Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Platform for Postcolonial Readings


You can find an overview of events organized by the Platform for Post-Colonial Readings below.

Upcoming event

The exact details for the next event will be announced at a later date.

Past events

Since the publication of Edward W. Said’s Orientalism (1978), the stereotyping of Eastern societies and people in Western discourse has continued to be a topic of academic debate. The enormous political and economic turnaround of China in recent decades in particular has prompted postcolonial and other scholars to take a renewed interest in Orientalist discourses, with new modes of Orientalism being distinguished, such as AntiOrientalism, Self-Orientalism, Sinological Orientalism, Digital Orientalism. This meeting of the Platform for Postcolonial Readings aims to discuss the new branches of Orientalist criticism that have developed especially in response to the changing dynamics between Eastern and Western cultural powers.

The programme for this event can be found here.

Acknowledging that the decolonisation of academia in Flanders and the Netherlands has scarcely begun, and that the grammar of race is intricately entwined with humanities research and its objects of study, we dedicate this meeting of the Platform for Postcolonial Readings to a thorough examination of the multiple layers of whiteness that mark Neerlandophone literature as well as Dutch literary studies. We aim to address the invisibility of whiteness, probing whiteness as a key component of the grammar of race in Dutch and Flemish society and as an unmarked and under-analyzed presence in many works of Neerlandophone literature. In exposing and exploring the many shades of this Dutch and Flemish whiteness, recognising yet also moving beyond the highly discursive notions of white privilege and white innocence, we hope to fathom what whiteness has meant and continues to mean in Neerlandophone literature.

The programme for this event can be found here.

In this meeting of the Platform for Postcolonial Readings, we take a cue from our key-note speaker Prof. dr. Francesca Orsini to consider the production of world literature from the perspective of “multilingual locals” and “significant geographies”. She aims to pluralize our understanding of world literature and to foreground the subjectivity and positionality of its actors. After all, many of the literary works that travel beyond their original contexts of production never become visible in a truly global way, but circulate in particular geographies and across specific languages. During the meeting we will discuss how these new approaches problematize and reinvigorate the concept of world literature, and examine its applicability to the fields of postcolonial and globalisation studies.

The programme for this event can be found here.

In recent years, ‘protest’ has become one of the keywords in describing and fashioning forms of resistance that address the nexus of social, political and economic injustice locally and globally – from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, from Gezi Park to Euromaidan, anti-corruption protests in Russia to #FeesMustFall in South Africa. In all these events and movements, re-actualisations of the past and contestations of present-day memory politics have played a prominent role. As this feature deserves more attention, particularly in a comparative frame, this meeting of the Platform for Postcolonial Readings seeks to address the mentioned processes at the interfaces of postcolonial and post-socialist studies and at the interstices of (former) ‘East’ and ‘West’ and has invited Dr. Mischa Gabowitsch for a key-note lecture that starts the discussion.

In this meeting we examine the possible merits and limitations of a postcolonial aesthetic (to-be). Since the turn of 21st century, critics have been debating and/or calling for an aesthetic turn in postcolonial studies. Having once revolutionized scholarly practice by instigating the revision of the exclusively ‘white’ canon, the field increasingly has come under scrutiny for treating postcolonial works of art primarily as socio-political documents that inform especially metropolitan audiences in the West about ‘Third World’ and ‘minority’ experiences. In the new millennium, scholars are no longer presuming representation in postcolonial art to be unproblematized by its mediation. But what should a critical framework for addressing the aesthetic dimension of postcolonial art look like? After a key-note lecture by Prof. dr. Sandra Heinen we will embark on a discussion of this question.

The programme for this event can be found here.

The upcoming workshop of the Platform for Postcolonial Readings will be devoted to a postcolonial reflection on the capacities and limits of art and literature when it comes to giving a voice to refugees. According to literary scholar Bishupal Limbu “[t]o be a refugee is to lose certain rights, and in the absence of these rights, a person is no longer recognizable as such, devoid of significance, and meaningless to prevailing schemes of representation” (2009). Taking this claim as our starting point, we will ask ourselves if, and if so how, literature, visual art and cinema can artistically represent lives that are severed from representation politically? Are there modes of artistic representation available and/or imaginable that succeed in effectively and non-reductively voicing the migrant experience, in many cases a liminal experience that appears beyond words and images? Can art give voice to those who are generally seen as voiceless? And is doing so a responsibility, a challenge or rather an undesirable instance of appropriation and ultimately silencing? We have invited Dr. Sudeep Dasgupta to share his thoughts on the matter and open the discussion of these questions.

The programme for this event can be found here.

On the occasion of the ongoing renovation of the Royal Museum for Central Africa at Tervuren (Belgium) and the drastic budget cuts faced by the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam), we devote this Platform meeting to a postcolonial reflection on the limits and possibilities of such museums in the 21st century. Museums exhibiting Europe’s colonial legacy have increasingly been subjected to criticism. Postcolonial theories of decolonization prompt us to reconsider the museums’ (neo-)colonial relations and to examine the possibilities of decolonization, as well as to perceive, articulate and possibly transcend the limitations of decolonization. We have invited Wayne Modest and Bambi Ceuppens as representatives of the above-mentioned museums to share their thoughts and open a discussion on the challenges of a radical postcolonial museum.

The programme for this event can be found here.

This meeting of the Platform for Postcolonial Readings is dedicated to the topic of Dutch Racism as explored in the volume Dutch Racism, edited by Philomena Essed and Isabel Hoving. This book is the first of its kind to present a comprehensive picture of the nature of (often-denied) Dutch racism. Its various contributions demonstrate how Dutch racism operates within and beyond the national borders, how it is shaped by European and global influences, and in what ways intersects with other systems of domination. We have invited Prof. dr. Gloria Wekker and Dr. Guno Jones to be the first to respond to the volume and to the issues that it raises, and to initiate the discussion on this important book.

The programme for this event can be found here.

  • Platform Meeting The Enduring Legacy of Aimé Césaire in Contemporary Postcolonial Culture (26 June 2013) Programme
  • Platform Meeting MONEY (18 January 2013) Programme
  • The Upsurge of Autochthony Politics, Rhetorics and Aesthetics (22 June 2012) Programme
  • Eco-Poco or The Ecocritical Turn Through Postcolonial Eyes (16 May 2012) Programme
  • How to Theorize Actuality Mediterranean Revolutions, Postcolonial Questions (28 October 2011) Programme
  • Translation, Globalization & Politics (21 January 2011)
  • The Politics of Demonizing (25 June 2010)
  • World & Mapping (22 January 2010)
  • Bloody Boundaries (5 & 6 June 2008)
  • Critique of Postcolonial Reason (15 June 2007)
  • Inbetweenness & Hybridity (9 Febuary 2007)
  • Absolutely Postcolonial (24 November 2006)
  • Empire (28 April 2006)
  • Launch of Platform (3 March 2006)
This website uses cookies.  More information.