Conference – Postcolonial publics: Art and Citizen Media in Europe

Ca' Foscari, Venice, 26-27th of May 2022

Postcolonial Intellectuals and Their European Publics Network (PIN) NWO



We are delighted to invite contributions to a conference paper  on the topic of postcolonial publics expressed and engaged through “citizen media” (Rodriguez 2001; Baker & Blaagaard 2016) and art, in a postcolonial Europe. The conference papers will also serve as chapters for an edited volume which will be published soon after.

We want to interrogate the proliferation of digital media and global culture, and the changes happening in public intellectual engagements. From the adoration of the single (often male, often white) genius to the anonymity of diverse, affective publics, a postcolonial perspective invites contemporary public engagement to have many faces and multiple voices, and addressing new issues such as the environmental crisis and the resurgence of racism. Creativity and art can play a significant role in this development. Performance and visual expressions in the European space interpellate the situated public, but also produce transnational political dialogue and travel across digital space. Embodied performances challenge the cerebral stereotype and classical conception of what public engagement is and should be. Moreover, digital platforms have made available space for expressions that break the form and formulas of public and political speech. However, despite the expansion of public participation, social divisions based on race, gender, sexuality and able-bodiedness still hold sway and begs the question of positionality in relations to institutions, in the different fields of art and media, when it comes to political and social change.

The edited volume and conference envision postcolonial citizen media and art as practices and products encompassing a wide range of expressions: from poetry to journalism to Twitter-writing; from art to graffiti to Instagram-activism; and from celebrity activism to the uprising of “affective publics” (Papacharissi 2015).

Topics for contributions may include but are not limited to:

  • Migrant social media narratives (visual, aural, performative)

  • Exiled artists’ political expressions of citizenship and belonging

  • Social movements’ visual tactics and digital strategies

  • Celebrity activism and co-optation on gender, race and postcolonial issues

  • Citizen journalism and postcolonial counterpublics

  • Street art, performance and public engagement in postcolonial Europe

  • Questions of citizenship, voice and witnessing, in a postcolonial perspective

  • Media activism, academic activism, artivism for a postcolonial Europe

  • Postcolonial media and art interventions in the environmental crisis

The publication and conference is part of the Postcolonial Intellectuals and Their European Publics Network, (PIN), which is funded by the NWO. The network brings together international and interdisciplinary scholars, activists, and artists to explore the changing face and voice of the European intellectuals in a postcolonial Europe. This publication and conference are jointly organized by Shaul Bassi and Sabrina Marchetti (Centre for the Humanities and Social Change), Bolette Blaagaard (Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University, Copenhagen) and Sandra Ponzanesi (Department of Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University).

The conference will take place in Venice on the 26-27th of May 2022. Keynote speakers will be announced in due time. The publication based on the conference papers will follow soon after. Authors selected for the volume will be invited to the conference to present the final drafts of their papers. Final chapters will be 7,000 words all included. The volume will be published by Ca’ Foscari University Press as Open Access eBook in the Summer 2022.

May 2021 edit – Confirmed speakers: Lilie Chouliaraki (London School of Economics)

If you are interested in contributing, please submit your abstract (max. 500 words) by the 15th of June at the following email address:

  • 15 June 2021 Abstracts submission
  • 30 June 2021 Notification of selections
  • 15 January 2022 First draft of full chapters
  • 9 May 2022 Final chapters
  • 26-27 May 2022 Conference in Venice
  • 15 June 2022 Submission to Publisher
Previous conferences of the PIN Network:
  • Utrecht University (5-6 February 2019): info
  • University of Muenster (5-6 September 2019) – In collaboration with the University of Lisbon: info
  • University of Leeds (21-22 and 28-29 January 2021): info

Image credit: Lynn Avadenka, Afterword (Living Under Water, 2020)

Conference PIN, Postcolonial Intellectuals and Their European Publics

Full Programme available here

Utrecht, 5-6 February 2019

Who are the postcolonial intellectuals? Which of them are currently the most influential? What kind of intellectual activity do collectivities, networks and movements gathering around issues of race and citizenship perform? How do postcolonial academics, artists, writers, parties and movements respond to current timely issues in the European landscape such as migration, citizenship and the legacies of colonialism? How do they contribute to a new idea of “Europe” and relate to Western categories of modernity? Are their critical tools effective enough?

