The Graduate School of Social Sciences and Amsterdam United started in 2014 with a symposium on “Zwarte Piet”.
In recent years, the Dutch Sinterklaas festivities have become increasingly controversial because of the figure of Zwarte Piet. The heated national debate seems to have polarized the Dutch people into pro- and anti-Zwarte Piet camps. Common ground seems to be lost within the intensity of the debate. With the symposium in 2014 we aimed to facilitate dialogue and mutual understanding.
Academics like Mireille Fanon-Mendes France and artists like Sunny Bergman shared their thoughts from different perspectives, explored the tradition’s meanings and origins and reflected on the current debate.
The full line-up from 2014
Mireille Fanon-Mendes France (the speech is online here)
Sunny Bergman (The documentary “Zwart als Roet, our colonial hangover” (DUTCH) is online here)
We asked the audience with the help of the moderators Anousha Nzumé and Mark Schipper to ponder with us whether common ground can be regained and whether there are ways to improve and secure a heart-warming tradition that will be inclusive for everyone and will keep on moving generations for years to come.