Students on a theater trip in Iceland.

George and Irina Schaeffer Center

PART I: Narrating Violence: Making Race, Making Difference

This is a virtual event | Registration is required
Monday, March 15, 2021 - 00:00 to Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 00:00

For this event, the Schaeffer Center joins the Winter Symposium of the Nordic Summer University Study Circle Narrative and Violence. A second session will take place on March 29–31 2021.

This symposium will explore questions arising from narratives of violence produced against racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual and political groups. While multiple theoretical perspectives will be included in both locations, the day at the American University of Paris will have a broader international focus and the day at Turku will facilitate a more Nordic/Baltic focus.  

Keynote Lecture, March 15, 15:15 to 16:15 (CET)

Dislocation and continuities: Decolonial approach to Identity formation of an African woman in Finland and the U.S (Dr. Faith Mkwesha)

Using intersectionality, this paper examines the process of identity formation of an African Finnish woman in Finland and U.S. represented in the biography The Rosa Lemberg Story, written by the historian Eva Ericson (1993). Rosa Emilia Clay (1875-1959) was the first Afro-Finnish black person to be granted a Finnish passport. Finland had no colonies. The question is: How did the story of the black African woman come about? How did racist ideas penetrate the Finnish society? How does the African woman view herself identity? Employing decolonial of the mind (DTM) theory, the paper problematises colonial structure and western theory of identity formation and explores the social relations in Finnish communities represented in the biography. I argue that the West, specifically, Finland in this case, conceptualises citizenship and identity through the lens of individuality and race. The paper seeks to theorise identity formation theory of a decolonial model.


Dr. Faith Mkwesha (PhD)

Dr. Mkwesha is a researcher and lecturer at Helsinki University, Swedish School of Social Sciences, Centre of Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN), Finland. Her PHD is on gender and the nation in African literature and culture from Stellenbosch university, South Africa. She is an expert on African literature (postcolonial literature, gender and sexuality in African literature, ethic relations and nationalism), decoloniality, black and African feminisms and teaches related courses. Her research interests are African studies, race and ethnic relations, decolonising knowledges, gender and black feminism. She is also a social justice activist who founded Sahwira Africa International NGO working with migrant and Finnish youth on culture and arts from an anti/racist approach in Finland. She does anti/racism activism launching online petitions to influence policy and initiate discussions on representation and racism. She initiated and led successful campaigns against racism, problematic and stereotypical representation of black people and Africa to advocate for change. She has worked in universities in Zimbabwe and South Africa. She is an African, Zimbabwean living and working in Finland.


Registrants will receive the Zoom link a few hours before the beginning of the event.



Sorry, registrations are no longer available for PART I: Narrating Violence: Making Race, Making Difference