Workshop: white innocence across Europe

Workshop with Gloria Wekker (Utrecht University) and Patricia Purtschert (University of Bern)

How do postcolonial ties shape our reservoir of knowledge on gender, race, class, and religion?

In her groundbreaking work White Innocence, Gloria Wekker examines the paradoxical ways in which Dutch society is simultaneously permeated by racist discourses and practices and negates its own colonial past, allowing it to remain in a state of “white innocence”. To what extent can this concept be applied to European societies more generally? For example, how does “white innocence” shape European policies of migration and development? How does it inform Switzerland‘s self-perception as “neutral country” and “colonial outsider”? How do post-colonial ties shape our reservoir of knowledge on gender, race, class, and religion? And what does this imply for our present disciplinary perspectives on societies and cultures, such as historiography, gender studies, anthropology, literature and cultural studies?

In this workshop, we will discuss these questions with Gloria Wekker, Emeritus Professor of Gender and Ethnicity at Utrecht University, and Patricia Purtschert, Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Bern, who has recently published Kolonialität und Geschlecht im 20. Jahrhundert. Eine Geschichte der weißen Schweiz—a seminal study on coloniality and gender in Switzerland.

All Master and PhD students as well as postdoctoral researchers are cordially invited. Selected texts will be circulated in preparation of the workshop.
Please register by August 19 via email to: zgw-dpethzch


19. August 2019, 10.00 – 12.00