Saturday, October 12, 2019

9th PCI Film Series

The Postcolonial Studies Initiative is happy to announce its 9th film series with a selection of films, shown monthly, that draw on a variety of different contexts in our postcolonial world. The series is organized annually and invites all interested in our European postcolonial present and the representation of its political, cultural and aesthetic realities and challenges. Each film will be introduced briefly by scholars connected to the PCI and international guests and filmmakers.

This series will include presentations with filmmakers and Q&As. We are very happy that this series will be opened by Pravini Baboeram who will present “The Uprising”, a music documentary that tells the story of resistance against racism in Europe.

Please join us for our first screening: 

The Uprising with Q&A with director (dir. Pravini Baboeram, 2019)  

About the film: 
Musician and activist Pravini Baboeram presents “The Uprising”, a music documentary that tells the story of resistance against racism in Europe. With commentary and experiences from academics and activists, the Dutch-Indian singer/songwriter offers a decolonial perspective on the anti-racism movement in the Netherlands, UK and France. She not only provides an analysis of the history and legacy of colonialism, but also a vision on strategy for the future of the movement.
This documentary zooms in on collective challenges of communities of color. In 9 self-written songs Pravini connects the fight against Blackface, the struggle for the recognition of colonial crimes that the Netherlands has committed in Indonesia, the fight for the liberation of Palestine and the struggle in the political field for an inclusive society. “The Uprising” offers a unique view of the resistance against racism in Europe through the eyes of people of color. Pravini's documentary has been selected for the international film festival DocuDonna in Massa Marittima, Italy. This festival focuses predominately on female directors who focus on societal issues in their work. For more information click here. To see the trailer click here.
The documentary is available with English, Spanish, French and Dutch subtitles. 
Practical information
Date: 14 October, 2019
Time: 17:15-19:00
Location: Entrance at Muntstraat 2A, MCW-LAB (Grote zaal KNG20)
Admission is free of charge. However, due to safety regulations, maximum capacity of the room is 80 people. Because the screening is part of the postcolonial studies minor, seating for non-UU students is limited. 

Cold War (dir. Pawlikowski, France, Poland, UK, 2018,1.28 min)  

Introduced by Sandra Ponzanesi (Utrecht University, Media and Culture Studies) 

Love Without Borders

Set against the background of the Cold War in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris, the film depicts an impossible love story in impossible times. Over and over, the hero and heroine of the film are separated by borders and ideologies, but they remain fatefully drawn to each other. 

On November 9, 2019, the pictures of the fall of the Berlin Wall are celebrating their 30th anniversary. On November 25, the PCI is screening Cold War by acclaimed filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski to mark the event. The film is an ode to love at the time of the Iron Curtain, and the tragic divisions caused before the Peaceful Revolution of 1989. Paweł Pawlikowski follows his Oscar-winning Ida with the stunning Cold War, an epic romance set against the backdrop of Europe after World War II. Shot in luminous black and white, it’s a wistful and dreamlike journey through a divided continent – and a heartbreaking portrait of ill-fated love.

Paweł Pawlikowski won the best director award at Cannes in May 2018, the European Film Prize in five categories (best film, best director, best actress, best scenario, best editing) and the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards and for two BAFTA Awards.
Polish-born Pawel Pawlikowski started as a documentary filmmaker in British television. His second feature, Last Resort (2000), about an east European woman and her young son, washed up here in an unbelievably grim seaside holding area for asylum seekers, earned him international critical acclaim at numerous festivals, including Toronto and Sundance, and won the 2001 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award.
Official website:

Official website:
Practical information:
Date: 25 November, 2019
Time: 17:00-19:00
Location: Entrance at Muntstraat 2A, MCW-LAB (Grote zaal KNG20)
More info:
Admission is free of charge. However, due to safety regulations, maximum capacity of the room is 80 people. Because the screening is part of the postcolonial studies minor, seating for non-UU students is limited. 

Paris is Burning (dir. Jenny Livingston 1990)  

Introduced by Zerrin Cengiz (Utrecht University) and Milica Trakilović (Utrecht University)
The legendary documentary Paris is Burning (Jenny Livingston, 1990) about the New York Underground drag queen and transgender culture.

