Friday, 28. October
City Museum of Ljubljana, 16.00 – 18.00

  • Amanda Keeling, human rights activist, UK
  • Kien Nghi Ha, Institute for Postcolonial and Transcultural Studies, Germany
  • Morten Ebbe J. Nielsen, Centre for the study of Equality & Multiculturalism, Denmark
  • Timea Junghaus, European Roma Cultural Foundation, Hungary

Moderator: Mirjana Mikić, Centre for Peace Studies, Croatia

Amanda Keeling is a PhD student in law at Nottingham University, UK. Her background is in philosophical and legal foundations of human rights, and after completing a Masters in Human Rights, she volunteered for several NGOs, including Centre for Peace Studies, Zagreb, Croatia. For the past two years, she worked at the University of Cambridge, UK, looking at the rights of adults with learning disabilities, and safeguards around deprivation of liberty. Her current interests are the human rights of adults who lack mental capacity, and the balance of protection and autonomy in this context. She has an interest in how human rights can be put into practice and in particular where human rights do not necessarily present simple solutions to difficult problems.

Universal Human Rights?

We all have human rights, yet those rights are rarely “absolute”; often, they are qualified and must be balanced against the rights of others. Because human rights themselves are normative standards, the balance of rights is most difficult where cultures meet and clash – does my right to free speech extend to incitement of hatred against a particular race or religion, and risk their right to personal security?

It seems obvious that it does not, and in most parts of British culture there are boundaries set and respect instilled for other cultures and that careful balance of rights. There is, however, one area where such discrimination still seems to be allowed, and it is a problem which plagues much of Europe – the rights of Travellers and Gypsies. With the eviction of one of Europe’s largest Traveller sites – Dale Farm in Essex – imminent at the time of writing this abstract, the rights of Travellers to preserve their culture, and the failure of the British Government to protect them as a group in the same way as others is under the microscope. This talk will look at the prejudicial attitudes which still remain in the British public, and the failure of “multiculturalism” to fully embrace the Travelling community in the same way as other minority ethnic groups.

Kien Nghi Ha, Fellow of the Institute for Postcolonial and Transcultural Studies (INPUTS) of the University of Bremen, Germany and curator, held a PhD in Cultural Studies and a Diploma in Political Sciences. Previously, he hold research positions at New York University, USA; University of Heidelberg and University of Tübingen, Germany. His research interests focus on postcolonial criticism, racism, migration and Asian Diasporic Studies. His book Unrein und vermischt. Postkoloniale Grenzgänge durch die Kulturgeschichte der Hybridität und der kolonialen ‘Rassenbastarde’ (transcript 2010) was awarded with the Augsburger Science Prize for Intercultural Studies 2011. He is also the author of other widely acknowledged books including Ethnizität und Migration Reloaded (1999/2004) and Hype um Hybridität (transcript 2005). He is also editor of Asiatische Deutsche. Vietnamesische Diaspora and Beyond (Assoziation A, Fall 2011) and Re/visionen. Postkoloniale Perspektiven von People of Color auf Rassismus, Kulturpolitik und Widerstand in Deutschland (Unrast, 2007).

The Powerful Culture of Dominance: Integration and its Colonial Logic

The recent legal and administrative intensification of enforced integration is the cause to join into a critical discussion of the debate. In view of a rising integration industry, there is a pressing need to question the powerful ideas and disciplinary practices associated with the euphemistic term “integration” from a post-colonial perspective. My analysis of the German integration politics and its discursive settings aims to comprehend how this pedagogical practice functions as an ideological project of nationalization and cultural homogenization. As a repressive form of integration it enables a full range of disciplinary sanctions, which are targeting specifically at People of Colour and post-colonial immigrants with Muslim backgrounds, while echoing colonial world views and hierarchies.

Integration as a mass-effective sovereign act of political control, cultural surveillance and legal certification raises a host of questions, examining both the politics of identity and the post-/colonial power relations articulated by the selective policies of migration and integration. Such asymmetric structures need to be analysed as to their effects. This will enable us to look for possible connections between immigration, integration and the nation state within the context of its historical development and post-/colonial embedding.

My contribution seeks to analyse the analogies between integration politics and colonial strategies of civilising and proselytization, which also defined the colonial Other as inferior and in need of Western enlightenment and education. In the colonial perspective, the societal existence of People of Colour and their becoming subjects are dependent on the degree to which the dominant power succeeds with its pedagogical, political and cultural re-socialisation.

Morten Ebbe Juul Nielsen is an Assistant Professor at Centre for the Study of Equality and Multiculturalism/Philosophy at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His recent publications include: ‘A Conflict between Representation and Neutrality’, Philosophical Papers 39 (4) 2010; ‘Safe, Sane, and Consensual – Consent and the Ethics of BDSM’, International Journal of Applied Ethics 24 (2) 2010; ‘Republicanism as a Paradigm for Public Health – Some Comments’, Public Health Ethics 2011 (in press); The Good, the Right and the Fair – an introduction to ethics, e-book; ‘For the Sake of Argument. Do Deliberative Values Mandate Restriction of Freedom of Speech?’, SATS – Northern European Journal of Philosophy (in press); ‘Multicultural Multilegalism – definition and challenges’, Les ateliers de l’éthique (in press).