The PIN – Postcolonial Intellectuals and their European Publics network, not only focuses on postcolonial intellectuals as outspoken individuals, but also challenges the traditional definition of the “public intellectual” by emphasizing the role of artists, writers, activists and social movements in shaping postcolonial publics and knowledges.
Postcolonial Intellectuals and their European Publics network    (PIN) brings together an international and interdisciplinary network of scholars to investigate the role of postcolonial public intellectuals as crucial actors in renewing the function of the humanities and of democratic participation in Europe.

Confirmed Keynote speakers:

Prof. Kaiama L. Glover, Associate  Professor of French and Africana Studies
Barnard College, Columbia University, USA.

Having received a B.A. in French History and Literature and Afro-American Studies from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in French and Romance Philology from Columbia University, Professor Glover joined the faculty in 2002. Her teaching and research interests include francophone literature, particularly that of Haiti and the French Antilles; colonialism and postcolonialism; and sub-Saharan francophone African cinema. She advises students in French, Africana Studies, Comparative Literature, and Human Rights. Her book, Haiti Unbound: A Spiralist Challenge to the Postcolonial Canon (Liverpool UP 2010), addresses the general issue of canon formation in the francophone Caribbean and the particular fate of the Haitian Spiralist authors vis-à-vis this canon. She has published articles in The French ReviewSmall AxeResearch in African LiteraturesThe Journal of Postcolonial Writings, and The Journal of Haitian Studies, among others, and is currently at work on a project that addresses literary representations of self-care in Caribbean prose fiction as ethical practices for women living in coercive communities.

Prof. Awam Amkpa, Associate Professor, New York University, Tisch School Of The Arts

Trained as a dramatist, documentary filmmaker and scholar of theatre and film, Awam Ampka teaches Drama at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Africana Studies and Social and Cultural Analysis in NYU’s College of Arts and Sciences and is global visiting professor at NYU Abu Dhabi.  Former Senior Lecturer of Drama and Television at King Alfred’s University College, Winchester, England, and Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at Mount Holyoke College. Author of Theatre and Postcolonial Desires, London: Routledge, 2003 and forthcoming Archetypes, Stereotypes and Polytypes: Theatres of the Black Atlantic. Director of film documentaries such as Winds Against Our SoulsIts All About DowntownNational Images and Transnational Desires, and feature film Wazobia! Author of several articles in books and journals on Modernisms in TheatrePostcolonial theatreBlack Atlantic Issues, and Film studies. Awam Ampka is also a curator of visual and performing arts. He recently curated, Resignifications for Manifesta 12, Palermo, Lines Motions and Rituals in New York, Significaciones in Havana, Cuba, ReSignifications in Florence, Italy and the international traveling exhibition Africa: See You, See Me. Amkpa is co-founder and co-curator of ‘Real Life Pan-African Documentary Film Festival’ in Accra, Ghana.

Practical information: 5 - 6 February 2019
Time: Day 1 9:00 - 20:00
          Day 2 9:30 - 18:30 
Location: Drift 21, room 0.05. Sweelinckzaal (entrance drift 27)

Photo courtesy of  © Omar Victor Diop, Sashakara, 2016, Le Studio des Vanités

Book Launch: Postcolonial Intellectuals in Europe: Critics, Artists, Movements, and their Publics, ed. by Sandra Ponzanesi and Adriano José Habed

Among the confirmed speakers/contributors: 

Bolette B. Blagaard, Rosemarie Buikema, Gianmaria Colpani, Adriano Jose Habed, Wigbertson Julian Isenia, Koen Leurs, Jamila M.H. Mascat, Ana Christina Mendez, Sandra Ponzanesi, Mehdi Sajid, Neelam Svristava, Jesse van Amelsfoort

