Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EUROMIX (Regulating mixed intimacies in Europe)
Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-10-31
Through archival research, legal analysis and interviews with modern-day ‘mixed’ couples and families, we aim to understand what lawmakers, judges and bureaucrats believed ‘race’ was, what they believed ‘mixture’ was, how this was translated into legal practices, and how targeted couples responded.
The Euromix project’s aim is to contribute to the genealogy of racial thinking in Europe, especially in addressing the understudied role of law and legal scholarship in the social construction of ‘race’ and ‘mixture’ in an increasingly diverse Europe. Herewith, the project adds vital knowledge to contemporary debates about Europe’s past of colonialism and racism. Especially in times of increasing populism, and race-thinking returning to the public and political arena, it is vital that we take a close, and sometimes painful, look at race thinking in our own legal past and how it has influenced the laws, regulations and legal scholarship with which we work today. Especially as law is expected to play a major role in combatting discrimination and racism, it is highly relevant that we understand what law has done in the past and what it can do in the present. This has not only profound, real-life, material effects for in the lives of individuals, couples and families affected by these laws, as well as society as a whole.
The contemporary part explores whether and how, in spite of norms of formal equality and colour-blindness, ‘race’ and ‘monoracial family norms’ still play a part in European law and the lived experiences of ‘interracial’ couples with law in their everyday lives. The Postdoc project by Elena Zambelli consists of a multi-sited ethnography with interviews with ‘mixed couples in the Netherlands, Italy and the UK, exploring the implication of law in race-making in contemporary Europe through the lens of the regulation of ‘mixed (race) couples’. While looking at whether and how mixed couples experience forms of racial discrimination in different domains (housing, education, mobility, and safety), it is also explored how partners’ differently racialised subjectivities reflect or challenge the enduring legacy of Western colonialism and imperialism.
Project 6 by postdoc Guno Jones explores the understudied meanings and regulations of mixed intimacies in contemporary Europe and traces their genealogies. Using colonial constructions and regulations of 'mixed intimacies' as a point of departure, it will explore what external boundaries and internal frontiers are drawn in contemporary European regulations of intimacies. The project will explore how actors in post-World War II Europe have constructed meanings of mixed intimacies, how they have regulated these intimacies and how these constructions and regulations compare with those in earlier historical and colonial contexts. More specifically, it will analyse the role of European politicians, bureaucrats and judges in the context of post-WII European integration in these processes and how they compare with constructions and regulations during World War II, in overseas colonial territories and in times of substantial relocation of the formerly colonized to the European metropoles. Attention will also be given to how these constructions and regulations of mixed intimacies are connected with European citizenship and the construction of European identity.
The synthesizing project by the PI Betty de Hart aims to understand historically how legal scholarship has contributed to the meanings of ‘race’ and ‘mixture’ by writing biographies of legislators, judges, and legal scholars. Second, it addresses the issue of what modern approaches of critical race and critical mixed-race studies can contribute to our understanding of ‘race’ and ‘mixture’ in the law and legal scholarship.