Drawing on long-standing, dynamic practices of scholarship, art, and activism, this introduction recognizes African European studies as a vibrant site of engagement, generated by and responding to an array of historical and contemporary configurations interrelating Africa and Europe. In particular, it positions the field’s critical diversifying, anti-racist impetus in relation to a critique of what the editors call Europe’s “politics of contingent belonging”. This politics has governed European publics and policies for the longest time. Boosted by racist–nationalist populisms, today it engenders and naturalises normative whiteness while subjecting people of colour to a conditional belonging that is strategically granted and revoked in accordance with white Europe’s self-interests. Under certain conditions, and when strategically employed for subversive self-positioning, contingent belonging can also exert a contestatory potential. It can reject supposedly benevolent forms of belonging, thereby drawing attention to the inherent instability and uncanniness of the racist compartmentalisation and hierarchisation that resides at the core of European white supremacist self-definition. Analysis and critique of these structures have been, and continue to be, central concerns for African European studies and the work collected in this book.