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Call for Participation: Seasonal School on Racism and Discrimination (Call Extended- Deadline, July 31)

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Timing                   20-24 September, 9.30 until 17.30/18.00

Location              Ghent University, Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences

Price                     Participation to the seasonal school is free. Meals, transport and accomodation are not included.


The seasonal school will focus on the topic of “Contemporary forms of racism and discrimination”.  Both overt and more subtle expressions of racism and discrimination are prevalent in our societies. An important challenge for scholars is to conceptualize and measure their manifestations - particularly the more diffuse and systemic contemporary forms –as well as their consequences, at both individual and societal levels.

In addressing this challenge, creative approaches are needed to move beyond asking the same old questions in the same old ways. These innovative approaches should also strive to have a pragmatic component and contribute in a relevant way to tackle racist and discriminatory processes. To achieve these goals, scholars of racism and discrimination must cross disciplinary boundaries and professional settings in search of fresh inspiration and guidance.

Studies document persistent racism and discrimination across a variety of settings (e.g. schools, labour markets, housing, health service, police and justice), reproduced through individual implicit and explicit attitudes and beliefs, interpersonal interactions and through systemic and institutional processes and policies. Given the multiplexity of settings and levels of analysis involved, racism and discrimination are studied by an increasing range of disciplines and fields. Although some decry the conceptual broadening and fuzziness that this pluralism entails, this could be turned into an advantage, provided that sufficient exchange and dialogue is happening across disciplinary boundaries.

This seasonal school will thus be an interdisciplinary and pluralistic forum bringing together scholars from a wide range of disciplines, as well as practitioners, social activists and artists tackling racism and discrimination in their day-to-day work. This interchange across disciplines and work settings should help early stage researchers in developing creative, innovative and nuanced approaches to the study of racism and discrimination, and make sense of seemingly contradictory themes and trends. The pluralism of perspectives and exchanges beyond academia should also make them sensitive to enhancing the societal outreach of their research.

This seasonal school will offer a unique and scientifically high standard learning and networking opportunity for early stage researchers. Existing events on racism and discrimination are often guided by one school of thought, or located in one domain. The seasonal school we plan provides a rare opportunity for dialogue and knowledge sharing across disciplinary boundaries. Furthermore, it puts the new generation of Flemish researchers in contact with top international academics as well as local experts doing cutting-edge work on these topics.


The seasonal school will cover both theoretical and empirical approaches to racism and discrimination alongside discussing initiatives aimed at tackling these issues:

  • Particular attention will be paid to advances brought by different disciplines in the conceptualization of racism and discrimination, including reflections on the extent to which the two phenomena are distinct, and how they relate to each other
  • Discussions will also provide a historical overview of how their manifestations may have transformed along the last century, and explore links to decoloniality.
  • Furthermore, we will examine how racism and discrimination play out across a variety of social spheres and settings, such as schools, labour markets, housing, healthcare, criminal justice, through more empirically focused presentations.
  • Finally, responses to and strategies for combating various forms of discrimination and stigmatization will also be discussed, from the viewpoint of the racialized and ethnicized groups as well as other social actors (e.g. activists).

Teachers and modes of teaching

  • Lectures by international and in-house experts

    • confirmed international experts include

      • Patrick Simon (Demography, Senior Researcher, Institut National d’Etudes Démographiques, France)
      • Victoria Esses (Psychology professor, University of Western Ontario, Canada)
      • Gurminder Bhambra (International Relations professor, Sussex University, UK)
      • Didier Ruedin (Senior Researcher in Migration and Population Studies, Université Neuchatel, Switzerland)
      • Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (Professor of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Norway)
      • Kalwant Bhopal (Professor in Education, University of Birmingham, UK)
      • Matthew Clair (Sociology and Law Professor, Stanford University, USA)
      • Michèle Lamont (Sociology Professor, Harvard University, USA)
    • confirmed in-house experts include Sorana Toma (UGent), Pieter-Paul Verhaeghe (VUB), Nikolett Szelei (UGent), Eva Derous (UGent), Olga Petintseva (UGent), Ines Saudelli (VUB), Serena D’Agostino (VUB), Elisabeth Bekers (VUB), Kristin Henrard (VUB), Bambi Ceuppens (VUB fellow and scientific coordinator Africa Museum Tervuren)
  • Interactive panel discussion with the above mentioned lecturers
  • Participatory workshops
  • PhD student presentations of their research, with feedback from the present experts and peers

If the public health situation will allow it, we plan for a hybrid format: PhD participants and (some of) the in-house speakers physically present, and (most) international keynote speakers online.

Evaluation criteria

Attendance and active participation

How to apply

Send an e-mail to indicating

  • Your name
  • University/universities you are affiliated to
  • Department and or research group you are affiliated to
  • Year of Phd (e.g. year two out of four/six foreseen years)
  • Title of the PhD
  • Max. 300 words in English outlining your motivation to enrol in this course and its relevance for your work

If the number of participants greatly exceeds the number of available places, we give preference to those with a clear motivation and relevance statement and we will strive for an equal number of participants from each of the participation partner universities. The application deadline is July 31. You will be informed by August 9th.


At Ghent University, contact Floor Verhaeghe, CESSMIR coordinator:

At VUB, contact Hannah Vermaut, BIRMM coordinator:

At Antwerp University, contact Lore Van Praag, CEMIS director: