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"At Least We Don't Do That Here." How Europe (Mis)Understands Black America

A Free Public Lecture to mark the opening of the BSA's 70th Anniversary Annual Conference

12 April 2021 (6-7pm GMT)

About the Event

Gary Younge’s plenary will now be given as a FREE PUBLIC LECTURE.

His lecture is to mark the beginning of the 70th anniversary conference and we’re making it a public lecture as part of our public engagement strategy and to meet our charitable objective of advancing public education.

We’re excited to hear Gary speak and expect you are too.


Britain's views on Black America are informed by a range of contradictory tendencies: amnesia about its own colonial past, ambivalence about its racial present, a tradition of anti-racism and international solidarity and an often fraught geo-political relationship with the United States itself. From the vantage point of a post-colonial nation that both resents and covets American power, and is in little position to do anything about it, African Americans represent to many in Europe a redemptive force – living proof that that US is both not all that it claims to be and could be so much greater than it is. This sense of superiority is made possible, in no small part, by a woefully, wilfully incomplete and toxically nostalgic of our own colonial history which has left significant room for denial, distortion, ignorance and sophistry. The result, in the post-war era, has been moments of solidarity often impaired by exocitisation or infantilisation in which Britain has found it easier to export anti-racism across the Atlantic than to practice it at home or export it across the Channel, the Mediterranean and beyond.


Gary Younge is an award-winning author, broadcaster and a professor of sociology at the University of Manchester in England. Formerly a US-based columnist and editor-at-large at The Guardian, he is an editorial board member of the Nation magazine, the Alfred Knobler Fellow for Type Media and an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy. He has written five books: the most recent, Another Day in the Death of America, A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives, won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize from Columbia Journalism School and Nieman Foundation. He has also written for The New York Review of Books. Granta, GQ, The Financial Times and The New Statesman and made several radio and television documentaries on subjects ranging from gay marriage in Kentucky to east Europeans and Brexit. He studied French and Russian at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh and Newspaper Journalism at City University in London. After 12 years reporting from America for the Guardian, he moved back to London in 2015.


This public lecture is free of charge, however, registration is required.  Places are limited and we do recommend booking at your earliest convenience to avoid disappointment.