Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


The love of strangers: "mixed marriage", family and migration in Senegal

06 February 2024, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

The UCL Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialisation is pleased to welcome Dr Helene Neveu-Kringelbach (UCL) to give this colloquium.

Event Information

Open to



The UCL Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialisation – The Sarah Parker Remond Centre


Common Ground, G11
Gower Street, South Wing
United Kingdom


In the Senegambian region, the history of intimate relationships and marriage with Europeans goes back to the 17th century and the early days of the Transatlantic slave trade, when European men sent to the region as traders often developed relationships with African women. ‘Customary marriage,’ as the practice was called, fostered the emergence of creole communities in coastal trading posts like Saint-Louis, Rufisque, and the Gorée Island. From the mid-19th century onwards, with formal colonisation, such relationships became the object of considerable European anxiety as they were seen to undermine the racial hierarchies on which colonial societies were founded (Saada 2007, Ray 2015, Jean-Baptiste 2023). When French-educated Senegalese and other West African men, or ‘évolués’, started traveling to France in growing numbers in the first half of the 20th century, marriage to European women became a mark of status for many of them. On the French side however, such unions were seen as embodying the breakdown of the colonial racial order.

In this project, I have been looking at binational marriage, or ‘mixed’ marriage, between Senegal and Europe. This presentation is a work-in-progress in which I draw from multi-sited fieldwork carried out over the past 10 years. I argue that the ways in which Senegalese families deal with mixed marriage between Senegal and Europe today is highly gendered, and that this gendering has to do with the memory of interracial intimacy during the transatlantic slave trade, and later the colonial period.

This event is part of the SPRC Colloquium series 2024

About the Speaker

Dr Helene Neveu-Kringelbach

Associate Professor at SELCS-CMII, UCL

Helene Neveu
Hélène Neveu Kringelbach’s research focuses on Francophone West Africa, and particularly Senegal. Her research has developed into two main strands: 1. Performance in Francophone West Africa and in migration contexts 2. Transnational families and marriage migration between Senegal and Europe.



More about Dr Helene Neveu-Kringelbach