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Workshop "Activist Scholarship in the Global Sixties: The Contestation of Imperial Hegemonies in Knowledge Production"

October 7th 2022

The 1960s have long been analyzed through the lens of global history. Besides the fascination held by scholars and participant observers with the transnational political and social effervescence of this decade, an increasing number of critical studies have questioned the relevance and limits of the global paradigm, and drawn attention to more complex dynamics, with a special focus on neglected non-Western geographies and differentiated experiences. Along with the blossoming of new types of protest movements, leftist groups, students’ initiatives, grassroots organizations and counterculture movements, the anti-imperial struggles and post-colonial realities dominated this decade. While geopolitical dynamics were reshaped by the Cold War and the affirmation of the Third World, in the Western world and in the global South, university campuses became contentious spaces of activism, protests and debates, but also laboratories for new pedagogical experiences and production of decolonized knowledge.

This workshop aims to shed new light on local experiences of activist scholarship promoting a critical understanding of colonialism and post-colonialism in the 1960s. By bringing together original case studies pertaining to different geographies, this workshop also hopes to initiate a fruitful conversation on connected dynamics of activism, knowledge production and debates on empires and colonialism in the wake of the post-WWII decolonization wave. In a time when post-colonial studies and the “Decolonizing Curriculum” movements have gained influence and visibility in academic production and on campuses, while being increasingly debated and criticized in the political sphere, this meeting will thus contribute to historicize the complex relationship of anti-colonial/post-colonial activism and knowledge production, and question the legacy of this period in today’s global academia.

The workshop will welcome case studies pertaining to different colonial/post-colonial geographies, as well as transnational collaborations and conceptualizations of empires and colonialism in knowledge production and teaching during the 1960s. Presentations may focus on individual trajectories, significant concepts and studies, group dynamics as well as institutional transformations related to the contestation of imperial hegemonies in scholarship and academic practices.

Organizers: Meta Cramer (University of Freiburg, GRK 2571), Özgür Sevgi Göral (İNALCO, Paris), Noémi Lévy-Aksu (University of Freiburg, GRK 2571/Hafıza Merkezi-Truth Justice Memory Center, Istanbul)