In this IMES Seminar Nicole Grégoire (FNRS Postdoctoral Fellow, LAMC, Université Libre de Bruxelles) will display her findings on her ethnographic research in Belgium and South Florida, USA.
Grégoire will thus discuss her paper that is yet a work in progress, and is based, on the one hand, on the results of the ethnographic research she conducted in Belgium from 2007 to 2010 in the framework of her PhD and, on the other hand, on an exploratory ethnographic research she conducted from August 2014 to March 2015 in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, Florida, USA.
Her doctoral research addressed the various attempts at developing black solidarity in Belgium – i.e., racially based collective action, which, in Belgium, translates in “building an African community” – through the logic of claims-making in the public sphere. The research focused on the identity practices and discourses that accompany these attempts; on the types of networks they are based upon; and on the influence of the political opportunities structure on them.
This led her to consider, among other things, the community-building processes in terms of “diaspora” and to bring into focus the global circulation and the Belgian reformulations of the Pan-African reference, which history dates back to the 19th century. Belgian reformulations of Pan-Africanism are inspired, among others, by its historical development in the U.S.A. Hence, she started developing a comparative perspective between these reformulations and the evolution of Pan-Africanism in the United States in terms of African-Americans’ cultural black nationalism, which unfolded in a context where racial identifications are institutionalized and openly mobilized in the public sphere.
This comparative perspective allows to shed light on the peculiarities of associational dynamics, interpretive processes and symbolic repertoires, according to the various social and historical contexts in which they are taking place.
Grégoire’s postdoctoral research aims at developing and refining this comparative perspective by studying “new African diasporas’” forms of collective action in the United States, namely, by going both beyond and inside African Americans’ organizational forms of black solidarity to explore the way recently settled sub-Saharan “black” African immigrants and their descendants connect with them (or not) and/or with other “black” immigrants’ associational initiatives.
This paper constitutes a first attempt to articulate the results of Grégoire's preliminary research in the US with those stemming from her Belgian research.
Nicole Grégoire is a Belgian-Congolese Social Scientist. She is currently based in Laboratoire d’Anthropologie des Mondes Contemporains, Université Libre de Bruxelles (Free University of Brussels) in Belgium. She holds a BA in Social Sciences, an MA in Anthropology and a Ph.D in Social and Political Sciences, all of them obtained at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. She defended a Ph.D. dissertation in February 2013 on African diasporas’ associational life and forms of collective action in Belgium. Alongside her research activities, from 2012 to 2014, she coordinated for several non-profit organizations SHARE, a project that fosters migrants’ political voice in Belgium. In 2014-2015, she was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow and a Belgian American Educational Foundation Honorary Fellow in Florida International University’s African & African Diaspora Studies Program in Miami, Florida, USA.
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