A new restoration of Paris Is Burning has been released. The timing couldn’t be more apt: this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which arrives at a fraught time in queer visibility. It’s no wonder that in addition to being cherished and debated over the years, Paris Is Burning has often been taught in colleges and beyond, an urtext for debates about the meanings of gender, race, class, and sexuality.
 Over the past decade, Jennie Livingston’s landmark 1990 documentary “Paris Is Burning” has had a renaissance of sorts, thanks in no small part to the popularity of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” If you’ve never seen “Paris Is Burning,” you’re only getting half of what “Drag Race” has to offer, so a new restoration and theatrical re-release of the film courtesy of Janus Films is the perfect opportunity to catch up.
Practical information
Date: 13 January, 2019
Time: 17:00-19:00
Location: Entrance at Muntstraat 2A, MCW-LAB (Grote zaal KNG20)

Admission is free of charge. However, due to safety regulations, maximum capacity of the room is 80 people. Because the screening is part of the postcolonial studies minor, seating for non-UU students is limited.


Palimpsest of the Africa Museum (2019) & Lobi Kuna (2018) 

Introduction and Q&A with filmmaker Matthias De Groof


During this special PCI screening event filmmaker Matthias De Groof will show fragments of his films 'Palimpsest of the Africa Museum’, a documentary on the renovation of the Tervuren museum in Belgium, and its crippled decolonization. He will also show Lobi Kuna, a participative fiction on cultural heritage. The film performs a cinematic restitution.

In 2013, the Royal Museum for Central Africa closes for renovation. Not only the building and the museum cabinets are in need of renewal: the spirit of the museum has to be brought into this century. The documentary which resulted from the renovations, entitled Palimsest of the Africamuseum, will be shown and introduced by the filmmaker, who will also show fragments of a Lobi Kuna, fiction film he made with Congolese friends on restitution. Both films are part of a cinematic triptych showing crippling decolonisations. While showing these processes, the triptych itself attempts to undo the historic entanglements between the medium of cinema and coloniality.

Matthias De Groof is a postdoctoral researcher affiliated with the University of Antwerp. He has held visiting fellow appointments at the New York University, the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies in Finland, and the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence of the Bayreuth University in Germany.

Palimpsest of the Africa Museum (dir. Matthias De Groof in collaboration with Mona Mpembele, 2019, 1,09 min.)
In 2013, the Royal Museum for Central Africa, located just outside Brussels, closes for renovation. Not only the building and the museum cabinets are in need of renewal: the spirit of the museum has to be brought into this century. In COMRAF, a board of advisers, the process of decolonization leads to fierce discussions. In order to completely dislodge the majestic building from its colonial form, fundamental questions also need to be asked. Who is looking at whom here? And whose story is being told here? For the trailer, see here.

Lobi Kuna (avant-hier / après-demain), (dir. Matthias De Groof, 2018, 45 min.)
Lobi Kuna” is the fruit of a strong friendship between a Belgian and a Congolese. The film is based on a visit Mekhar (Congolese artist) and dr. Matthias De Groof paid to the museum of Central-Africa in Belgium. “Lobi Kuna” became the fruit of common concerns and reflections on interrelated issues such as the diasporic journey, stolen heritage, racism, museums and the postcolonial condition. It tells the story of Mekhar’s gaze being unsettled as he views through his lens the macabre museum as a mausoleum of his cultural heritage. Lobi Kuna tells the story of his appropriation of the past in order to project himself into a future. Being co-written by a Congolese, partially shot in Congo by a Congolese crew, co-produced by Congolese, the film is participatory / collaborative.

Practical information
Date: 9 March, 2020
Time: 17:00-20:00
Location: Entrance at Muntstraat 2A, MCW-LAB (Grote zaal KNG20)
More information:
Admission is free of charge. However, due to safety regulations, maximum capacity of the room is 80 people. Because the screening is part of the postcolonial studies minor, seating for non-UU students is limited. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Publication Special Issue: 

 Migration and Mobility in a Digital Age: 

(Re)Mapping Connectivity and Belonging

Guest editor: Sandra Ponzanesi
Television and New Media, 20(6): 547-648

This special issue charts new directions in digital media and migration studies from a gendered, postcolonial, and multidisciplinary perspective. In particular, the focus is on the ways in which the experience of displacement is resignified and transformed by new digital affordances from different vantage points, engaging with recent developments in datafication, visualization, biometric technologies, platformization, securitization, and extended reality (XR) as part of a drastically changed global mediascape. This issue explores the role of new media technologies in rethinking the dynamics of migration and globalization by focusing in particular on the role of migrant users as “connected” and active participants, as well as “screened” and subject to biometric datafication, visualization, and surveillance. 

With contributions from:

Sandra Ponzanesi (Utrecht University):

Arjun Appadurai (New York University):  

Roopika Risam (Salem State University):  

Mirca Madianou (Goldsmiths, University of London):  

Myria Georgiou (LSE):  

Radha S. Hegde (NYU): 

Joost Raessens (Utrecht University):  

Monday, July 1, 2019

Conference: "Intellectuals Across Borders: Writers, Artists, Activists" 

University of Münster, 5-6 September 2019 

Co-hosted by the University of Lisbon

Keynote speakers:

John Sundholm (Professor in Cinema Studies, Stockholm University)

Johny Pitts (Photographer and Television presenter, author of Afropean [Allen Lane / Penguin, 2019])

Matthias de Groof (Filmmaker, University of Antwerpen)

The second PIN Network Conference "Intellectuals Across Borders: Writers, Artists, Activists" will take place in Münster/Germany, co-hosted by the University of Münster and the University of Lisbon. The opening event is scheduled for the evening of Sept. 4, 2019. The conference closes on Sept. 6, 2019.
Intellectuals Across Borders explores the dynamic formations of postcolonial intellectual work in the manifold European public spheres. The conference works with the idea that writers, artists, and activists – like migrant academics and political representatives – can embrace the role of postcolonial intellectuals through intervention and public impact. As racism works vigorously across national borders while right-wing groupings across Europe are interconnected and cross-fertilize each other, critical intellectual work is called upon to make borders porous. In fact, it is the postcolonial intellectuals’ transgressive potential in inquiring and intervening – spatially, epistemologically, ideologically – which we consider vital to their relationship with European public spheres. In both theme and approach, the conference takes the following questions as a theoretical vantage point:
  • While the postcolonial is constitutive of Europe itself, what marks out forms of public intellectual work as postcolonial?
  • Are these distinct forms of postcolonial intellectual labour characterised through biography or location, by their mode of engagement and intervention, and/or by their subject matter?
  • How can we stretch and pluralise the concept of the ‘postcolonial public intellectual’ to encompass minoritized positionalities, inflected by race, class, gender, or sexuality?
For further reading, practical details and submission instructions, download the Call for Papers on the official website here.
Practical information
Organized in the context of the NWO Internationalization in the humanities project: PIN – Postcolonial Intellectuals and their European Publics Network, “Intellectuals Across Borders” explores the dynamic formations of intellectual work in diverse European public spheres.

Conveners: Sandra Ponzanesi (Utrecht University), Mark U Stein (University of Münster), Ana Cristina Mendes (University of Lisbon)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Xenogenesis - the Otolith Group @ Van Abbemuseum, May-August

25/05/2019 - 18/08/2019
Curator(s): Annie Fletcher
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From May 2019 the Van Abbemuseum will hold Xenogenesis, the first large scale exhibition of The Otolith Group in the Netherlands. The collective was founded by artist Anjalika Sagar and theorist Kodwo Eshun in 2002. Xenogenesis will present artworks produced between 2011 and 2018. The works will be displayed in the ten rooms within the old building of the museum.

Together with guest programmer Richard Kofi, the Van Abbemuseum organises two events around the Xenogenesis exhibition. From 3pm onwards, various guests will be joining him in the museum for conversations, lectures and performances. Richard Kofi gives voice, colour, face and sound to Xenogenesis topics such as independence, decolonisation, futurism and the holistic approach to medicine.

More and more museums are inviting academics and activists to explore the consequences of worldwide geopolitical issues at a local level. They're looking for fresh narratives and different voices that inspire people to look at the world from another perspective and, preferably, to change. It is an intensive process, and the question remains as to whether it will ever really be completed. Does decolonisation involve more than restoring the Eurocentric past and present of an institution? Can you actually celebrate successes in achieving decolonisation? Who are we doing it for anyway? Wouldn’t it be better if we simply founded new institutions; ones that examine new ways of thinking and the consequences of progress?
- Tickets:

Afrofuturism is a blend of imagination and technology used in the fight for freedom and equality of black communities across the globe. It is a positive method for rethinking problematic socioeconomic and neo-colonial structures and coming up with an alternative future. In which art forms can we see Afrofuturism being expressed? And how does Afrofuturism manifest itself in science or philosophy on utopian and occasionally dystopian worldviews?
- Tickets:

Thursday, May 30, 2019

PCI/Doing Gender Lecture - Itinerant Data:  Unveiling Gendered Scrutiny at the Border

Radha S. Hegde (Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University, USA)

Utrecht University, 24 June 2019   

Under what conditions do minority stories travel from the periphery to the centre? Technologized border regimes transform bodies with great speed into data and embed them within archives of suspicion. Examining the performance of surveillance rituals directed towards Muslim women at airports, this presentation discusses how classifications at digital frontiers reproduce familiar patterns of discrimination. The objections raised by Muslim women about the circulation of their cellular data serve as a point of departure to rethink national belonging in terms of the new itinerancy of data, corporeal transparency and the digital archive as expression and identification

Radha S. Hegde
 is Professor in the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University. She is the author of Mediating Migration (2016), editor of Circuits of Visibility: Gender and Transnational Media Cultures (2011), and co-editor of Routledge Handbook of the Indian diaspora (2017). Currently she serves as the Dahlem International Network Professor for Gender Studies at the Freie Universität in Berlin.

