EUROMIX: Regulating Mixed Intimacies in Europe

Professor Betty de Hart is the recipient of a 2016 European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant to establish an independent research team for her research project entitled EUROMIX: Regulating Mixed Intimacies in Europe. This project is a study of the regulation of ‘mixture’ (‘interracial’ sex, relationships and marriage) in Europe’s past and present. It challenges the common assumption that Europe never had ‘anti-miscegenation’ laws comparable to those in the United States. It explores if, when, how and why forms of regulation aiming to prevent or restrict ‘interracial mixture’ developed in Europe. The historical part of this project looks at the regulation of ‘mixture’ in France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, in their colonies, and wartime Europe.  This historical research is conducted by Betty de Hart on the Netherlands and three PhD researchersRébecca Franco – France, Andrea Tarchi – Italy, and Nawal Mustafa – the United Kingdom.

The contemporary part of EUROMIX inquiry explores whether and how, in spite of norms of formal equality and colour-blindness, race and monoracial family norms still play a part in European law and the everyday lives of ‘interracial couples. The project’s approach helps understand what lawmakers and enforcers believed ‘race’ is, what they believe ‘mixture’ is, how this is translated into legal practices, and how targeted couples respond. The project contributes to the genealogy of racial thinking in Europe, especially in addressing the understudied role of law and legal scholarship in the social construction of ‘race’ and ‘mixture’ in an increasingly diverse Europe. This contemporary inquiry is conducted by two post-doctoral researchers: Guno Jones researching  ‘mixed intimacies’ in European law, and Elena Zambelli researching law in the everyday lives of ‘mixed’ families.”