EASA statement in response to the recent conference organized by the ‘Research Centre Global Islam’ headed by Prof. Dr. Susanne Schröter at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany

The European Association of Social Anthropologists is the voice of a critical and open anthropology that upholds fundamental values such as commitment to diversity, scientific rigor, anti-racism, and non-discrimination. Anthropologists work to provide detailed insights on how societies and structures of power within them function, aiming to promote informed approaches on how to live together. As Ruth Benedict once said, ‘The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences’. In the light of recent events in Germany, it is crucial to alert the anthropological community of instances where these values are not upheld in the name of our discipline, and to take a firm stance against such events and the legitimation of racist views in the name of anthropological knowledge.

The conference ‘Steering migration, shaping plurality’ (Migration steuern, Pluralität gestalten) which took place at Goethe University Frankfurt on 28 April 2023, organized by the head of the ‘Frankfurt Research Center on Global Islam’, German ethnologist Prof. Dr. Susanne Schröter, has provoked widespread condemnation by the academic community and media in Germany. In the run-up to the event, which took place on the campus of Goethe University, there were critical voices among students and academics in Frankfurt, commenting on the list of participants, some of whom were known to represent right-wing and tendential positions. Some have also questioned the academic rigor and credibility of the Research Center in light of its lack of peer-reviewed publications and its history of platforming far-right political views, such as during a notorious 2019 conference on headscarves. Therefore, a student conference was organized to represent other perspectives on the topic of migration and students protested outside the building where the conference of the Research Center took place. In the course of the conference organized by the Frankfurt Research Center on Global Islam, Boris Palmer, a German politician and conference participant, used racist, discriminatory and holocaust-relativizing language against people protesting the event.

In support of critical statements by the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Goethe University, the Presidium of Goethe University and the German Anthropological Association (DGSKA), EASA strongly condemns racist and discriminatory agendas. As a European academic community of social and cultural anthropologists, we stand united against racist and discriminatory positions in our discipline and caution academic institutions against offering a platform to such dangerous views.