Response: Rosi Braidotti

Postcolonial intellectuals have engaged with and deeply impacted upon European society since the figure of the intellectual emerged at the beginning of the nineteenth Century. Yet a critical assessment and overview of their influential roles is long overdue, particularly in the light of contemporary debates in Europe and beyond. With interventions by Engis Isin, Gayatri C. Spivak and Bruce Robbins. Read more here

Practical information: 5 February 2019
Time: 16.30 - 18.30
Location: Drift 21, room 0.05. Sweelinckzaal (entrance drift 27)

Creating Spaces for Other Voices: Postcolonial Student Symposium

This symposium is set up using student feedback on the Postcolonial Studies Initiative survey where we asked students to write down the topics, speakers and theoretical content they are missing or would like to see addressed in Academia. Results show that students want more diversity of speakers and broaden academic traditions and mainstream canons. Moreover, students would like to know more about initiatives in their community and how to exercise their academic expertise in a practical way.

With this valuable input, we are organizing a symposium where students can engage with local student initiatives from a postcolonial perspective, network, socialize and attend workshops. First of all, there will be a marketplace where students can gain/ask for more information about local student actions. Secondly, the day will consist of speakers from different communities in Utrecht with student panel discussions aiming at exercising the practicality of their academic knowledge/skills. Thirdly, students can sign up for two workshops where there is an opportunity to go more in depth on specific postcolonial themes in the Dutch context, with the guidance of young student professionals.

Proudly we would like to introduce the power ladies speaking at the Creating Spaces: Student Symposium: Pravini Baboeram musician & activist involved with the International Institute for Scientific Research and volunteer at the Sarnámihuis. Patricia Kaersenhout visual artist, activist, and womanist. Sayonara Stutgard organizer of the Feminist Open Mic in Utrecht and hosts two book clubs: It's LIT YA & and a Postcolonial Book Club Aphra's Book Club. Alfie Vanwyngarden the Queen of Bonaire, afro feminist, freedom fighter and RMA Media Studies student. Furthermore, there will be performances and lectures by Decolonial artist; Patricia Kaersenhout, Sarnámihuis member & Echo: center of expertise for diversity policy program manager; Pravini Baboeram-Mahes, and many others.

This symposium is for students by students and aims at creating a comfortable space for students to come together and discuss diverse affirmative actions in their communities where a diversity in perspectives and approaches is valued.


10:00 Registration: Coffee & Registration for Lunch
10:45 Opening: Kick off by Emilie van Heydoorn, Research Master
Gender & Ethnicity Utrecht University & ECHO Ambassador:
11:00 – 13:00 - Creating Spaces for Other Voices: which stories
do we tell and who is listening?
Moderator: Rosa Wevers & Anne Punt

11:00 Pravini Baboeram, “Empowerment & Education: Experiences
within the Dutch Indian community.”
Student respondent: Louise Autar, RMA Gender & Ethnicity, UU

11:30 Sayonara Stutgard, “Your Story Matters,” Aphra’s Bookclub
Student respondent: Tjalling Valdes Olmos, RMA Gender &
Ethnicity, UU

12:00 Alexandra Greene, Screening of short documentary “Wave”
Student respondent: Madhuri Prabhakar, RMA Gender &
Ethnicity, UU

Statements, Discussion with all the speakers, students & audience

13:00 – 13:45 Lunch

14:00 – 16:00 - Creating Spaces: Working through Colonial Legacies
without Re-writing the Other
Moderator: Rosa Wevers & Anne Punt

14:00 Patricia Kaersenhout, Performance; Stitches of Power, Stitches of

14:30 Alfie Martis, “Decolonizing Bonaire: The Importance of Afro-
Caribbean Voices,” RMA Media Studies, UvA
Student respondents: Inez Scheerlinck, RMA Literature, UvA

14:55 Get together to discuss the workshops and divide groups.

Statements, Discussion with all the speakers, students & audience

15:00 – 16:00 - WORKSHOPS: Call for Action
With Max de Ploeg & Mitchell Esajas

15:00 Max de Ploeg; Workshop “The Importance of Autonomous Spaces”

15:00 Mitchell Esajas; Workshop “New Urban Collective”

Evaluation of the day and Closing remarks

16:00 – 17:00 Performance & Drinks!

