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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