Colloquium: Decolonization as Tragic Drama: Traces of Guilt, Excitement and the Dilemmas of Contemporary Anti-colonialist Activism

  • Datum: 01.12.2020
  • Uhrzeit: 17:00
  • Vortragender: Yusuf Serunkuma
  • Ort: online
  • Gastgeber: Center for the History of Emotions
  • Kontakt:

The Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, led by Prof. Ute Frevert, cordially presents its winter semester 2020/2021 colloquium:


Decolonization as Tragic Drama: Traces of Guilt, Excitement and the Dilemmas of Contemporary Anti-colonialist Activism
Join the talk HERE
Meeting-Kennnummer/Zugriffscode: 174 569 8570;
Meeting Passwort: fQ3tWUV3WF2)

Journals of world renown, international media, African studies associations, and ivy league universities have stepped up efforts to grant scholars in formerly colonized places global visibility – in the spirit of the decolonization agenda. These efforts have included aiding and enabling them to publish in journals, speak or curate courses at universities, and act as experts on issues about Africa in the media. Part of this spirit intends to enable the telling of an “accurate” and “objective” African story. In truth, these efforts are actually counterproductive to the decolonization agenda. The positive energy and excitement these opportunities generate obscures the histories and power dynamics that govern global spaces. Driven by an acute sense of guilt on the part of western enablers/gatekeepers, global spaces are presented as benign spaces for presence and participation (yet, they rather grow out and are a projection of hegemony and control). On the other hand, once the African scholar finds themselves in this space – often profoundly exciting – it strikes them that they have no ground – financial and political – upon which their participation and presence is based. They also realize that the global audience is not their audience, but they have been conscripted to a regime of power transforming itself. This realization presents itself as a tragic dilemma.

Yusuf Serunkuma is a scholar based at the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR). He has an MPhil in Social Studies, and BA in Literature, both from Makerere University. Yusuf has been a visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale, Germany, and an AfOx guest scholar at Oxford University in the UK. Yusuf’s fieldwork focuses on Somaliland, where is interested in the ways in which nationalist sentiments are mobilised. Using the conceptual term “de-imagined communities,” he is trying to develop a theory of secessionist nationalism. Yusuf has also taught at Makerere University, the University of Mogadishu, and the University of Hargeisa.
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