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Decolonising Europe

What is Europe’s place in the world in 2020? | Online Lecture Series

What is Europe’s place in the world in 2020? Both societal and academic debates have brought up this question. Increasingly, scholars have turned to decolonial studies to rethink Europe’s place and to answer this important question.

Increasingly, scholars have turned to decolonial studies to rethink Europe’s place and to answer this important question. The call for decolonisation has opened up diverse reactions and debates from various academic disciplines.

This online series provides an opportunity for engaging with scholars and academic debates in decolonialism, and to reflect and learn more about a variety of approaches and topics. During the online seminars we will address questions such as:  What does ‘decolonising Europe’ mean? Why and how did the decolonialising research agenda emerge? What new research avenues do decolonial approaches bring? In what ways does decolonial thinking make visible academic and societal issues and topics that have not received adequate attention so far? How can we work with decolonial methodologies and theories in our daily research activities?

The series will cover interventions by academics from institutions around the world to critically engage with our understanding of Europe. There is opportunity to engage with established scholars in this field, explore decolonial literature and research, and to reflect on the broader societal and political stakes of rethinking Europe’s place in the world.

The Decolonising Europe Lecture Series is convened by: Beste İşleyen and Tasniem Anwar

  • Decolonising Europe 1 | Eurocentrism
    Decolonising Europe 1 | Eurocentrism

    The online series 'Decolonising Europe' starts with a session exploring what 'Eurocentrism' means. How did the term emerge and why was it necessary? In this session the origins and implications of ‘Eurocentric’ views on international politics will be discussed, and possible avenues of thinking differently and what it entails to do research from non-European perspective will be explored. With Gurminder Bhambra (University of Sussex) and Darshan Vigneswaran (University of Amsterdam). Moderator: Beste İşleyen

  • Decolonising Europe 2 | Who gets to speak? The exclusion of voices in academia and society
    Who gets to speak? The exclusion of voices in academia and society

    This is the second session of the ACES online lecture series Decolonising Europe in International Politics. In this session the focus will be on the erasure and silencing of voices that point to the traces of colonialism and racism in academia. How can we understand institutional racism that exists in academia? And how does it inform our knowledge production? And what are the broader societal consequences of racism, and particularly anti-black sentiments in science?


    • Robbie Shilliam - Professor of International Relations, Johns Hopkins University
    • Nivi Manchanda - Senior Lecturer in International Politics at Queen Mary University of London
  • Decolonising Europe 3 | Rethinking European-Ottoman Encounters
    Rethinking European-Ottoman Encounters

    This is the third session of the ACES online lecture series Decolonising Europe in International Politics. In this third session the history of Euro-Ottoman relations will be revisited to understand and analyse perceptions, attitudes and interactions in topics of Islam, democracy and capitalism.

    The speakers will discuss European reactions to the abolishment of the Caliphate, reflect on discursive continuities between the past and the present, the Arab Uprisings and debate the origins of capitalism.


    • Senem Aydın-Düzgit Professor of International Relations, Sabancı University and Senior Scholar and Research and Academic Affairs Coordinator at the Istanbul Policy Center
    • Cemal Burak Tansel - Lecturer in International Politics, University of Sheffield
  • Decolonising Europe 4 | Europe and Colonial ‘Lives’ in North Africa
    Europe and Colonial ‘Lives’ in North Africa

    This is the fourth session of the ACES online lecture series Decolonising Europe in International Politics. The fourth session is the special book edition of the online series. We speak with Sara Salem about her new book “Anticolonial Afterlives in Egypt: The Politics of Hegemony”. The book analyses the afterlives of Egypt’s moment of decolonisation through an imagined conversation between Gramsci and Fanon around questions of anticolonialism, resistance, revolution and liberation.


    Sara Salem - Assistant Professor at the London School of Economics

  • Decolonising Europe 5 | Decolonising the curriculum
    Decolonising the curriculum

    This is the fifth and last session before the summer break of the ACES online lecture series Decolonising Europe in International Politics. In this final session the discussion will focus on the practical applications of decolonial theories. The panel will discuss how to decolonize the curriculum in practice, and how to apply a decolonial approach to our teaching and researching.


    • Rosalba Icaza - International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) 
    • Michael Onyebuchi Eze - Lecturer at the department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam
  • Decolonising Europe 6 | Decolonising Indonesia - Extraction, property and race
    Decolonising Indonesia - Extraction, property and race

    This is the sixth session of the lecture series 'Decolonising Europe''. With a particular focus on Indonesia, the speakers adopt a historical colonial perspective on issues of economic expropriation and ecological destruction. They will trace the colonial ties of current economic conditions and practices in Indonesia, along with the country’s position in the world market. They highlight how past interventions by the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch colonial state have set the conditions for extraction, land grabbing and cultivation of indigenous knowledge, whose effects are still shaping realities on the ground. The speakers will also critically investigate the apparently affirmative labels, such as the ‘emerging market’, and their connections with colonial activities and relations.


