A Black Lives Matter protest

The Black Fantastic in International Relations

This article was written by Lester Spence
This article was published on

In this short summary video, author Lester Spence goes through the key arguments from his new Review of International Studies (RIS) article - The Black Fantastic in International Relations.

Want to know more? You can read the full article at DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210523000323

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In 2016, British investigative journalist Simon Rogers created a map/timeline of Twitter hashtags associated with Black Lives Matter. The map (which no longer exists) indirectly shows both the intensity of Black Lives Matter protests and their geographic scope. Within the United States, we see not only protest activity in metropolitan areas with large black population percentages, but also protest activity in metropolitan areas with few (if any) African Americans. Further, we see protests not just in the United States but throughout the world. The 2020 George Floyd murder arguably spurred more protests against police violence within the United States and around the world than any other moment. We understand these protests as part of a broader decolonial project that seeks to eradicate racialised violence. How does this project develop? In examining Black Lives Matter as a movement, most have either focused on domestic activity within the United States or on instances of international activity, but few have attempted to theorise its spread. I suggest that any approach that focuses solely or primarily on technological advances or on the work of activists misses an essential and under-examined element – US Black popular culture.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash