Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Forthcoming Fall Events

Public lecture by

Ato Quayson
University of Toronto


Date:            Monday, 7 October, 2013
Time:           12.00-14.00
Location:    Sweelinckzaal, Drift 21, Utrecht

Birgit M. Kaiser (Dept of Comparative Literature) 
Emmanuelle Radar (Dept of French)

Lecture Postcolonialism and the Diasporic Imaginary 

While the two fields of Postcolonial and Diaspora Studies overlap in interests and even methods, it is very rare that they are actually brought into serious conversation. Prof. Quayson’s lecture will demonstrate, first, that this impasse is due to the fact that while Postcolonial Studies is dominated by the epochal relation of the nation-state (its colonial formation, its post-colonial anxieties, and the manner of its uneven insertion into transnational and global realities), Diaspora Studies has been concerned primarily with the experience of spatial discontinuities in various guises (multiple and simultaneous identification with the homeland and hostnation, the unheimlich of home, post-memories of exile, etc.). Prof. Quayson will then proceed to illustrate the differences between the two fields with reference to methodological nationalism and the diasporic imaginary, elaborating its three essential components of place, nostalgia, and genealogical accounting.

Together with the lecture, Ato Quayson will also be teaching a masterclass for advanced MA and PhD students on Literary spaces and Spatial Theories in Postcolonial Literature. The masterclass will take place on Friday, 4 October 2013 (16.00-18.30 at Utrecht University). For more information, please email:

Ato Quayson is Professor of English and Director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto, where he has been since August 2005. He did his BA at the University of Ghana and took his PhD from Cambridge University in 1995. He then went on to the University of Oxford as a Research Fellow, returning to Cambridge in September 1995 to become a Fellow at Pembroke College and a member of the Faculty of English where he eventually became a Reader in Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies.

Prof. Quayson has published widely on African literature, postcolonial studies and in literary theory. His book publications include the
Blackwell Companion to Diaspora and Transnationalism Studies, ed.with Girish Daswani (in press, New York: Blackwell, 2013); The Cambridge History of Postcolonial Literature, ed., 2 volumes. (Cambridge University Press, 2012); Labour Migration, Human Trafficking and Multinational Corporations (with Antonela Arhin; New York: Routledge, 2012); Fathers and Daughters: An Anthology of Exploration, ed., (Oxford: Ayebia Publishers, 2008); Aesthetic Nervousness: Disability and the Crisis of Representation (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007); African Literature: An Anthology of Theory and Criticism (with Tejumola Olaniyan; Oxford: Blackwell, 2007); Relocating Postcolonialism (with David Theo Goldberg; Oxford: Blackwell, 2002).
He also wrote the Introduction and Notes to the Penguin Classics edition of Nelson Mandela's No Easy Walk to Freedom (London: Penguin, 2002) and is
General Editor of the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry. Prof. Quayson has just completed a book on the urban history of Accra told from the perspective from a single street, forthcoming with Duke University Press under the title of Oxford St., Accra; Urban Evolution, Street Life and Itineraries of the Transnational (in press, 2014).

The lecture is part of the lecture series New Directions in Literary Postcolonial Studies, organized by Birgit M. Kaiser and Emmanuelle Radar with the Postcolonial Studies Initiative PCI and the Center for the Humanities (Utrecht University), together with the Research Institute for History and Culture OGC, and the Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies OSL.

Earlier speakers in the series were Emily Apter (NYU) in June 2011 and Réda Bensmaïa (Brown) in October 2012.

Masterclass with Ato Quayson

Date:          Friday, 4 October, 2013
Time:         16.00-18.30
Location:  Janskerkhof 13, zaal 0.06, Utrecht

Literary spaces and Spatial Theories in Postcolonial Literature

The masterclass for advanced MA students and PhD students will look into the general intersections between Spatial Theory and Literary Space with special emphasis on postcolonial literature. Ato Quayson has just completed a book on the urban history of Accra told from the perspective from a single street for Duke UP (forthcoming), coming out of his work on how to apply spatial theory (such as Henri Lefebre’s The Production of Space) to the understanding of space in literature. Prof. Quayson has been approaching the question with a focus that is more literary critical than sociological, thus less interested in questions of marketing, the global market place of judgement, etc. and primarily concerned with how we detect and describe space when we see it as either a thematic or a description in literature.

