Anticolonialism as Theory Symposium

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
UC-Berkeley & The Association of Postcolonial Thought

Fall 2022, University of California, Berkeley

The Futures of Postcolonial Thought: Anticolonialism as Theory

September 30-October 2 

Anticolonialism, as historical process and political philosophy, concerns itself with the quest for liberation. Our symposium centers anticolonialism as a vital resource for the rethinking of past, present, and future visions of the end of empire. We understand anticolonialism in a temporally and geographically expansive sense and know the “post” of postcolonialism to not mean “past.” Postcolonial critique is a comparative project, inclusive of the literature and culture of former European colonies, alongside insurgent minority forms from across the globe, and claims of Indigenous peoples to cultural and territorial sovereignty. In this spirit, we invite promiscuous, speculative, and recombinant work from the humanities and social sciences that proposes a fresh understanding of the field of postcolonial studies, its legacies, and its futures.

We proceed from a commitment to the imaginative possibilities inaugurated by anticolonial thought and the urgency of critique now. The uncertain present of endless war, converging catastrophes, and worsening global inequality reveals the exigency and relevance of postcolonial studies and, at the same time, demands new modes of critical theory.  

This two-day symposium, hosted by the Association of Postcolonial Thought and the University of California-Berkeley, looks to bring together a diverse, interdisciplinary body of scholars and instigators to revive anticolonialism as theory. Learning from anticolonial solidarities and epistemologies of decolonization, we seek to build a transformative vision of postcolonial studies that allows us to live and think together in the catastrophic present. 

We invite abstracts of 500 words for article-length, pre-circulated papers that are unpublished and may be considered for inclusion in a special issue of Representations that will follow from this symposium. 

Papers may explore political concepts of violence, revolution, collectivity, utopia, universalism, alienation, the avant-garde, prophecy, failure; theories of psychoanalysis, existentialism, and phenomenology; the status of humanism, civilization and barbarism, fascism and neo-fascism; changing formations of race, caste, class, gender, nation, and sexuality; reparations and the anticolonial; anticolonial aesthetics, epistemologies, and ethics; literary undergrounds and guerilla tactics; indigenous political theory and practice; occult history; sexuality and forms of desire. 

Please submit abstracts and brief bios to Poulomi Saha and Yogita Goyal at anticolonialismastheory@gmail.com by March 15 in a single document (Word or PDF) titled with your lastname.firstname. Decisions about submitted abstracts will be emailed by April 15. Papers should be ready to circulate among participants by September 1.