Workshop: Black Lives Matter and Antiracist Mobilizations in Europe - one Year after the Death of George Floyd

The workshop is co-hosted by CoMMonS Research Centre, Sociology, University of Copenhagen; COSMOS Research Centre, Florence; DeZIM-Institute Berlin; Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw.

Invited Speakers

Dr. Jean Beaman, Associate Professor,
Department of Political Sciences, University of Santa Barbara

Dr. Cihan Sinanoglu,
Head of the German National Monitoring on Discrimination- and Racism (NaDiRa)

About the workshop

Almost one year ago, on May 25th 2020, the violent death of George Floyd during a police arrest in Minneapolis has sparked mass mobilizations in the U.S. and led to an unprecedented diffusion of “Black Lives Matter” protests in Europe and around the world. Floyd’s death served as a catalyst for civil society actors to protest against police violence and different forms of racism more broadly.This wave of mobilization strengthened, extended and transformed pre-existing antiracist activism and mobilized new actors. The protests were organized under the challenging conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent restrictions on public life to flatten the curve of infections.

This workshop focuses on Black Lives Matter and antiracist mobilizations in Europe in order to complement the rich academic and public debate on the issue. The workshop brings together researchers and activists from different countries and disciplines to discuss dynamics, transformations and effects of Black and People of Colour (PoC) activism and its link to antiracist struggles with a particular focus on mobilizations in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in May 2020.

Call for papers

We are particularly interested in papers and contributions addressing the following themes questions:

  • Transformation of antiracist mobilizations in Europe, comparative, transnational perspectives:
    Antiracist struggles have a long tradition – not only in the US, but also in Europe – to varying degrees in different countries. Yet, the violent death of George Floyd has also transformed antiracist movements with regard to forms of action, networks, and frames of collective action. Which alliances and which new conflicts emerged between mobilizing actors? How did activists in different regions localize and translate the message of their movements? How did the mobilization interact with national cultures of protest and domestic debates, including issues such as post-colonialism, anti-fascism, protest against police brutality or solidarity with ethnic and racialized minorities? How did the mobilizations affect other progressive movements and which counter-mobilizations did it trigger? Which role do transnational networks and the perception of the US play in different countries? Which narratives of antiracist protests spread in the national public discourses and were translated into political actions at the level of the city, the region, the state or the European Union? 

  • Protesting in times of COVID-19 pandemic
    The protest wave in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death unfolded in a context of unprecedented restrictions on public life. The COVID-19 pandemic with its lockdowns, social distancing rules and a focused media attention entailed multiple challenges for protest. However, the pandemic also served as a prism and increased the visibility of pre-existing patterns of inequality and social exclusion. In both the US and Europe, several studies document that the pandemic has disproportionately hit racialized and ethnic minorities, strengthening activists’ arguments on systemic, structural-institutional racism in the criminal justice and health systems. How did the pandemic-related policies and regulations in European countries affect the mobilization? (How) did activists relate their framing of BLM and antiracism to the pandemic?

  • Outcomes and consequences of the mobilization: 
    Mobilization can impact politics and society in many ways. One of the key effects of the recent wave of antiracist mobilizations seems to be a change in the broader discourse on racism as an individual misbehavior towards understanding racism as a structural-institutional problem, re-producing racial disparities and inequalities. How did the mobilization change dominant narratives in different contexts? Which narratives of antiracist protests spread in the national public discourses and were translated into political actions at the level of the city, the region, the state or the European Union? To what extent did activists impact the cultural representations of groups, ethnic and racialized minorities, in new media, social platforms or other public and private institutions (e.g. business, politics, academia)? 


If you want to participate in the workshop as a listener, please email to

If you want to present a research paper or share activist reflections and perspectives on one of the topics described above, please submit an abstract of 1 page by May 20 to We are also interested in visual or other (digital) creative material we can discuss at the workshop. Papers presented at the workshop will be considered for a joint publication in the form of a special issue or edited volume to be published in 2022. We expect all authors to submit a paper before the workshop on May 28 to improve the quality of our discussions.

We are looking forward to meeting you on June 11!

Nicole Doerr, UCPH Sociology & CoMMonS, Copenhagen
Sabrina Zajak, DeZIM Institute, Berlin
Piotr Kocyba, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
Anna Lavizzari, SNS, COSMOS, Florence