Practical information: 
Date: 3 February
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: Casco- Lange Nieuwstraat 7, 3512 PA, Utrecht
Entrance: Free
Make a lunch reservation here
More information, head to the Facebook event here

KNAW Colloquium: 'Connected Migrants: Encapsulation or Cosmopolitanism'

Trippenhuis Building, Kloveniersburgwal 29, Amsterdam

December 14,  2016, 13.00hrs

Every day, Europeans witness Syrian asylum seekers arriving on the beaches of Greek and southern Italian islands. TV news footage shows how newly arrived migrants use smartphones to happily announce their safe arrival on European soil to loved ones elsewhere. In response, prejudicial discourses about migrants have centred on smartphones; for example, anti-immigrant politicians frame refugees who own ‘luxury’ smartphones as less deserving of asylum.

In sharp contrast, tech-savvy expatriates migrating in more privileged circumstances are welcomed with open arms to help Europe prepare for the future. These two groups embody Europe’s Janus-faced character in an age when mobile technology is being celebrated for increasing communication speed and economic prosperity.

In our contemporary world, migrants should be considered ‘connected migrants’. More than ever before, they can choose between different technologies to be in touch with loved ones living in their country of origin. This colloquium will address how the digital practices of migrants revolve around the dialectic of encapsulation and cosmopolitanism.

Previously, scholars singled out one or another of these processes. Homophily, the assumption that ‘birds of a feather flock together’, is popular among those who argue that transnational communication hinders integration and leads to segregation and radicalisation. However, scholars also contend that migrants can be present in both their host society and their homeland.

Seen this way, migrants can connect with co‐ethnics to form bonding capital and also develop bridging, cosmopolitan capital by connecting with their host society. Although contested, cosmopolitanism is indispensable as a ‘grounded category’ to capture everyday reflexive imaginations of openness between self, other and world among elite and subaltern subjects. For more information, click here

Confirmed speakers

Zygmunt Bauman  
Miyase Christensen 
Dana Diminescu
Alexander Dhoest
Godfried Engbersen
Radhika Gajjala
Myria Georgiou
Cees Hamelink 
Gavan Titley 
Nishant Shah
Sanjay Sharma
Kevin Smets
Huub Dijsselbloem
Farida Vis  
Roopika Risam
Saskia Witteborn

Kishonna Gray


Academy Colloquium & Master Class


This colloquium brings experts in the field together to acknowledge how boundary making and cosmopolitanisation operate simultaneously. It explores the social, cultural and political implications of migrant digital practices as grounded in everyday practice.

The programme will be divided into thematic sessions focusing on identity, rights, learning, political economy, radicalisation and surveillance, and other topics. Prior to the Academy Colloquium a one-day master class (14 December 2016) will be organised, intended for PhD students, post-docs and early-career researchers from the Netherlands and abroad.

Public Lecutre by Zygmunt Bauman: 

Liquid Modernity 

Zygmunt Bauman is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leeds, and he is one of the world's most eminent social theorists writing on a number of common themes, including globalisation, modernity and postmodernity, consumerism, and morality. Well known for his groundbreaking work Liquid Modernity (2000), he is the author of 57 books and over a hundred articles. Publications in recent years include monographs and co-authored books such as Strangers at our door, Babel, Liquid Evil, Practices of Selfhood, State of Crisis, Moral Blindness: The Loss of Sensitivity, and Liquid Modernity, Liquid Surveillance: A Conversation (all published with Polity).

Background information

Excerpt from a description of Strangers at our door:

‘Refugees from the violence of wars and the brutality of famished lives have knocked on other people's doors since the beginning of time. For the people behind the doors, these uninvited guests were always strangers, and strangers tend to generate fear and anxiety precisely because they are unknown. Today we find ourselves confronted with an extreme form of this historical dynamic, as our TV screens and newspapers are filled with accounts of a “migration crisis”, ostensibly overwhelming Europe and portending the collapse of our way of life. This anxious debate has given rise to a veritable “moral panic” – a feeling of fear spreading among a large number of people that some evil threatens the well-being of society.

