Postcolonialism and Political Theory
8th MANCEPT Workshops in Political Theory
August 31-September 2, 2011 – University of Manchester, UK
Political theory has been late to come to the study of postcolonialism. This is remarkable, considering the overlap between the core questions of political theory and the ones studied by postcolonial theorists. In the past decade, the interest for postcolonial questions has slowly started to develop, but this budding interest is still little more than a marginal development in the field. The attention for postcolonial questions has been concentrated in the subdiscipline of the history of political theory, the study of the work of canonical figures and of the role of liberalism. In general, the attention has been erratic, and is based on the assumption that the relationship between political theory and colonialism and imperialism is nothing more than a historical coincidence.
Political theory defines its identity in opposition to what it is not, by drawing a sharp line between its inside and outside. Borders, boundaries and the policing of them are crucial to its identity. Thus, questions of colonialism and imperialism have been consistently constructed as part of political theory’s constitutive outside, even though political theory carries with it a legacy of complicity with colonial and imperial history.
The aim of this workshop is to reflect on the relationship between political theory and postcolonial studies. In particular, it aims to address the question of how postcolonial theory affects political theory. Does the pursuit of postcolonial questions transform political theory? How so? Does political theory have to be transformed in order to pursue these questions? Why is there such a dearth of political theory addressing these questions and engaging with postcolonial studies? What are the causes of this lack of interest? What are the implications and consequences of this lack, and how can we address it? Should political theory be decolonized? How? Does this lack take on a peculiar signification, importance, or urgency in the context of globalization?
We welcome papers from all traditions. We are particularly interested in papers which explore intersections with feminist theory and critical race theory; and which engage with the thought of postcolonial thinkers.
Please submit a title and a 300 to 500 word abstract to annelies.decat AT hiw.kuleuven.be by June 5. Your email should mention your contact details and institution.
For more information and registration, please go here.