ABOUT – We’re a group of scholars working across a number of fields and intellectual traditions. We come together to read and discuss new ideas with relevance to our own teaching and research. The group has a broad interest in developing our knowledge of Critical Race Theory as it pertains to a range of other social theory, empirical fields and geographical regions. With some important exceptions, Critical Race Theory is under-utilised in mainstream Australian scholarship and students in Australian universities do not have enough exposure to this rich, important and rapidly growing field of thought. By closely reading and debating new and old books in this field, we aim to enhance and enrich our research, teaching and practice in ways that further challenge the racial structures we are all embedded in. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, the Australian academy itself.
Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent
Our third book for 2021 is Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent, by Priyamvada Gopal and published by Verso.
August to October 2021
Description – How rebellious colonies changed British attitudes to empire. Insurgent Empire shows how Britain’s enslaved and colonial subjects were active agents in their own liberation. What is more, they shaped British ideas of freedom and emancipation back in the United Kingdom. Priyamvada Gopal examines a century of dissent on the question of empire and shows how British critics of empire were influenced by rebellions and resistance in the colonies, from the West Indies and East Africa to Egypt and India. In addition, a pivotal role in fomenting resistance was played by anticolonial campaigners based in London, right at the heart of empire. Much has been written on how colonized peoples took up British and European ideas and turned them against empire when making claims to freedom and self-determination. Insurgent Empire sets the record straight in demonstrating that these people were much more than victims of imperialism or, subsequently, the passive beneficiaries of an enlightened British conscience—they were insurgents whose legacies shaped and benefited the nation that once oppressed them.
Schedule – to be confirmed
|4th August 2021||12 – 1pm||Introduction||tbc|
|11th August 2021||12 – 1pm||1. The spirt of the sepoy host||tbc|
|18th August 2021||12 – 1pm||2. A barbaric Independence||tbc|
|25th August 2021||12 – 1pm||3. The Accidental Anticolonialist||tbc|
|1st September 2021||12 – 1pm||4. Passages to Internationalism||tbc|
|8th September 2021||12 – 1pm||5. The Interpreter of Insurgencies||tbc|
|15th September 2021||12 – 1pm||6. The Revolt of the Oppressed World||tbc|
|22nd September 2021||12 – 1pm||7. Black Voices Matter||tbc|
|6th October 2021||12 – 1pm||8. Internationalising African Opinion||tbc|
|13th October 2021||12 – 1pm||9. Smash Our Own Imperialism||tbc|
|20th October 2021||12 – 1pm||10. A Terrible Assertion of Discontent||tbc|
|27th October 2021||12 – 1pm||Epilogue||tbc|
(B)ordering Britain: Law, Race and Empire
Our second book for 2021 is (B)ordering Britain: Law, race and empire by Nadine El-Enany and published by Manchester University Press.
April to May 2021
Description – (B)ordering Britain argues that Britain is the spoils of empire, its immigration law is colonial violence and irregular immigration is anti-colonial resistance. In announcing itself as postcolonial through immigration and nationality laws passed in the 60s, 70s and 80s, Britain cut itself off symbolically and physically from its colonies and the Commonwealth, taking with it what it had plundered. This imperial vanishing act cast Britain’s colonial history into the shadows. The British Empire, about which Britons know little, can be remembered fondly as a moment of past glory, as a gift once given to the world. Meanwhile immigration laws are justified on the basis that they keep the undeserving hordes out. In fact, immigration laws are acts of colonial seizure and violence. They obstruct the vast majority of racialised people from accessing colonial wealth amassed in the course of colonial conquest. Regardless of what the law, media and political discourse dictate, people with personal, ancestral or geographical links to colonialism, or those existing under the weight of its legacy of race and racism, have every right to come to Britain and take back what is theirs.