In this short book, Zygmunt Bauman analyses the origins, contours and impact of this moral panic – he dissects, in short, the present-day migration panic. He shows how politicians have exploited fears and anxieties that have become widespread, especially among those who have already lost so much – the disinherited and the poor. But he argues that the policy of mutual separation, of building walls rather than bridges, is misguided. It may bring some short-term reassurance but it is doomed to fail in the long run. We are faced with a crisis of humanity, and the only exit from this crisis is to recognize our growing interdependence as a species and to find new ways to live together in solidarity and cooperation, amidst strangers who may hold opinions and preferences different from our own.’

In recent interviews, Prof. Bauman has reflected on such issues as social media, diaspora, the European project, identity, and multiculturalism.

For example in this El País interview ‘Social media are a trap’ Prof. Bauman argued:

‘I think we’re still following the principles of Versailles, when the idea of each nation’s right to self-rule was established. But that’s a fiction in today’s world, when there are no more homogeneous territories. Today, every society is just a collection of diasporas. People join the societies to which they are loyal and pay their taxes, but at the same time, they do not want to give up their identity. The connection between where you live and identity has been broken. The situation in Catalonia, as in Scotland or Lombardy, is a contradiction between tribal identity and citizenship. They are Europeans, but they don’t want to talk to Brussels via Madrid, but via Barcelona. The same logic is emerging in almost every country. We are still following the same principles established at the end of World War I, but there have been many changes in the world.’

‘The question of identity has changed from being something you are born with to a task: you have to create your own community. But communities aren’t created, and you either have one or you don’t. What the social networks can create is a substitute. The difference between a community and a network is that you belong to a community, but a network belongs to you. You feel in control. You can add friends if you wish, you can delete them if you wish. You are in control of the important people to whom you relate. People feel a little better as a result, because loneliness, abandonment, is the great fear in our individualist age. But it’s so easy to add or remove friends on the internet that people fail to learn the real social skills, which you need when you go to the street, when you go to your workplace, where you find lots of people who you need to enter into sensible interaction with. Pope Francis, who is a great man, gave his first interview after being elected to Eugenio Scalfari, an Italian journalist who is also a self-proclaimed atheist. It was a sign: real dialogue isn’t about talking to people who believe the same things as you. Social media don’t teach us dialogue because it is so easy to avoid controversy…’

Practical Information

Date: 15- 16 December, 2016
Location: Trippenhuis Building, Kloveniersburgwal 29, 1011 JV Amsterdam
Registration: Deadline for registration is 28 November 2016. Participation will be confirmed by 1 December 2016. Participants are requested to pay a registration fee of EUR 150.
Contact: Martine Wagenaar
For more information or to register, please visit the website of the KNAW.

PCI Annual Conference 

New Publications and Projects

Utrecht University, Drift 21, Sweelinckzaal

February 17,  2016, 13.00hrs

The Postcolonial Studies Initiative organizes its annual conference focusing on the exchange and sharing of information about the latest publications and projects of the PCI members from the Netherlands. 
The first part of the day will comprise presentations regarding the latest publications of the following authors: Rosemarie Buikema, Barnita Bagchi, Doro Wiese, Jolle Demmers, Christine Quinan, Sandra Ponzanesi, Koen Leurs, and Patricia Schor. The second part of the conference will be dedicated to the presentation of the Special Issue "The Point of Europe" (guest editor Sandra Ponzanesi, Interventions, 18.2, 2016). Sandra Ponzanesi, Rosemarie Buikema, Birgit Kaiser, and Kathrin Thiele will be presenting their articles that can be found in this special issue. 

The conference will be followed by the official book launch of the Postcolonial Transitions in Europe book (Sandra Ponzanesi and Gianmaria Colpani eds., Rowman and Littlefield, 2015).

