Exploring Intersectionality with Oda-Kange Diallo-Midtvage #FoodForThought

On Thursday, the 14th of March, we had the amazing opportunity to meet and share our stories on the occasion of another Food for Thought, organized by Crossing Borders and Union in Nørrebro. FFT provides a pleasant and safe environment to learn from and be inspired by each other’s life experiences through storytelling, followed by a delightful community dinner prepared by Send More Spices.

This time, the invited speaker was Oda-Kange Diallo-Midtvage, a Black Norwegian researcher, recent PhD graduate in Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, and passionate black feminist. During the conversation, facilitated by Nyeleti Sue-Angel Nkuna, Oda-Kange shared memories of her upbringing in Denmark (born in Oslo, then moved to Denmark), where her father, Garba Diallo (director of Crossing Borders), got a job at International People’s College. In Elsinore, she and her brother learned to be part of a community with an international orientation and within a home where four languages were spoken. She also learned there not to assume but to get to know people, as she said. Admittedly, this approach became a foundation stone of her future academic career.

Oda-Kange initially studied Anthropology but soon realized that she didn’t want to do “anthropology at home” (namely being a native working in their own society) but wanted to do research instead. She works based on black feminist ethics, thus trying to show collective care and transparency in conversations rather than just interviewing people. Relationships and deeply shared things are a method for her work. Because of the Covid crisis, Oda-Kange moreover realized that she needed others, so there were finally co-writers for her doctoral thesis on knowledge creation and black feminist critique. She questioned the (colonial and/or racist) archives/history, so she chose writing letters as “counter-archiving”, as four Afro-Nordic feminists wrote to each other in the form of letters. Also, for her, black feminism goes together with radical thinking, where it also comes from.

Currently working at the University of Copenhagen, Oda-Kange shared that she is still concerned about why it is still so hard to do research as a black feminist within Danish academia, whose institutional whiteness she stresses. She wants to do intersectional work, transcending boundaries and/or capitalism and ensuring that no one is left behind in the fight for equality and justice. She is interested in Blackness in the Nordics and racialized identities rather than a color-blind approach that is held in Scandinavian educational systems. Thus, her research focuses on black and African diasporic knowledge production in the Nordics. As a member of the Afro-Nordic feminisms, she believes in the radical potentials of black studies in the Nordic context.

As the night came to a close, enriched by inspiring conversations and deeper personal connections forged over dinner, we bid farewell, grateful for the moments shared.

Written By: Angeliki Alexopoulou

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