Dr. Kilomba led the workshop, “Psychological Conflicts Affecting Black Communities, Especially Women and Children” at the 1st Black European Women’s Congress in Vienna. Dr. Kilomba hails from the São Tomé and Príncipe and Angolan diaspora. She was born in Lisbon where she studied clinical psychology and psychoanalysis. She is currently lecturing Race, Gender and Colonialism in Gender Studies at the Humboldt University Berlin, and at the Free University also in Berlin. She works as an author and as a psychologist with war survivors and women in the African Diaspora. Her research interests include African Diaspora studies, Colonial trauma, racism, gendered racism, film and psychoanalysis.
Her publications include Plantation Memories, and Mythen, Masken und Subjekte: Kritische Weißseinsforschung in Deutschland.
Dr. Grada Kilomba analyses hierachies of race and gender with respect to the privileging of authority, scholarship and knowledge production.
Academia is not a neutral location, she says. This is a white space where Black people have been denied the privilege to speak… It is not that we have not been speaking; but rather that our voices – through a system of racism – have been systematically disqualified as valid knowledge; or else represented by whites, who ironically become the ‘experts’ of ourselves. Either way, we are locked in a violent colonial hierarchy.
Derived from her experiences of working in Germany, her comments are widely applicable to debates about academia, identity, power, the centre and the periphery. Read more here.