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The Untold Story of African Europeans, with Olivette Otele and Kavita Puri

The history of Africans in Europe may seem recent, but historian Olivette Otele tells a very different story – a story of African presence in Europe that stretches back centuries

The history of Africans in Europe may seem recent – a result of migration in the 20th and 21st centuries – but in her new book, African Europeans, historian Olivette Otele tells a very different story – a story of African presence in Europe that stretches back centuries. 

Otele writes of African Europeans through the lives of individuals both ordinary and extraordinary. She has uncovered a forgotten past, one that features the Libya-born Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, a Medici duke believed to have been born to a free African woman and enslaved Africans living in Europe during the Renaissance. By exploring a history that has long been overlooked, she sheds light on questions very much alive today: What can movements like Black Lives Matter learn from the long history of Black activism in the UK and Europe? Why are Black Britons such as the Windrush generation often treated as if they aren’t full British citizens? And how can remembering the silenced narratives of our past help us understand the present and lead to a better future? 

On November 23, Otele will come to Intelligence Squared to reveal this untold story of European and African history. She will be in conversation with author and BBC Radio 4 presenter Kavita Puri.


Speakers

Speaker

Olivette Otele

The UK's first Black female professor of history


The UK's first Black female professor of history. She is Professor of the History of Slavery at Bristol University, Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society, and Chair of Bristol's Race Equality Commission. Her research centres around transnational history and, in particular, the link between history, collective memory and geopolitics in relation to British and French colonial pasts.
Chair

Kavita Puri

Journalist, broadcaster and author


Journalist, broadcaster and author. Her 2019 book, Partition Voices: Untold British Stories, is based on her award-winning BBC Radio 4 documentary series of the same name. She presents the Radio 4 series Three Pounds in My Pocket, a social history of South Asians in post-war Britain, and is a regular presenter of The Inquiry on the BBC World Service and Radio 4.