Theory from the South with Borderlines

Olga Verlato and Antara Chakrabarti, contributing editors at Borderlines, talk about the concept of theory from the south, which critiques the notion that theory originating from the global north exhausts the possibilities of critical theoretical understanding.

Olga Verlato is a PhD candidate at New York University in History and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, and a Contributing Editor for the Middle East at Borderlines. She works on the modern history of Egypt and the Mediterranean, focusing on the impact of multilingual practices and language ideologies on politics, society, and culture.

Antara Chakrabarti is a Doctoral Student in the Sociocultural track of the Dept. of Anthropology in Columbia University. Her research strives to ethnographically and historically understand the intersections of environment, mobilities, and infrastructures in contemporary South Asia. She is a Contributing Editor for South Asia at Borderlines.

Borderlines is a student-run, open-access site mentored by the editors of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (CSSAAME). It seeks to rethink ideas of region and area studies by exploring different categories and histories within and across borderlines that have constructed areas of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Antara and Olga also interview Saronik about High Theory in this episode, about its origins and the work that it does. Find the full transcript of the episode at Borderlines.

Image: “Binoculars” © 2021 Saronik Bosu

Music used in promotional material: ‘Early Rising’ by Dlay

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Racial Affect

Oishani Sengupta talks about the felt experiences of racism, especially as they are represented in Victorian literature and its contemporary readership, which is the subject of her research. The conversation ranges from the novels of H. Rider Haggard and Charles Dickens to the felt experience of caste, as analyzed in the work of scholars like Junaid Shaikh.

Oishani Sengupta (@oishani on Twitter) is a PhD candidate at the University of Rochester exploring histories of racial affect and visual print culture in the nineteenth century British empire. Also the project coordinator of the William Blake Archive, she looks closely at racist illustration practices and their central role in colonial politics.

Image: Cover of the first French edition of H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines

Music used in promotional material: ‘Last Sigh’ by Holy Pain

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Decolonization

Kim speaks with Jini Kim Watson about decolonization.

In the episode she quotes John Kelly and Martha Kaplan’s book Represented Communities: Fiji and World Decolonization, University of Chicago Press, 2001. She also references Odd Arne Westad’s book The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times, Cambridge UP: 2005; Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Culture, Currey, 1986; Lorenzo Veracini’s work on settler colonialism and decolonization; and Patrick Wolfe’s argument that invasion and colonialism is not an event, but a structure.

To learn more about the “opening” at the moment of decolonization after WW2; she suggests you consult Gary Wilder, Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World, Duke UP, 2015.

Jini teaches in the English Department at NYU. Her book on decolonization in the Cold War, Cold War Reckonings: Authoritarianism and the Genres of Decolonization is forthcoming from Fordham University Press.

This week’s image is a 1942 proposed map for a New World Order.

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