The background readings for the masterclass are:
Quayson, Ato. 2012a. “Introduction: Postcolonial Literature in a Changing Historical Frame.” In The Cambridge History of Postcolonial Literature, Vol. 1., edited by Ato Quayson, 1-29. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press.
Quayson, Ato. 2012b. “Periods vrs Concepts: Space Making and the Question of Postcolonial Literary History.” PMLA, 127(2): 349-356.
Lefebre, Henri, Chapters 1 and 2 of Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time, and Everyday Life. New York: Continuum International, 2004.
Bakhtin, Mikhail. 1986. “The Bildungsroman and its Significance in the History of Realism”, in Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Austin: University of Texas Press, 10-59.
Moretti, Franco. 1987. “Bildungsroman and Symbolic Form,” in The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture, London: Verso, 3-13.
In order to register for the masterclass, please email:


Walter Mignolo
(Duke University, USA)

PCI public Lecture


Dewesternization, Rewesternization and Decoloniality: 
the Racial Distribution of Capital and Knowledge

Monday May 13, 2013 
Location: U-Theather Kromme Nieuwegracht 20
Time: 15.00-17.00



The "return" of China and Turkey, the economic presence of BRICS countries and the economic growth of Indonesia and Malaysia have already established a radical shift in the five hundred years of history marked by the emergence, consolidation and expansion of Western Civilization since 1500. It is the first time in 500 years that capital and knowledge controlled by Western European states (from Spain and Portugal, to Holland, France, Germany, England and the US), is in the hands of "people of color" as President Sukarno of Indonesia defined the Bandung Conference (1955). In his configuration, "Left" and "Right" are obsolete terms as they are all description of changes prefaced by "Post." "Post" is Western indicator of changes in linear and imperial conception of time. Now we have entered in the spatial domain of co-existing temporalities: Dewesternization, Rewesternization and Decoloniality help us to understand that there is more than "one" time, the "universal" time of Western modernity and the Greenwich Meridian.

Walter Mignolo is William H. Wannamaker Professor of Literature at Duke University and has joint appointments in Cultural Anthropology and Romance Studies. Since 2000, he has directed the Center for Global Studies and the Humanities, a research unit within the John Hope Franklin Center for International and Interdisciplinary Studies. Professor Mignolo has also been named Permanent Researcher at Large at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito, Ecuador.

He received his Ph.D. from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Paris. Before coming to Duke in January, 1993, he taught at the Universities of Toulouse, Indiana, and Michigan. He has published extensively on semiotics and literary theory, and has in the past years been working on different aspects of the modern/colonial world and exploring concepts such as global coloniality, the geopolitics of knowledge, transmodernity, border thinking, and di/pluriversalities.

His recent publications on these latter topics include: The Idea of Latin America (2005), Writing Without Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica and the Andes, co-edited with Elizabeth H. Boone (1994), and The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality, Colonization (1995) which won the Katherine Singer Kovacs prize from the Modern Languages Association. He is also author of Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking (1999) and editor of Capitalismo y geopolítica del conocimiento: El eurocentrismo y la filosofía de la liberación en el debate intelectual contemporanáneo (2000) and The Americas: Loci of Enunciations and Imaginary Constructions (1994-95). His current interests include colonial expansion and nation building at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. See also:

Attendance is free but please register by sending an e-mail to


PEN, Postcolonial Europe Network
Utrecht University, 18-19 April 2013
 thank you to all speakers for a fantastic conference

Bruce Robbins
Robert Young

for more pics go to:

PEN, Postcolonial Europe Network

 (Funded by NWO internationalization in the Humanities)

Second annual conference
Utrecht University, 18-19 April 2013

Postcolonial Transitions in Europe:
Conflict, Transitional Justice and Cosmopolitanism

 In collaboration with:
 Postcolonial Studies Initiative (PCI);
Centre for the Humanities (CfH), Graduate Gender Programme (GGeP)

Convener: Sandra Ponzanesi

to download the FLYER please click here

This conference focuses on the relevance of postcolonial theories for the understanding of world-systemic transformations and the shifts in geopolitics in terms of conflict, transitional justice and cosmopolitanism. New crises such as conflicts, terrorism, trafficking, and human rights violation go beyond the boundaries of the nation state and European frontiers and require new analytical tools for the understanding of these rapid transformations.

