The Arab Council for the Social Sciences, the Afro-Asian Futures Past Research Program (American University of Beirut), and the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (University of the Witwatersrand) are jointly organizing a five-day School entitled “Theorizing from the Global South: African and Arab Imaginaries and Circulations” to be held on October 21-25, 2019 at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
The school is aimed at African and Arab researchers interested in the idea of the Global South as well as the affinities between African and Arab imaginaries.
What does it mean to theorize from the Global South the historical and contemporary experience of the formerly colonized world? How can we begin to take intellectual traditions, concepts and social theories from these spaces seriously given the persistence of the hegemonic dichotomy of Global South as producer of particular culture and Global North as producer of universal theory? What kinds of knowledges would emerge if we were to instead bring the different historical, social and political experiences in the Global South to bear on south-south learning?
While the formerly colonized world saw a wave of decolonization following the Second World War that ended colonialism in the form of direct occupation and administration, the emerging world order reflected in many ways the continuing power of Europe and the newly emergent USA. This power is evidenced in, among other things, the ways in which hegemonic knowledge continues to be fundamentally predicated on the ideals of an allegedly universal Western modernity that the rest of the world must aspire to and mimic.
In this school, we will consider what it means to theorize from the Global South by bringing African and Arab intellectual traditions and genealogies of thought into conversation with each other. By drawing on these south-south transnational imaginaries and circulations as a starting point, the school looks at the connections between African and Arab worlds through shared histories, politics, intellection, aesthetics, migration and religion. Its purpose is to generate new ways of seeing and understanding the formerly colonized world and its contemporary realities by a new generation of scholars, and revive intellectual and political connections in the Global South today.
Program and Faculty
The school will be led by Syed Farid Alatas (National University of Singapore), Anaheed Al-Hardan (American University of Beirut), Mjiba Frehiwot (University of Ghana) and Dilip Menon (University of the Witwatersrand). It is based on presentations by lead faculty, discussion of readings that will be sent to participants in advance, and participants’ presentations.
Eligibility and Funding
This is a fully-funded competitive opportunity that will cover all of the participants’ travel, accommodation and meal expenses. Eligible applicants must be resident in Africa or Arab states, and must hold a Master’s degree in the social sciences or humanities at a minimum or be less than five years out of a PhD program at a maximum.
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