The introduction examines the category ‘Afropean’ and questions the concept's pertinence and usefulness in improving our understanding of the complex ways in which minority communities conceive of identity in Europe today and address the range of issues impacting them. Coined by the musician David Byrne, the term ‘Afropea’ describes the synthesis of African and European musical traditions and is often applied to the recordings of hip-hop and neo-soul musicians. As for the term ‘Afropean’, it first appears in the 2008 short story collection Afropean Soul et autres nouvelles [Afropean Soul and Other Stories] by the writer Léonora Miano. Miano's suggestion that Afropeanness moves beyond national identity towards an unfixed, heterogeneous concept of identity is reflected in the term's blending of the multinational spaces of Africa and Europe. As the contributions to this volume reveal, demarcating the Afro-European space proves challenging given that ‘Europe’ itself is proving increasingly difficult to define in geographical and political terms and that Afro-European populations themselves are far from being homogenous. The concept is thus problematized and theorized, offering in the process new perspectives on existing research in Diaspora, race, and ethnic studies.
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