Multicultural Multilegalism

Multilegalism is a species of legal pluralism denoting the existence of quasi-autonomous “minority jurisdictions” for at least some legal matters within a “normal” state jurisdiction. Multiculturalism in the advocatory sense might provide the justification for establishing such minority jurisdictions.

This paper aims to provide 1) a detailed idea about what such a multicultural multilegal arrangement would amount to and how it differs from certain related concepts and legal frameworks, 2) in what sense some standard multicultural arguments could provide a starting point for seriously considering multicultural multilegalism in practice, 3) how the idea fares against some standard liberal criticisms, and finally 4), to point out three salient problems for multilegalism, concerning a) choice of law problems, b) a dilemma facing us as to whether state supremacy should be upheld or not, and c) clashes with basic human rights.

Tímea Junghaus is an art historian and contemporary art curator of Romani origin. She is author and co-editor of the comprehensive publication on European Roma visual art Meet Your Neighbours – Contemporary Roma Art from Europe (2006). She was the curator of the First Roma Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Contemporary Art Biennale. She is currently concluding her PhD studies in Film Media and Cultural Theory at the “Eötvös Lóránd” University of Human Sciences, Hungary. Since 2010 she is employed as a researcher of the Institute for Art History at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Junghaus received the “Kairos-European Cultural Prize” in 2007, and since then she is the founding director of the European Roma Cultural Foundation ( a Budapest-based independent NGO.

Europeans “Blacks”

“Every day is a shame.”1 Since 2008, 6 Roma people was shot dead in Hungary, including a five year old boy, 5 Roma victims were severely injured, including an eleven year old girl.  There have been 78 shots fired and 11 bombs thrown at Roma people in the past three years. Armed forces, keep the Hungarian Roma residents in terror with their provocations, which they humiliatingly call “the walks”. Meanwhile the Hungarian Prime Minister announced in a simple Facebook message that he believes that the minimum age of criminal prosecution or punishment should be 12 years. Then came the new regulation which decreased the general compulsory education to only 15 years of age. Everybody knows that these new legal regulations will impact primarily the Roma children and youth. Instead of social integration criminalized disintegration became the government’s program.

In the past few years, new and important results emerged in research, theoretical analyses and artistic practice in the Central European Roma cultural and theoretical scene. The art historical analyses of the Image of the Roma in Western Art, has proved that, in the Central European panoptic regime of modernity Roma became the pendants of  Western Europe’s African and Asian “primitives”.2 Examining the archeology of these images, we can demonstrate how Central European societies created their own “black”, through “wild” groups and individuals and through their own local or distant colonies. We may also see how the Roma body is sexualized and feminized -similarly to the “black body” -in European modernity. Roma intellectuals concluded that without applying the post-colonial theoretical framework to describe the situation of European Roma, what we conserve is the “Gypsy problem” – the discourse, which tends to construct the problems that Roma experience (unemployment, poverty, and other manifestations of social exclusion) as essentialized by-products of the Gypsies’ own culture (e.g. Roma are inherently “socially inadaptable” and intellectually deficient). Situating Roma in the domain of the postcolonial, challenges this characterization by identifying the European institutional and individual racism and discrimination as being at the root of the problems Roma face.3

Young Roma artists and intellectuals are building creative social and artistic networks, they make conscious media and public appearances, they are creating interactive and community projects by using the means offered by computer and mobile-technology and online solutions to achieve the highest possible IMPACT. Roma media art and activism appears to be an effective alternative. It eases the lack of a tangible apparatus and offers more visibility, effective dissemination and multiplication of Roma ideas, art and creativity. It is also a fairly new solution for fighting the tradition of Roma representation in the traditional monolithic fashion.4 Is art able to stop the conspiratorial silence?

1 P. GYÖRGY: Apátia és operett: A többes szám első személy, Élet és Irodalom, LV. évfolyam 13. szám, 2011. április 1.
2 É. KOVÁCS: Fekete testek, fehér testek, Beszélő,14.évfolyam I. szám, 2009. január.
3 A.KÓCZÉ , N.TREHAN: “Postcolonial racism and social justice: the struggle for the soul of the Romani civil rights movement in the ‘New Europe’ in Racism, Post-colonialism, Europe, G. Huggan, ed., Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2009, 50 – 77.o.
4 S. PÉLI: New Media In Our Hands/Roma New Media Artists from Central-Europe, exhibition, Budapest, Kunsthalle, 2011. April 8-30. Introduction to the