Registration is compulsory

Practical information
  • Date: 24 June, 2019
  • Time: 15:30-17:00
  • Location: Entrance at Muntstraat 2A, MCW-LAB (Grote zaal KNG20)
  • Register by sending an email to:

Sunday, May 5, 2019


Screening (13 May) + Lecture (22 May)

PCI Film Series presents Call Me by Your Name (dir. Luca Guadagnino, 2017)    

Introduced by Sergio Rigoletto (University of Oregon, USA) 

A sensual and transcendent tale of first love, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman 

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, the new film by Luca Guadagnino, is a sensual and transcendent tale of first love, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman. It's the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17-year-old young man, spends his days in his family's 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). Elio enjoys a close relationship with his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture, and his mother Annella (Amira Casar), a translator, who favor him with the fruits of high culture in a setting that overflows with natural delights. While Elio's sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult, there is much that yet remains innocent and unformed about him, particularly about matters of the heart. One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old American college graduate student working on his doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio's father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever. Source (IMDb)

Practical information

Call me by your Name (dir. Luca Guadagnino, Italy, France, Brazil, Usa 2017, 2.21 min)
Date: 13 May
Time: 17.00- 19.30
Location: Entrance at Muntstraat 2A, MCW-LAB (Grote zaal KNG20)
For more information:
Admission is free of charge. However, due to safety regulations, maximum capacity of the room is 80 people. No exceptions are made. First come, first seated

  Lecture by Sergio Rigoletto (University of Oregon, USA)

The Lingering Specters of the Universal Story in Call Me By Your Name

Under what conditions do minority stories travel from the periphery to the centre? What compromises are required for these stories to enter mainstream contexts of production, distribution and consumption? Is this journey from the periphery to the center always already haunted by the experience of loss and by the betrayal of an original, truthful story?
At a time in which more and more film festivals historically dedicated to gay and lesbian issues leave behind their identity politics markers (e.g. the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival changing its name to BFI Flare) and filmmaker Xavier Dolan angrily refuses to accept the Queer Palme at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival under the motivation that “we shouldn’t label a film ‘gay’”, these questions lay out some of the problems around the promotion, circulation and reception of stories which allegedly transcend their concern with difference and particularity in order to speak to all of us.
Ever since Call Me By Your Name premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, a common response to the film has been to celebrate it as a powerfully universal story. Exploring some of the distinctive ways in which the film may allow this type of response, this lecture asks whether Call Me By Your Name epitomizes a post-political moment for the kind of cinema that deals with LGBTQ lives, one in which the exclusionary trap of identity politics gets replaced by the universal aspiration to address everybody.
This lecture seeks to expose and make sense of the lingering (homophobic) specters that, according to several critics, have been banished from the dreamy arcadia of the Italian villa in which the love between Elio and Oliver blossoms. It will show that these specters are present in the form of a strange, eerie affect that haunts the film. By exploring the impact of this affect on the conditions of plausibility of the story, the lecture will demonstrate that CMBYN is indeed a universal story not despite but because of the function and significance of homosexuality within the film. It will show that the claim of universality carries an implicit aspiration to go beyond difference, an aspiration that is most apparent in the gesture of the benevolent critic who mentions the question of homosexuality within CMBYN only to quickly assert its irrelevance. This aspiration produces an excess that returns to haunt the experience of universal spectatorship that the film claims to address.
The lecture ultimately asks whether the category of ‘universality’ may be rescued from its traditionally essentialist grounding to account for contemporary conditions of spectatorships and experiences that do not elide difference but appear inextricably informed by it.

Sergio Rigoletto is Associate Professor of Italian and Cinema Studies at the University of Oregon (USA). He has a joint appointment in the Cinema Studies program and in the department of Romance Languages. His expertise is in European Cinema (especially Italian), Queer Cinema, Stars Studies, Film Comedy, and Television. His current research focuses on film star Anna Magnani, the question of authenticity in the media, and the queer art film. Some of his most recent publications are: Masculinity and Italian Cinema: Sexual Politics, Social Conflict and Male Crisis in the 1970s (Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, 2014); Popular Italian Cinema (co-edited with Louis Bayman) (Palgrave: Basingstoke, 2013).