Global Black Lives Matter: An Online Symposium

First, how has BLM been in conversation with racial and ethnic justice movements outside of the US? BLM has developed into a global movement with transnational ties and influences and has been in dialogue with social movements and activism outside of the US. Still, the scholarship has yet to catch up with this development and has mainly focused on BLM in the US. We aim to address this gap by bringing to the fore the scholarly work on non-US movements that have responded to and resonated with BLM to address racial and ethnic injustice.

Second, how has the BLM been discussed in the global and transnational public spheres? What does it mean to even say “Black Lives Matter” outside the US, amid different categories and definitions of Blackness, race, racism, ethnicity, etc.? To what extent have international solidarities formed under the rhetorical rubric of BLM? BLM has become a global topic that shapes public awareness and understanding of racial injustice and other vital issues related to democracy and inequality. Discussions about BLM occur even in the least expected places, such as China. Such discussions also transcend the borders of nation-states and occur in transnational public spheres, with participants from various countries engaging in social media platforms.

Exploring these two questions – one about social movement and the other about the public sphere – can start a new agenda with a global perspective on social movements and public discourses centered on racial injustice. Systemic racism has never been a country-specific problem. Instead, since its inception, it has been an artifact of intersecting colonialisms, imperialisms, slave trades, international wars, and other exploitative global processes. Discussions about BLM function as a mirror and a lamp. As a mirror, they compel people to reflect on similar issues in many countries worldwide; as a lamp, they shed light on related topics such as democracy, oppression, and social inequality. We hope this conference can pave the way for a more self-conscious effort to examine these issues from a global perspective.

The AAS Secretariat will be closed on Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day