Skip to main content


Meet the Author: Ryan Thomas Skinner, Afro-Sweden



Join author Ryan Thomas Skinner in virtual conversation with Dr. Ethelene Whitmire (Professor and Department Chair of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison) as he discusses his book, Afro-Sweden: Becoming Black in a Color-Blind Country.

About the Book: 

Contemporary Sweden is a country with a worldwide progressive reputation, despite an undeniable tradition of racism within its borders. In the face of this contradiction of culture and history, Afro-Swedes have emerged as a vibrant demographic presence, from generations of diasporic movement, migration, and homemaking. In Afro-Sweden, Ryan Thomas Skinner uses oral histories, archival research, ethnography, and textual analysis to explore the history and culture of this diverse and growing Afro-European community.

Skinner employs the conceptual themes of “remembering” and “renaissance” to illuminate the history and culture of the Afro-Swedish community, drawing on the rich theoretical traditions of the African and Black diaspora. Remembering fosters a sustained meditation on Afro-Swedish social history, while Renaissance indexes a thriving Afro-Swedish public culture. Together, these concepts illuminate significant existential modes of Afro-Swedish being and becoming, invested in and contributing to the work of global Black studies.

The first scholarly monograph in English to focus specifically on the African and Black diaspora in Sweden, Afro-Sweden emphasizes the voices, experiences, practices, knowledge, and ideas of these communities. Its rigorously interdisciplinary approach to understanding diasporic communities is essential to contemporary conversations around such issues as the status and identity of racialized populations in Europe and the international impact of Black Lives Matter.

About the Author:

Ryan Thomas Skinner is associate professor of music and African American and African studies at the Ohio State University. He is author of Bamako Sounds: The Afropolitan Ethics of Malian Music (Minnesota, 2015).


  • Ethelene Whitmire

    Dr. Ethelene Whitmire

    Ethelene Whitmire is the Chair and a Professor in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.