2008 – Afterlives of Postcolonialism

An international conference on Postcolonial theory

pc-conference-poster-In recent times some scholars have proclaimed that postcolonial theory has exhausted its critical energies- at the very time that it has been taken up by scholars and activists not located in English or Literature departments, the area where postcolonial theory made its early impact and sometimes found an institutional home.

On October 25-26  2008, the Centre for Postcolonial Studies at Goldsmiths organised a conference on the “Afterlives of Postcolonialism”- the ‘after’ referring both to its life/lives after the proclamation of its death, and also to its life after/outside the study of literature. The participants in the conference asked the following questions, amongt others:

  • In what ways can/has postcolonial theory been taken up by artists, architects and scholars of art and architecture, by those who study politics, anthropology and sociology, and area studies, and to what effects?
  • Does it merely provide another way of ‘reading’ texts, to does it have the potential to destabilize and reconfigure practices and disciplines?
  • And what happens to postcolonial theory when it moves into politics, art, sociology, and area studies; what mutations does it undergo, or need to undergo?

Drawing upon speakers from a range of geographical (India, the U.S., South Africa, Palestine, the U.K.) and disciplinary locations (everything from architecture to art, film, music, politics), involving practitioners as well as theorists, Afterlives of Postcolonialism conference asked whether postcolonial theory still has any life in it- and what sorts of lives it is leading once it travels outside of literature.


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