.

Ryan Thomas Skinner is associate professor of music and African American and African studies at the Ohio State University. He is author of Bamako Sounds: The Afropolitan Ethics of Malian Music (Minnesota, 2015).

Jason Timbuktu Diakité is one of Sweden’s best-known hip-hop artists and author of the critically acclaimed memoir A Drop of Midnight.