Decolonizing Enlightenment: Affirmative Sabotage of the Master’s Tools – Prof. Dr. Nikita Dhawan

Review 06.05. – Prof. Dr. Nikita Dhawan’s Lecture on “Decolonizing Enlightenment: Affirmative Sabotage of the Master`s Tools”

Prof. Dr. Dhawan
Prof. Dr. Dhawan

For the third talk of the lecture series, we were very pleased to welcome Prof. Dhawan, who in her speech addressed the crucial question: whether norms of justice, human rights and democracy enable disenfranchised communities or do they simply reinforce relations of domination between those who are constituted as dispensers of justice, rights and aid, and those who are coded as receivers? Prof. Dhawan is an expert of postcolonial-queer-feminism and is also well known for her political activism.

In her talk, which drew the biggest audience we had till now, Prof. Dhawan focused on key issues and discussions of contemporary international relations by engaging with the challenges and prospects of the politics of cosmopolitanism in a postcolonial world. She argued that the figure of the ‘cosmopolitan’ has gained renewed prominence in current political thought as an agent of global justice, peace and democracy. In the face of increased transnational movement of capital, commodities, people, ideas, and images, cosmopolitans seemingly overcome narrow territorial-based affiliations in favour of an allegiance to all of humanity. Such an expansive consciousness of world citizenship has the pursuit of ‘solidarity across borders’ as its normative ideal. Despite well-intentioned efforts to offer a more critical version of plural and discrepant cosmopolitan identities which challenge the Eurocentric and androcentric bias as well the imperial origins of cosmopolitanism, the international civil society risks reproducing imperial relations of power transnationally and hinders the processes of decolonization and desubalternization.

By giving many thought-provoking examples in her talk, Prof. Dhawan encouraged the audience to rethink their understanding of politics in a postcolonial world. Our gratitude goes out Prof. Nikita Dhawan for this very inspiring speech and we hope to welcome you all back in one of the following readings!


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