CFP: Ethics and Postcolonialism (UK) (9/30/05; 4/8/06-4/10/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Neelam Srivastava
contact email:

Conference on "Ethics and Postcolonialism", 8-10 April 2006 (one and a
half days)

University of Newcastle, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom

CALL FOR PAPERS (250-word abstracts to

Confirmed speakers:

1) Professor Gauri Viswanathan, Columbia University, NY
2) Dr Leela Gandhi, La Trobe University, Melbourne
3) Professor David Scott, Institute for Research in African
American Studies, Columbia University
4) Dr Heather Widdows, Centre for Global Ethics, University of

This conference attempts to explore and articulate some of the visible
intersections between ethics and postcolonialism. In this field, ethics
can be described as a "hidden term" underlying discussions around the
supposed "ruins" of a universal code of human rights and the unmasking
of processes of economic exploitation in the world today. This
conference is being organized in conjunction with _Interventions:
International Journal of Postcolonial Studies_.

Conceptual models of postcolonial engagement that center around Leela
Gandhi's hospitality or "xenophilia", Edward Said's secular criticism,
and Jacques Derrida's reconciliation, all can be said to stem in one way
or another from an implicit reliance on ethical premises. The aim of
this conference is to excavate such principles and to make them more
readily available for discussion and critique. Is it possible to
envisage an ethics that can make sense of differing value systems in the
different cultures touched by the process of globalization? On the one
hand, there is an increasingly widespread scepticism towards the
universal applicability of ethical concepts, which is counterbalanced by
the powerful emphasis of postcolonial theory on the ethics of engagement
and the necessity of intervention. Given these premises, it appears
particularly urgent to envisage a more contextualized form of ethics
that can nevertheless lay claim to a strategic validity in terms of
moral and political accountability. Numerous and urgent questions make a
discussion of the ethical approach in dealing with postcolonial issues
necessary: for example, is there an ethical aspect to violence in
contemporary postcolonial societies, indeed could violence be seen as an
ethical necessity in some cases? Or in terms of historical reparations
and reconciliations, can ethics always be seen as restorative or are
there significant failures in this vision?

Such questions demand a sustained scrutiny of the concepts of ethics,
human rights, and intervention, and will involve discussions of
conscientious activism in the inter-disciplinary overlaps between
politics, literature, cultural theory, sociology? and development. For
this reason, we plan to invite speakers across a range of academic

We welcome proposals on any of the following topics, or others which are
related to the theme of the conference:

* the ethics of intervention

* Communitarianism versus individualism

* Ethics and development

* locality and globality in contemporary ethics

* "xenophilia", or adopting a cause that is not your own

* ethics and the multicultural public sphere

* Secular versus religious ethics

* Ethics and gender

* De-coding human rights

* Truth and Reconciliation Commissions

* Violence and liberation struggles

* A history of ethics and colonialism/postcolonialism: similarities and
differences in conceptual approaches

Please send a 250-word abstract of your proposed paper by September 30,
2005, to Neelam Srivastava at the following email address:

We are planning to publish an edited volume or journal issue of the

For more information, please go to our website:

Neelam Srivastava and Gemma Robinson

School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

University of Newcastle

Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU

United Kingdom

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Received on Mon Aug 22 2005 - 10:51:43 EDT

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