Confirmed Speakers: Barnita Bagchi, Rosemarie Buikema, Gianmaria Colpani, Jolle Demmers, Birgit Kaiser, Koen Leurs, Sandra Ponzanesi, Christine Quinan, Mireille Rosello, Patricia Schor, Kathrin Thiele, Milica Trakilovic, Doro Wiese


13.00 Opening Sandra Ponzanesi

13.10 Rosemarie Buikema – ‘On Transitional Justice’

13.20 Barnita Bagchi – Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-cultural Exchanges in History of Education (Berghahn, 2014).

13.30 Doro Wiese – The Powers of the False: Reading, Writing, Thinking Beyond Truth and Fiction (Northwestern University Press)

13.40 Jolle Demmers – Theories of Violent Conflict : An Introduction (new edition 2016).

13.50 Christine Quinan – ‘Postcolonial Memory and Masculinity in Algeria: Alain Resnais' Absent Muriel’’ (forthcoming, Interventions).

14.00 Sandra Ponzanesi – Postcolonial Cultural Industry (Palgrave, 2014)

14.10 Koen Leurs – Digital Passages, Migrant Youth 2.0: diaspora, Gender and Youth Cultural Intersections (Amsterdam University Press, 2015)

14.20 Patricia Schor – ‘The Racialization of Public Space in the Netherlands’ (forthcoming).

14.30-15.00 coffee break

15.00-16.00 Presentation Special Issue

‘The Point of Europe.’ Interventions, vol. 18.2, 2016. (Guest Editor Sandra Ponzanesi)

Sandra Ponzanesi – ‘The Point of Europe: Postcolonial Entanglements,’ and ‘On the Waterfront. Truth and Fiction in Postcolonial Cinema from the South of Europe.’

Rosemarie Buikema – ‘The Revolt of the Object. Animated Drawings and the Colonial Archive: William Kentridge's Black Box Theatre.’

Birgit Kaiser and Kathrin Thiele – ‘Other Headings. Ben Jelloun, Derrida, Sansal and the Critique of Europe.’

16.00-17.00 Book Launch
Postcolonial Transitions in Europe. Context, Practices and Politics, Sandra Ponzanesi and Gianmaria Colpani (eds), London, Rowman and Littlefield, 2016

Presentations chapters:

Sandra Ponzanesi and Gianmaria Colpani: ‘Europe in Transitions.’

Mireille Rosello: ‘The Homeless, the Lawyer, and the Cardboard Sign: Charity in Contemporary Europe.’

Christine Quinan: ‘Hidden Memories: October 17, 1961, Charlie Hebdo, and Postcolonial Forgetting.’

Milica Trakilović: ‘Challenging Borders from the European Periphery’

Koen Leurs: ‘Young Londoners Remapping the Metropolis through Digital Media’

17.00 Drinks

For more information about the conference, please contact Prof.Sandra Ponzanesi,

International Symposium
The role of (Post)colonial Public Intellectuals in Europe:
 Figures, Ideas and Connections

Utrecht University, 28-29 January 2016

Sandra Ponzanesi, Umr Ryad, Remco Raben, 
and Bert van den Brink

Keynote Speaker:
 Prof. Engin Isin
 Professor of Citizenship, 
Politics and International Studies (Open University, UK)

Speakers: Elisabeth Buettner; Rosemarie Buikema; Quinsy Gario; Odile Heynders, Nancy Jouwe; Birgit Kaiser; Jamila Mascat; Sandro Mezzadra; Sandra Ponzanesi; Remco Raben; Umar Ryad; Mehdi Sajid; Neelam Srivastava; Bert van den Brink; Arnoud Visser

From left to right:
G. Spivak, J.Baldwin, S. de Beauvoir, S. Hall
N. Chomsky, C. Ngozi Adichie, P. Gilroy, E. Said
M. McCarthy, Malcom X, P.Sartre, V. Woolf
Public intellectuals such as Franz Fanon, Edward Said, Stuart Hall, Gayatri Spivak, Paul Gilroy or Tariq Ramadan among others have played a key role in the shaping of public opinion and contributing to a more balanced and nuanced understanding of the relation between Europe and its others, often present for centuries within.

