Critical History Today: Tensions of Empires
Monday, September 16, 2019 at 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Wolff Conference Room, Room D1103, Albert and Vera List Academic Center 6 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003, Room D1103
Join the History Department for a conversation with Frederick Cooper & Ann Laura Stoler, publishers of the groundbreaking edited collection, Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World. This event will also feature Andrew Ivaska & Judith Surkis.
In the introduction, Cooper and Stoler challenged the conventional wisdom that the metropoles of Europe simply exported strategies of governance and normative cultural values to their colonies, and instead insisted that the developments in the colonies and the metropole must be held together in a single analytic frame. This was not simply a methodological commitment but was the product of a specific historical conjuncture. Colonialism following the Enlightenment was burdened with an increasingly prevalent series of postulates about universalisms, on the one hand, and the expansion of overseas empires premised on the logic of difference, on the other. Holding together these countervailing tendencies—never an easy task, particularly as colonized populations mobilized promised universalisms in a bid to secure more desirable futures—critically shaped dynamics at the colonial interface.
In this conversation, Andrew Ivaska (Concordia University) and Judith Surkis (Rutgers) will reflect on the contributions of this line of thinking to their own work and to the field of (post)colonial studies more broadly. They will ask Cooper and Stoler to reflect on the impact of the volume and engage in a debate over the future directions of critically informed historical-anthropology for our understanding of the fraught and often contradictory field of colonial history.
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