full name / name of organization: 
Ulrike Hamann/ Frankfurt Research Center for Postcolonial Studies

Postcolonial Perspectives after Auschwitz
Panel Convenors: Ulrike Hamann/Cigdem Inan

Within the FRCPS Graduate Conference "Colonial Legacies, Postcolonial Contestations: Decolonizing the Social Sciences and the Humanities" from 16–18 June 2011 we will host a panel on Postcolonial Perspectives after Auschwitz.

This panel invites papers that critically engage with the challenge of simultaneously remembering the legacies of both colonialism and the Shoah, without losing sight of the historical breaks, changes and dis/continuities. This would involve paying attention to the particular manifestations of domination in both cases without staging a rivalry between them. It will additionally negotiate the affective and psychic modes of remembrance by posing the question in how far political or ethical conceptualizations of the force inherent to affectivity, melancholia, trauma or loss enable rethinking of the transformation of the legacy of both historical phenomena. The pursuit of such a double perspective, which would be both post-Colonial and post-Holocaust (in an epistemic sense of thinking the present from the Holocaust and from colonialism) seems to be urgent for a better understanding and theorizing the challenges of current social structures as well as the present world order.

Paper topics could range from concepts of education in a plural society, to historical analysis of both colonialism/racism and national-socialism/anti- Semitism in an interrelated perspective, to feminist approaches on racism and anti-Semitism, to a political analysis of actual conflicts with respect to both historical legacies, to theorizations of affectivity and memory and could also involve a cultural critique of the representation and negotiation of these memories.

In his writings Aimé Césaire shows both the necessity for remembrance and the close link between struggles against racism and anti-Semitism. He unfolds the overlaps as well as differences in the historical practices of racism and anti-Semitism in terms of specific manifestations of discrimination, persecution and exploitation. Along similar lines, Hannah Arendt argues that the main phantasm of modern anti-Semitism, the idea of "world domination", was not conceivable without the experiences and fantasies of imperialism. These desires provided the grounds on which the national-socialist, anti-Semitic thesis of a world conspiracy could develop. Césaire and Arendt unfold how colonialism, racism and anti-Semitism are historically intertwined. Along similar lines scholars of Postcolonial and Holocaust studies have explored and are exploring possibilities to theorize the present from the perspective of legacies of plantation slavery- system, colonialism and the Shoah. The historical contexts of these systems and events reveal a genealogy of oppression, and overlapping struggles, which this panel seeks to examine.
This panel does not assume a linear continuity among these events; rather it suggests the need to broaden the focus of investigation, which would involve analyzing the overlapping similarities and interacting mechanisms of (colonial) racisms and anti-Semitism. Critical race theorists have long demonstrated the interrelatedness of racism with other hierarchical constructions such as gender and class. An intersectional perspective demonstrates anti-Semitism to be a power relation that is similar to but distinct from racism. In order to think through a divided yet shared history, the difficult legacies of the Middle Passage, plantation slavery-system, colonial genocides and the Shoah need to be addressed.

Paper proposals are welcome from both young and established scholars of different countries and disciplines. An abstract (max. 500 words) should accompany your proposal. The closing date for applications is 30th November 2010.

Abstracts and queries may be submitted to: and For further information: