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CGSC Spring Program: “The Contemporaneity of Postcolonial Thinking?”

Final Spring Event Poster CGSC

We launched the semester with a lively seminar discussion of Partha Chatterjee’s essay “After Subaltern Studies” and a public roundtable discussion of Ann Laura Stoler’s edited volume Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination, both of which I will discuss in a separate post. But first, here is the schedule of our upcoming events.

CGSC Spring Program: “The Contemporaneity of Postcolonial Thinking?”

By Gary Wilder
Director, Committee on Globalization and Social Change

During Paul Gilroy’s catalyzing visit the Graduate Center last semester, I was struck by how his intervention in The Black Atlantic twenty years ago continues to speak directly to so many current intellectual and political challenges. Following in the wake of those discussions, the CGSC spring program will focus on “The Contemporaneity of Postcolonial Thinking.” For more than a generation, colonial studies and postcolonial theory have had a catalyzing and transformative effect on the human sciences (at least in the United States). But given recent worldly and scholarly shifts, it is now useful to reflect on the relation between the concepts and frameworks developed within those currents of thinking and the critical challenges of our political present. What is the relation to the analytic work that postcolonial thinking has been able to do and the task of grasping the contemporary political situation, contesting persistent forms global inequality, and envisioning emancipatory futures on translocal scales? How do existing currents of thought associated with colonial studies or postcolonial theory enable or obstruct efforts to link past and present critically and productively? How might these intellectual resources help to us orient ourselves now? Conversely, how might new or emerging conditions require different questions, starting points, or aims?

We launched the semester with a lively seminar discussion of Partha Chatterjee’s essay “After Subaltern Studies” and a public roundtable discussion of Ann Laura Stoler’s edited volume Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination, both of which I will discuss in a separate post. But first, here is the schedule of our upcoming events. These include a dialogue on recent mass protests in Turkey, an exciting book launch for our colleague and collaborator Tony Alessandrini, who invites us to consider Fanon’s legacy in relation to recent political mobilizations in and beyond the Middle East, and a discussion of the (controversial) work in and on the Congo by Dutch artist Renzo Martens.  In April the CGSC will host two one-day symposia that directly address the theme. “Critical Horizons: Beyond Marxism vs. Postcolonialism” will include presentations by scholars who are working, in different ways, at the intersection of critical geography, postcolonial criticism, and Marxian critique. Discussions of their work will be followed by a roundtable on the present state and future prospects of postcolonial thinking, beyond the false alternatives offered by the Marxism versus postcolonialism discourse now circulating. “Globalizing Critical Theory” will include presentations from scholars forging new paths in intellectual history, philosophy, and critical social theory that build upon but also point beyond the task of “provincializing Europe” with regard to attempts to think the world from anticolonial and non-Eurocentric perspectives.

Here is the program.

Spring Event Poster CGSC

Please come and join the conversation!