UPDATE: Racism, Postcolonialism, Europe (UK) (3/3/06; 5/15/06-5/17/06)

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Racism, Postcolonialism, Europe

International Cross-Disciplinary Conference
May 15-17 2006
Leeds Business School (University of Leeds)

Conference Convenors:
Graham Huggan (School of English/ Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial
Studies, Leeds)
Ian Law (School of Sociology, Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies, Leeds)

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Tariq Ali (Editor, New Left Review), Philomena Essed (Antioch University),
Colleen Harris (Commission for Racial Equality), Griselda Pollock (CentreCATH,
Leeds), Michel Wieviorka (EHESS, Paris), John Wrench (EUMC, Vienna)

Aims of the Conference

'Racism, Postcolonialism, Europe' is an international conference, sponsored by
the Leeds Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Leeds Centre for
Ethnicity and Racism Studies and the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence.
The conference aims to bring together around 60-80 European-based scholars
ranging across an number of different disciplines (literary / cultural studies,
sociology, history, political science) to discuss contemporary manifestations
of postcolonial racism within the context of the so-called 'New Europe'.

Postcolonial racism is as difficult to define as is racism itself, although its
effects are undoubtedly material. Broadly understood, the term 'postcolonial
racism' engages the contradictory desire for cross-cultural understanding in a
context of perceived cultural incommensurability. Postcolonial racism masks
continuing prejudices behind a form of what might be called 'selective
egalitarianism'. Postcolonial racists might agree, for example, that rights
should be given to the historically disadvantaged ethnic-minority citizens of
their own nation, yet still find it in themselves to assert that these citizens
are being pampered by the state, In some cases, they might voice qualified
support, but only for the visibly assimilated; in others, they might
simultaneously believe that 'minorities' have historically been given far too
little but are currently being given far too much. One form postcolonial racism
takes is the heightened perception of reverse discrimination; another is the
paranoid sense of incommensurable cultural difference – a difference
experienced as destabilising, or even profoundly threatening, insofar as it is
perceived to be neither accountable to the nation nor containable by the state.
Both of these forms ally postcolonial racism to the 'new' culturally motivated
racism, a 'racism without race' (Balibar) in which cultures are deemed to be
irremediably separate, and the discriminated power of biology is carried over
onto culture, which proceeds just as inexorably to do the work of 'race'.

The 'new' (cultural) racism, of course, is arguably not new at all even if it is
unarguably racist, and often it contains within it more that a trace of the
(biological) 'old'. Postcolonial racism, similarly, is a mix of historically
overlapping racisms, some but by no means all of which have their roots in
colonialist attitudes toward 'other' people, cultures, beliefs and value
systems, etc.. To some extent these roots indicate the persistence of racism at
the heart of the so-called 'New Europe', another premature formulation that
belies the simmering hostilities underlying and in some cases exacerbated by,
recent processes of political and economic transformation within in unevenly
developed European superstate, The 'New Europe' is often associated with the
putatively progressive forces of globalisation: e.g., economic liberalisation,
the spread of democracy, the move toward more mobile, transnational forms of
identity and citizenship. Postcolonial racism demonstrates, rather, that
globalisation has helped create a network of competing provincialisms, much in
evidence but by no means restricted to Europe, and that these suggest both the
emergence of new decolonisation struggles and the persistence, even
reinforcement, of older 'internal colonialisms' historically connected to
dominating powers and authoritarian states.

Call for Papers

As suggested above, the conference aims both to chart recent manifestations of
postcolonial racism and to assess its capacity to challenge, even shatter the
social, political and economic confidences of the 'New Europe' as a liberated
space, In this critical spirit, papers are invited on such topics as:

1.enduring vs. transforming racisms: the case for and against 'new' racism;
2.the multiple conjunctions of racism and colonialism;
3.devolution and the persistence of 'internal colonialism';
4.multiculturalism as an antidote to racism / as a form of racism;
5.Islamophobia and the 're-Orientalisation' of Europe;
6.postcolonial racism and the fetishisation of cultural. religious difference;
7.racism and the European Community/the European Union;
8.selective egalitarianism: human-rights debates in the 'New Europe'
9.racisms of migration
10.postcolonialism, governance and community management

The cfp deadline for this conference has now been extended. Please email 200-250
word abstracts by Friday the 3rd March 2006 to racismconf_at_leeds.ac.uk.

For regular updates on the conference, see:
Registration forms will be available shortly. Register early to avoid
disappointment – space is likely to be limited!

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Received on Tue Jan 10 2006 - 10:12:04 EST