By investigating culture with the innovative, interdisciplinary and transcultural tools of postcolonial critique Europe emerges as a complex space, which is often imagined and oblivious of its politics of inclusion and exclusion towards migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, as well as of its take on internal conflicts, political transitions and cosmopolitan imaginary. In order to tackle the new crises that plague Europe and beyond, this conference will bring together the complementary and synergizing expertise of postcolonial scholars who work across different disciplinary fields such as conflict studies, law, ethics, memory studies, human rights and international relations as well as the arts, visual culture, music and digital platforms. The goal is to inform a new wave of young scholars and academics on how to assess the emergencies and transitions of the present through an ability to acknowledge the working of the past and rethink Europe as a new possible cosmopolitan space.

The conference will focus on conflict, transitional justice and cosmopolitanism examining the narrative that walks the line between, before and after, memory and truth, compensation and reconciliation, justice and peace. Some of the participants will examine communities ravaged by colonialism and the harm that colonial and postcolonial economic and social disparities cause. The comparative and interdisciplinary exchanges will generate a better understanding of difficult pasts to present communities, questioning the many possible trajectories from disruption to truth, reconciliation and healing, with particular focus on Europe.

Keynote Speakers:


Gurminder K. Bhambra:
Postcolonial Cosmopolitanism in an Austere Europe
(Warwick University, UK):

Rosemarie Buikema:
Transitional Justice, Dialogical Truth and the Arts
(Utrecht University, NL)

Kate Mackintosh
Development of International Criminal Justice. 
The Example of the International Criminal Tribunal of  the Former Yugoslavia
(ICTY, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, NL)

Neil Lazarus
Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature
(Warwick University, UK)

Bruce Robbins
Cosmopolitanism in Deep Time
(Columbia University, USA)

Robert Young
Late Postcolonialism
(New York University, USA)

The final programme is now available please go to the PEN website:

For information and registration please mail:



The Postcolonial Film Series: (starting January 8, 2013)

On January 8, 2013, the Postcolonial Initiative PCI Utrecht starts its third postcolonial film series with a selection of films that draw on a variety of different contexts in our postcolonial world. The series will be organized annually between January and June and invites all interested in our European postcolonial present and the representation of its political, cultural and aesthetic realities and challenges. We want to explore, through visual representations and cinematographic narratives, how these realities are analyzed and re-imagined in contemporary film. Each film will be introduced briefly by scholars connected to the PCI and we hope to chat in the bar afterwards.

The postcolonial film series 2013 screens on:

January  8:      Deepa Mehta, Earth(India/Canada, 1998, 110 min).

Introduced by Amrita Das (VU)

February 12:  John Madden, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (UK, 2011, 124 min)

Introduced by Barnita Bagchi (UU)

March 19:        Icíar Bollaín, Even the Rain (También la lluvia, Spain, 2010, 103 min)

Introduced by Susanne Knittel (UU)

April 9:             Denis Villeneuve, Incendies (Canada, 2010, 130 min)

Introduced by Emmanuelle Radar

May 7:              Miguel Gomes, Tabu (Portugal, 2012,  118 min)

Introduction by Paulo de Medeiros (UU)

June 4:              Michael Winterbottom, Trishna (UK, 2011, 117 min)

Introduced by Sandra Ponzanesi (UU)

TIME:              18.00

LOCATION:    U-theater Studio T, Kromme Nieuwegracht 20

All screenings are free of charge.

For more information see under Agenda
Or contact or

--> It's 1947 and the borderlines between India and Pakistan are being drawn. A young girl bears witnesses to tragedy as her ayah is caught between the love of two men and the rising tide of political

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel follows a group of British retirees who decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past.

Even the Rain sets up an intriguing dialogue about Spanish imperialism through incidents taking place some 500 years apart, while examining the personal belief systems of the members of a film crew headed by director Sebastian (Gael Garcia Bernal) and his producer Costa (Luis Tosar) who arrive in Bolivia to make a revisionist film about the conquest of Latin America. Set in February and March of 2000 when real-life protests against the privatization of water rocked the nation, the film reflexively blurs the line between fiction and reality in what Variety calls "a powerful, richly layered indictment of the plight of Latin America's dispossessed.

This powerful movie connects war in the Middle East (Lebanese Civil War, Jordan, Syria) with the life of children of immigrants from that region in the western world (Quebec). It is the story of a twin brother and sister living in Montreal whose dead mother – a Middle East immigrant - asked them in her will to give a letter to their father and brother – two people they did not know existed. The plot is built on the quest for origins, the revelation of family mystery and the uncovering of a past full of war and revolution. As the mystery is revealed only at the end, the narration succeeds in keeping the viewer’s attention while the almost unbearable realism of the story combined with the symbolism of the mythological representation makes it a memorable film.

