Diallo, Oda-Kange. “At the Margins of Institutional Whiteness:: Black Women in Danish Academia.” To Exist Is to Resist: Black Feminism in Europe, edited by Akwugo Emejulu and Francesca Sobande, 2019, pp. 219–28. ResearchGate, https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvg8p6cc.20.
This study builds on four months of ethnographic fieldwork among a culturally, ethnically,
linguistically and nationally diverse group of Black women in Copenhagen, in which the majority were born or grew up in Denmark, and a few moved there later in life. What they share are their ‘African’ looks and roots, as well as being cis-women, with either Danish citizenship or residence permit. During the time of the fieldwork they were all part of an academic institution (as students or faculty). The women were recruited via a Facebook post encouraging women of African descent who were interested
in discussing issues of race, gender and identity in Denmark to contact me. Through the four months of data collection I have had extensive conversations with the women over coffee, while hanging out at hair salons, during semi-structured interviews and focus groups, and during breaks between lectures and lab work in their respective university environments.
What I learned first and foremost is that because race and especially Blackness is an issue which is rarely discussed in Denmark, within and outside academia, the participants were relieved that they were finally able to voice their experiences in the company of other Black women. With a methodological starting point in Black Feminist Thought, and an analytical foundation in critical race theory, I will explore how these women’s experiences are shaped by hidden colonial processes which influence the fabric of their Blackness.
As a mixed-race Black woman and academic, myself, I am part of the studied group, and
continuously work to understand the intersections of race and gender within myself and among other Black women in Denmark.