Theories of the Global South

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Oct 25, 2019

The Program in Critical Theory’s Fall 2019 working group, Theories of the Global South, will host its third meeting on October 25 from 12-2 pm in 7415 Dwinelle Hall. To prepare, the co-conveners, Donna Honarpisheh (Comparative Literature) and Devin Choudhury (Rhetoric) kindly request that participants read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2—entitled “The Subject of Race” and “The Well of Fantasies,” respectively—of Achille Mbembe’s Critique of Black Reason.

This working group will also convene on the following dates: November 5th, and November 19th. On the 19th, we will be joined by Professor Sharad Chari, of UC Berkeley’s Department of Geography.

The Theories of the Global South working group will aim to promote interdisciplinary inquiry into works of literature and film, critical theory, critical race studies, science and technology studies, and history produced in and with the Global South, with particular interest in texts that further understandings of decolonial methodologies and postcolonial ways of knowing. Each semester, the group will take on a series of pressing global questions–ethical, political, and aesthetic–and in doing so will draw from sources across disciplines, languages and regions. The group will examine the history of postcolonial theory, considering its root concerns of the limits of representation and knowledge production, critiques of the nation-state, and the transformation of life forms under colonial and postcolonial modernity; in this pursuit, we will also consider how the methods and questions of postcolonial theory have transformed in contemporary works, namely, how works of the Global South continue to grapple with the problems of state violence, global inequality, and environmental crises. In our method as well as our critical inquiries, we will reflect on varied imaginings of the world and the contemporary critiques and coalitions that emerge from these epistemological frameworks. In doing so, we will entangle ourselves in contemporary theory to explore and move towards a multi-epistemic world and a cosmo-political universe of co-existence and critical possibility.