A temperamental old woman, her Cape Verdean maid and a neighbour devoted to social causes live on the same floor of a Lisbon apartment building. When the old lady dies, the other two learn of an episode from her past: a tale of love and crime set in an Africa straight from the world of adventure films.

Based on Thomas Hardy's classic novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles, 'Trishna' tells the story of one woman whose life is destroyed by a combination of love and circumstances. Set in contemporary Rajasthan, Trishna (Freida Pinto) meets a wealthy young British businessman Jay Singh (Riz Ahmed) who has come to India to work in his father's hotel business. After an accident destroys her father's Jeep, Trishna goes to work for Jay, and they fall in love. But despite their feelings for each other, they cannot escape the conflicting pressures of a rural society which is changing rapidly through industrialisation, urbanisation and, above all, education. Trishna's tragedy is that she is torn between the traditions of her family life and the dreams and ambitions that her education has given her.


please notice: Registration Open

 “In the Time of Not Yet”
Edward Said Memorial Conference
April 15 – 17, 2013
This conference will inaugurate the commemoration of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. The three-day conference will focus on the role of culture in diplomacy and peace-making as well as pay tribute to the 10th anniversary of Edward Said’s passing. With Mariam Said as honorary chair, each day will feature renowned speakers on Edward Said’s work, such as Judith Butler, Etienne Balibar, Maestro Daniel Barenboim, Marina Warner and many others. Major attention will be paid to cultural activities that resound with Said’s vision in combining scholarship with the Arts so as to support the quest for justice, self-determination and equality.

The registration for this conference is now open!
Please click HERE to fill in the registration form.



Annual PCI Lecture/Doing Gender Lecture by
in collaboration with the Gender Programme

Elleke Boehmer 
(Oxford University)

Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 
time: 16.00-18.00
Location; U-Theathre, Kromme Nieuwegracht 20

Girl Power: How women's interventions propelled the internationalization of Scouting
The paper presents a study in gendered book history which, though its setting is colonial, carries postcolonial and global implications.

When in the years following its first publication Robert Baden-Powell’s primer Scouting for Boys (1908) generated the soon-to-be global Scout movement, intended in part to secure the empire, it also disseminated principles of brotherhood and fellowship around the world.  These principles, which the Father of Scouting, a convinced British imperialist, had derived from like-minded thinkers like Cecil John Rhodes and Rudyard Kipling, he alchemized through the medium of his charismatic text.  Interestingly, one of the audiences to which his primer strongly appealed and who both registered and amplified its charisma, differed markedly from the book’s target male addressees. They were girls and young women, the daughters of the New Woman generation of the 1890s, who found that many of Scouting’s core activities and values related to the ideas of bodily liberation, self-assertion and female independence that motivated them.  The paper will consider how the perceived interpellation and involvement of women strengthened and widened Scouting’s networks in the years leading up to the First World War.  It will round off by exploring how women in the Anglophone world and beyond not only contributed to the internationalization of Scouting in these years, but also helped to heighten its culturally subversive and democratizing effects. 


Internationally known for her research in postcolonial writing and theory and the literature of empire, Elleke Boehmer (BA(Hons), MPhil(Oxon), DPhil(Oxon)) currently works on questions of migration, identity and resistance in both postcolonial literature and writing of the colonial period, in particular of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. A Rhodes Scholar (1985-88), she is Professor of World Literature in English, a Professorial Governing Body Fellow at Wolfson College, and Deputy Director of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing at Wolfson.  Elleke writes both fiction and non-fiction, cultural history and criticism.   Her best-selling short biography of Nelson Mandela (OUP VSI series) has been translated into Arabic, Thai and Portuguese (Brazil region).
Among her publications are: Colonial and Postcolonial Literature: Migrant Metaphors (Oxford UP, 1995; 2nd edn 2005), Empire, the National, and the Postcolonial, 1890-1920 (Oxford UP, 2002; paperback 2004), Stories of Women: Gender and Narrative in the Postcolonial Nation (Manchester UP, 2005). She has co-edited Terror and the Postcolonial (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), J.M. Coetzee in Context and Theory (Continuum, 2009), The Indian Postcolonial (Routledge 2011) and The Postcolonial Low Countries (Lexington Books, 2012).
She has also published four widely acclaimed novels, Screens Against the Sky (1990: shortlisted David Higham Prize); An Immaculate Figure (1993), Bloodlines (2000: shortlisted Sanlam Prize), and Nile Baby (Ayebia, 2008), as well as a number of short stories in journals, magazines, and anthologies.

For registration please mail: