Dialoguing ‘between the posts’
Post-socialist and post-/decolonial perspectives on domination, hierarchy and resistance in South-Eastern Europe
Event date: 22-23 September 2017
Location: Centre for Comparative Conflict Studies at the Faculty of Media and Communications, Belgrade, Serbia
Post-socialist and post-/decolonial theory designate distinct forms of critical inquiry into the prolonged effects of systemic domination. Yet while their concerns arguably intersect, a full-on dialogue “between the posts” is yet to take place. Much of the post-socialist critique from the left continues to zone in on the labour-capital conflict in the metropolitan centres, relegating other struggles and axes of domination (around race, ethnicity, religion, or gender) to a secondary or derivative status. In turn, as it foregrounds the ‘logic of coloniality’ as the underside of the ‘rhetoric of modernity’, de- and post-colonial theorizing often side-lines its mutual relationship with the reproduction of capitalism and anti-capitalist struggle. As a result, the anti-capitalist critique might be tempted to read the problematics of multiculturalism and internal colonialism as derailing strategies by capital, while the postcolonial theorist might overlook the deployment of an anti-Western/imperialist rhetoric in defence of increasingly authoritarian regimes. Thus, even though ‘thinking between the posts’ (Chari and Verdery 2009) has already produced a rich and growing literature in Southeastern Europe, a complex and politically relevant articulation of these two bodies of work still remains to be undertaken.
This workshop seeks to bridge this gap by extending the dialogue between postsocialist and post- and decolonial scholarship to discuss possible ways of analysing power, domination, and resistance in South-Eastern Europe. It aims to bring together academics, activists, and practitioners from this region and beyond in an effort to deconstruct imperial and Cold War hierarchies and to examine their contemporary manifestations. The conversation is intended to take stock of past and current debates and serve as a platform for identifying new avenues for action and research along the following lines:
- What patterns of hegemony, hierarchy and domination can be observed in (South-) Eastern European societies, and which empirical lenses and methodological approaches are well suited to uncover them? What are the potentials and limitations of under-explored methodologies such as ethnography, activist research, and others? How can we rethink the region and its connections and embeddedness through approaches such as global histories and connected sociologies?
- What are the implications of using analytical concepts like (self-) colonisation, coloniality of power, decolonising strategies, and others proposed in post- and decolonial scholarship? Do such framings overstate the imperial legacies and intellectual heritage of the region and under what conditions do they help to better understand the latter?
- What is the relation between analytical framings and the subjects and objects of analysis? Do intellectual debates on hierarchy and privilege in (South-) Eastern Europe mirror the polyphony of discourses circulating in this region, and what needs to be done to better accommodate the latter within the former?
- How can resistant practices and counter-hegemonic discourses be articulated under the contemporary (neo-) colonial and neoliberal condition? Can critical practices developed around the two ‘posts’ communicate across the conceptual and political gulf that separates them? What ‘work of translation’ needs to be done, for such a ‘dialoguing’ to become possible and desirable?
To kick-start and push the boundaries of this conversation we welcome contributions in a variety of forms, not only academic papers but also exploratory, collaborative, and creative pieces. We invite theoretically and empirically informed contributions across disciplines, based on, but not limited to, critical approaches analysing the role of material relations, ideology, and the production of subjectivity in a (post-) colonial context, as well as critical discussions of colonialism/coloniality, postcoloniality and decoloniality in a post-socialist one. We are particularly interested in contributions from social activists, practitioners, and journalists.
Please send your proposals with a presentation title, abstract (300 words max.) and author/presenter(s) short bio to firstname.lastname@example.org until Friday, 30th of June 2017. Please indicate your anticipated travel costs and the amount of support you would need to attend in case of being selected.
The event is funded by the British International Studies Association (Colonial/Postcolonial/Decolonial Working Group and South East Europe Working Group) and the Max Planck Research Group ‘Empires of Memory: The Cultural Politics of Historicity in Former Habsburg and Ottoman Cities’, and co-organized by New Left Perspectives and the Faculty of Media and Communications, Belgrade.
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