This two-day symposium investigates the role and impact of ‘(post)colonial’ public intellectuals in Europe. What is an intellectual, and what is his/her role in the twentieth-first century? What is specific to ‘postcolonial’ intellectuals and how do they relate to past and present dynamics in Europe? Which are the figures, ideas, networks that they established across borders and time? The role of public intellectuals is particularly complex for (post)colonial intellectuals who juggle contending regimes of political representations, individual and collective, playing a crucial role among their community as well as in the host society.

By choosing a (post)colonial framework, and by focusing on intellectuals with networks across the globe and in Europe, this symposium attempts to analyse how postcolonial intellectuals contributed to new conceptions of the role of intelligentsia, and of concepts of equality, emancipation and transnational citizenship.

The workshop will focus on:
  • Definitions of the (postcolonial) Intellectual
  • (Post)colonial public figures and celebrities
  • Transnational public sphere
  • Gender and Religion
  • Citizenship and identity
  • Europe and cosmopolitanism
  • Media representations and reception

The symposium will pay attention to issues that epitomize the tensions between dominant concepts of citizenship and the role of immigrant intellectuals: freedom of speech; tensions between ‘objective’ civic institutions and processes of ethnic identification; gender and ethnic relations, and the transnational and viral character of social networks.
Though not limited to it, the focus will be on three periods (the interwar period, decolonization, multiculturalism), analyzing the transitions that the figure of the public intellectual underwent in these crucial periods. They relate to specific moments in the history of (post)colonial relations, to the main phases of the migration of intellectuals to Europe, as well as to various stages in the formation of European identities and the crystallization of a European Community or Union.

Participants with a background in political theory, philosophy, religious studies, gender and postcolonial theories, media studies, visual culture, history and international relations, conflict studies, sociology and cultural studies are particularly welcome.
The attendance to the conference is free of charge, but registration is encouraged. In order to participate please contact Adriano Habed,
Location: Utrecht University, Sweelinckzaal, Drift 21

The conference is sponsored by Utrecht University's strategic theme Institutions for Open Societies.


Day 1
Location: Drift 21, Sweelinckzaal, Utrecht

13.00-13.30   Registration & coffee

13.30-14.00   Opening
Sandra Ponzanesi (Utrecht University, NL)
The Postcolonial Intellectual: Entangled Histories and Interdisciplinary Connections.

14.00-15.00   Panel 1 – Histories and Legacies
Moderator: Birgit Meyer
Arnoud Visser (Utrecht University, NL).
Public Intellectuals before Modernity: Renaissance Humanism and the European Republic of Letters
R Mehdi Sajid (Utrecht University, NL).
Muslim Public Intellectuals in the First Half of the 20th Century – A Prelude to Postcolonial Theory

15.00-15.30   Coffee break

15.30-17.00   Panel 2 – Second Wave of Postcolonial Intellectuals
Moderator:  Bert van den Brink
Remco Raben (Utrecht University, NL).
The World of Conimex: Postcolonial Voices in the Netherlands in Comparative Perspective, 1950s-1960s
Elizabeth Buettner (University of Amsterdam, NL).
Worker Intellectuals: South Asians in Postcolonial Britain
Neelam Srivastava (University of Newcastle, UK).
Italy, Third-worldism, and Translation: A Reading of Letters between Frantz Fanon and Giovanni Pirelli

17.15-18.15  Keynote
Engin Isin (Open University, UK). 
Activist Intellectuals: Postcolonial Truth-telling Subjects

Day 2
Location: Drift 21, Sweelinckzaal, Utrecht

10.00-10.30   Registration & coffee

10.30-12.00   Panel 3 – Intellectuals and the Public
Moderator: Sandro Mezzadra
                        Umar Ryad (Utrecht University, NL).
"European Islam": A Counterpublic or a Rhetorical Public Sphere?
Bert van den Brink  (Utrecht University, NL).
The Criticism of Islamic Extremism: Voices in the Public Debate in the Netherlands
Jamila Mascat (University of Paris I - Sorbonne, FR and Istituto italiano per gli studi filosofici, Naples, IT).
Representation of an Intellectual: Criticism, Exile and Interference in Edward Said's Postcolonial Humanism