Schedule – to be confirmed
|14th April 2021||12 – 1pm||Introduction: Britain as the spoils of empire||tbc|
|21st April 2021||12 – 1pm||1. Bordering and ordering||Shanthi Robertson|
|28th April 2021||12 – 1pm||2. Aliens: immigration law’s racial architecture||tbc|
|5th May 2021||12 – 1pm||3. Subjects and citizens: cordoning off colonial spoils||tbc|
|12th May 2021||12 – 1pm||4. Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers: predictable arrivals||tbc|
|19th May 2021||12 – 1pm||5. European citizens and third country nationals: Europe’s colonial embrace||tbc|
|26th May 2021||12 – 1pm||Conclusion: ‘Go home’ as an invitation to stay||tbc|
Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World
Our first book for 2021 is Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World by Gary Wilder and published by Duke University Press.
February to March 2021
Description – Freedom Time reconsiders decolonization from the perspectives of Aimé Césaire (Martinique) and Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal) who, beginning in 1945, promoted self-determination without state sovereignty. As politicians, public intellectuals, and poets they struggled to transform imperial France into a democratic federation, with former colonies as autonomous members of a transcontinental polity. In so doing, they revitalized past but unrealized political projects and anticipated impossible futures by acting as if they had already arrived. Refusing to reduce colonial emancipation to national independence, they regarded decolonization as an opportunity to remake the world, reconcile peoples, and realize humanity’s potential. Emphasizing the link between politics and aesthetics, Gary Wilder reads Césaire and Senghor as pragmatic utopians, situated humanists, and concrete cosmopolitans whose postwar insights can illuminate current debates about self-management, postnational politics, and planetary solidarity. Freedom Time invites scholars to decolonize intellectual history and globalize critical theory, to analyze the temporal dimensions of political life, and to question the territorialist assumptions of contemporary historiography.
The University of Sydney Library link here
Schedule – to be confirmed
|3rd February 2021||12 – 1pm||1. Unthinking France, Rethinking Decolonization||Adam Morton|
|10th February 2021||12 – 1pm||2. Situating Césaire: Antillean Awakening and Global Redemption||Sha Liu|
|17th February 2021||12 – 1pm||3. Situating Senghor: African Hospitality and Human Solidarity||Caitlin Buckle|
|24th February 2021||12 – 1pm||4. Freedom, Time, Territory||Dallas Rogers|
|3rd March 2021||12 – 1pm||5. Departmentalization and the Spirit of Schoelcher||tbc|
|10th March 2021||12 – 1pm||6. Federalism and the Future of France||tbc|
|17th March 2021||12 – 1pm||7. Antillean Autonomy and the Legacy of Louverture||tbc|
|24th March 2021||12 – 1pm||8. African Socialism and the Fate of the World||Rebecca Clements|
|31st March 2021||12 – 1pm||9. Decolonization and Postnational Democracy||Naama Blatman|
Theft Is Property! Dispossession and Critical Theory
Our first book for 2020 is Theft Is Property! Dispossession and Critical Theory byRobert Nichols and published by Duke University Press.
November to December 2020
Description – Drawing on Indigenous peoples’ struggles against settler colonialism, Theft Is Property! reconstructs the concept of dispossession as a means of explaining how shifting configurations of law, property, race, and rights have functioned as modes of governance, both historically and in the present. Through close analysis of arguments by Indigenous scholars and activists from the nineteenth century to the present, Robert Nichols argues that dispossession has come to name a unique recursive process whereby systematic theft is the mechanism by which property relations are generated. In so doing, Nichols also brings long-standing debates in anarchist, Black radical, feminist, Marxist, and postcolonial thought into direct conversation with the frequently overlooked intellectual contributions of Indigenous peoples.
|11th November 2020||12pm – 1pm||Introduction
1. That Sole and Despotic Dominion
|18th November 2020||1pm – 2pm||2. Marx, after the Feast||Adam Morton|
|25th November 2020||12pm – 1pm||3. Indigenous Structural Critique||Naama Blatman|
|2nd December 2020||12pm – 1pm||4. Dilemmas of Self-Ownership, Rituals of Antiwill||Alistair Sisson|
|9th December 2020||12pm – 1pm||Conclusion||Pratichi Chatterjee|