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  • Critical Perspectives on Democratic Anti-Colonialism

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    The Critical Perspectives on Democratic Anti-Colonialism project brings together faculty and students across The New School interested in exploring the theoretical foundations and political manifestations of radical democratic and anticolonial traditions. It seeks to renew the critical tradition of The New School by incorporating scholarly debates, issues, and approaches that have not been adequately represented.

    Critical Perspectives on Democratic Anti-Colonialism focuses on struggles of peripheral peoples in countries of the core and the periphery, with the aim of making sense of the changing meanings and practices of plebeian forms of dissent, resistance, and self-rule that have surfaced in the modern and contemporary world. Those involved with the project critically examine dominant socio-institutional structures, power relations, and regimes of knowledge and the way plebeian groups reformulate, subvert, and generate emancipatory and heterodox alternatives.

    Three thematic areas guide the project: the history of concepts, contemporary debates, and critical methodologies. Events and classes will build on these areas, and discussions will combine theoretical and empirical readings to highlight the continuities and discontinuities that are part of radical democratic and anti-colonial traditions. Discussions will also examine recent "post-positivist" approaches and alternative epistemologies to the human sciences that grant primacy and centrality to intersubjectivity, interpretation, and performativity. 

    Writings from influential thinkers from core and peripheral countries — such as Karl Marx, Vera Zasulich, W.E.B. DuBois, Antonio Gramsci, José Carlos Mariátegui, Hannah Arendt, Frantz Fanon, Li Ta-chao, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyèwùmí, Maria Lugones, and the Latin American Dependency and Indian Subaltern Schools — feature prominently in the project. Their writings spotlight some of the most significant past and current debates in the field, including uneven and combined development, the boomerang effect of colonialism, indigenous anti-imperialism, Third Worldism, world systems and unequal exchange, critical race theory, decolonial feminism, and heterodox democratic and council formations. 

    Events

    The project hosts monthly workshops for affiliated faculty and graduate students at which they can present and comment on works-in-progress. Together with several NSSR departments, the project also co-hosts a lecture series featuring guest speakers and an annual distinguished lecture followed by a one- or two-day intensive seminar.  

    Upcoming events include:

    September 23, 6:00 p.m. EDT: Carlos Forment, Associate Professor of Sociology, NSSR — Bolivian Immigrants and the Right to Have Rights in Buenos Aires in the Wake of Austerity: An Alter-Native Translation of Balibarianism. Udeepta Chakravarty, PhD Sociology student, will be commenting
    October 21, 6:00 p.m. EDT: Michael Dobson, PhD Politics candidate, NSSR — Contesting OPEC: The Lost History of Democratic Anticolonial Oil Conservation
    November 18, 6:00 p.m. EDT: Lorenzo Ravano, postdoctoral fellow, Université Paris Nanterre — Presentation on the Notion of the Global South

    Past 2020-2021 events include:

    Against Terricide with Arturo Escobar 
    Why Austerity Persists
     with Jon Shefner
    The White Supremacy of Cultural Sociology: Toward a Critical Race Assessment
    with Crystal Fleming (watch video)
    Egypt's Occupation: Colonial Economism and the Crises of Capitalism
    , a book launch and roundtable with Aaron Jakes, Benoit Challand, Nancy Fraser, Julia Ott, Emma Park, and Ann Stoler (watch video)
    Living Phenomenology as a Decolonial Practice
     with Lewis Gordon

    For information about events, please email criticalperspectives@newschool.edu

    Courses

    Graduate courses connected to the project build on the three core themes and help students develop the theoretical, empirical, and methodological skills needed for rethinking established structures of political power and control, including state sovereignty, empire, nationalism, racialized and patriarchal capitalism, the North-South divide and the global color line, and the transnational commons and its political ecologies. New School graduate students can engage with issues and concerns shaping the project in these fall 2021 courses:

    GANT 5615: Unsettled Objects: Troubling Colonialism
    GANT 6232: Documentalities: Evidence Beyond Proof
    GECO6291: Economic Development II
    GECO5125 Comparative Economic Systems
    GECO 6323: Seminar in Economic Methodology
    GHIS 5240: Peripheries, Frontiers, and the Outside of Capital
    GHIS 5520: The Politics and Poetics of Infrastructure
    NINT 5000: Theories, Histories, and Practices of Development: Decolonizing International Affairs
    NINT 5220: Media, Culture and Global Politics
    NINT 5251: Political Economy of Development
    NEPS 5020: Indigenous Ecologies
    GSOC 6240: Capitalism and Settler Colonial Present in New York City
    GSOC 5006: Ethnographic Field Methods

    People

    Project Co-directors
    Carlos Forment, Associate Professor of Sociology
    Andreas Kalyvas, Associate Professor of Politics

    Affiliated Faculty  
    Jonathan Bach
    , Professor of Global Studies
    Chiara Bottici
    , Associate Professor of Philosophy
    Benoit Challand
    , Associate Professor of Sociology
    Ying Chen
    , Assistant Professor of Economics
    Sandipto Dasgupta
    , Assistant Professor of Politics
    Leonardo Figueroa Helland
    , Associate Professor of Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management
    Sakiko Fukuda-Parr
    , Professor of International Affairs
    Sean Jacobs
    , Associate Professor of International Affairs
    Aaron Jakes
    , Assistant Professor of History
    Clara Mattei
    , Assistant Professor of Economics
    Anne McNevin
    , Associate Professor of Politics
    Emma Park
    , Assistant Professor of History
    Ann Stoler
    , Willy Brandt Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and History
    Terry Williams
    , Professor of Sociology

    For more information, please contact Carlos Forment, Associate Professor of Sociology, at formentc@newschool.edu.

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