12.00-13.00   Lunch (provided)

13.00-14.30   Panel 4 – The Artist, the Writer, and the Critic as Intellectuals
Moderator: Sandra Ponzanesi
Odile Heynders (Tilburg University, NL).
The Satirical Perspective of a Public Intellectual: Hamed Abdel-Samad
Birgit Kaiser (Utrecht University, NL).
The Insurrection of Dust – Hélène Cixous and Adel Abdessemed on Affect, Art and Violence
Rosemarie Buikema (Utrecht University, NL).The Transformative Figurative Artist as Postcolonial Public Intellectual

14.30-15.00   Coffee break

15.00-16.00   Panel 5 – Intellectuals as Activists
Moderator: Remco Raben
Nancy Jouwe (University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, NL).
The 80s Black/Women of Colour Movement in the Netherlands - An Unknown Source of Knowledge Production and Inspiration
Quinsy Gario (NL).
Launching PAPI: Poging Andere Politieke Interventie (Attempting an Other Political Intervention)

16.00-17.00    Closing Remarks
                     Sandro Mezzadra (University of Bologna, IT and University of Western Sydney, AU).

Confirmed speakers


Sandra Ponzanesi, Professor of Gender and Postcolonial Studies (Utrecht University, NL). The Postcolonial Intellectual: Entangled Histories and Interdisciplinary Connections.
Remco Raben, Associate Professor of History of International Relations (Utrecht University, NL) and Professor of Postcolonial Cultural History and Literature (University of Amsterdam, NL).
The World of Conimex: Postcolonial Voices in the Netherlands in Comparative Perspective, 1950s-1960s.
Umar Ryad, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies (Utrecht University, NL).
"European Islam": A Counterpublic or a Rhetorical Public Sphere?
Bert van den Brink, Professor of Social and Political Philosophy (Utrecht University, NL).
The Criticism of Islamic Extremism: Voices in the Public Debate in the Netherlands

Keynote speaker:

Engin Isin
, Professor of Professor of Citizenship, Politics and International Studies (Open University, UK). 
Activist Intellectuals: Postcolonial Truth-telling Subjects


Elizabeth Buettner
, Professor of Modern History (University of Amsterdam, NL).
Worker Intellectuals: South Asians in Postcolonial Britain
Rosemarie Buikema, Professor of Art, Culture and Diversity (Utrecht University, NL).
The Transformative Figurative Artist as Postcolonial Public Intellectual
Quinsy Gario, Activist in the movement against Zwarte Piet and Performance Artist
Launching PAPI: Poging Andere Politieke Interventie (Attempting an Other Political Intervention)
Odile Heynders, Professor of Comparative Literature (Tilburg University, NL).
The Satirical Perspective of a Public Intellectual: Hamed Abdel-Samad
Nancy Jouwe, Researcher (University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, NL).
The 80s Black/Women of Colour Movement in the Netherlands - An Unknown Source of Knowledge Production and Inspiration
Birgit Kaiser, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature (Utrecht University, NL).
The Insurrection of Dust – Hélène Cixous and Adel Abdessemed on Affect, Art and Violence
Jamila Mascat, Researcher (University of Paris I - Sorbonne, France and at the Instituto italiano per gli studi filosofici, Naples, Italy).
Representation of an Intellectual: Criticism, Exile and Interference in Edward Said's Postcolonial Humanism
Mehdi Sajid, Researcher (Utrecht University, NL).
Muslim public intellectuals in the first half of the 20th Century – A prelude to postcolonial theory
Neelam Srivastava, Senior Lecturer (University of Newcastle, UK).
Italy, Third-worldism, and Translation: A reading of Letters between Frantz Fanon and Giovanni Pirelli
Arnoud Visser, Professor of Textual Culture in the Renaissance (Utrecht University, NL).
Public intellectuals before modernity: Renaissance humanism and the European Republic of letters

Sandro Mezzadra, Associate Professor of Political Theory (University of Bologna, Italy and University of Western Sydney, Australia).
Afterwords: Concluding Remarks

To download the programme and abstracts click here