    • Lisa Tilley - Lecturer in Politics, Birkbeck University London
    • Tamara Soukotta - PhD researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies (IISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam 
  • Decolonising Europe 7 | Decolonising the museum & art: Collections, colonialism & curators
    Decolonising the museum & art: Collections, colonialism & curators

    During this panel conversation we will delve into the question of how to decolonize the museum and art spaces. Museums and displays of art are important spaces where narratives of histories and peoples are constructed and maintained. There has been a continuous debate in several European countries on which artefacts are included in exhibitions, why certain histories on colonialism and slavery are made invisible and how museums can renegotiate their position in contemporary societies. In this panel we reflect on how museums can or should deal with their own colonial pasts or attachments, and how they attempt to design exhibitions in a way that challenges or disrupts a Eurocentric view on the world. 


    • Quinsy Gario - Independent artist 
    • Chiara de Cesari - Associate professor, University of Amsterdam
    • Wayne Modest - Head of the Research Center of Material Culture
  • Decolonising Europe 8 | Provincialising Europe
    Provincialising Europe

    In this session, we host Prof. Dipesh Chakrabarty - a leading scholar in postcolonial thought and subaltern studies. Prof. Chakrabarty’s book Provincializing Europe has been ground-breaking in the social sciences regarding Eurocentric accounts of the origins of modernity. This week’s session focuses on Prof. Chakrabarty’s ongoing work on the phenomenon of global warming. We discuss how certain narratives of human history, which center Europe in scientific and popular discussions, have conditioned the way global warming, its causes and solutions have been understood, framed and debated.  In particular, we ask what it means to provincialize Europe in relation to the Anthropocene debate and discuss ways for a rethinking of the global warming discourse with regard to, for example, scales of time, human-centered versus planet-centered thinking and moral questions of culpability and responsibility.

  • Decolonising Europe 9 | Sovereignty and political authority
    Sovereignty and political authority

    This session invites us to rethink the concept of sovereignty and Europe. While the notion of sovereignty has come up multiple times in previous sessions, we are now joined by two speakers who will discuss in-depth why and how the study of sovereignty has largely been Euro-centric in the mainstream International Relations literature.


    • Ayşe Zarakol - Reader in International Relations in the POLIS Department and a Fellow at Emmanuel College
    • Xavier Mathieu - University of Liverpool
  • Decolonising Europe 10 | Decolonising Migration
    Decolonising Migration

    In the 10th session of Decolonising Europe, Polly Pallister Wilkins will interview Nadine El-Enany. They will discuss her book: (B)ordering Britain: Law, Race and Empire.

    (B)ordering Britain argues that Britain is the spoils of empire, its immigration law is colonial violence and irregular immigration is anti-colonial resistance. In announcing itself as postcolonial through immigration and nationality laws passed in the 60s, 70s and 80s, Britain cut itself off symbolically and physically from its colonies and the Commonwealth, taking with it what it had plundered. This imperial vanishing act cast Britain's colonial history into the shadows. The British Empire, about which Britons know little, can be remembered fondly as a moment of past glory, as a gift once given to the world. Meanwhile immigration laws are justified on the basis that they keep the undeserving hordes out. In fact, immigration laws are acts of colonial seizure and violence. They obstruct the vast majority of racialised people from accessing colonial wealth amassed in the course of colonial conquest. Regardless of what the law, media and political discourse dictate, people with personal, ancestral or geographical links to colonialism, or those existing under the weight of its legacy of race and racism, have every right to come to Britain and take back what is theirs.


    • Nadine El-Enany -Senior Lecturer in Law at Birkbeck School of Law & Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Law (@CentreRaceLaw) 
  • Decolonising Europe 11 | Decolonising Humanitarianism
    Decolonising Humanitarianism

    The session is organised by the guest moderator by Polly Pallister-Wilkins. Together with Farhana Sultana, and Tobias Denskus, she will discuss the topic of decolonising humanitarianism.


    • Tobias Denskus is well known in the critical humanitarian/development field as an ex-practitioner turned academic
    • Farhana Sultana - Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University
  • Decolonising Europe 12 | Decolonising the Non-Colonisers
    Decolonising the Non-Colonisers

    This the 12th session of the successful Decolonising Europe Lecture Series. In this session the gaze is towards Eastern Europe. Where is Eastern Europe in the history of global colonialism? This session explores why Eastern Europe has been largely absent from mainstream histories of global colonialism and studies of postcolonialism and decolonialism.

  • Decolonising Europe 13 | Decolonising Queerness
    Decolonising Queerness

    We will discuss how to adopt a framework towards gender and sexuality that does not centre white and European experiences or scholars. Rather this panel engages with debates about gender and sexuality in relation to colonial histories of Europe, the intersectionality of race, class, gender and sexuality and current debates on heteronormativity.

  • Decolonising Europe 14 | Recentering “Eastern” Europe in Decoloniality
    Recentering “Eastern” Europe in Decoloniality

    In this session, we continue our conversation on how decoloniality is related to the Eastern part of Europe. Our speakers will explore the theoretical and political filiations between dependency theory, world-systems analysis and decoloniality with a view to recentering the European East in decolonial thought, while decolonizing the category of “Eastern Europe” that the joint processes of coloniality and inter-imperiality bequeathed to the social sciences and to political-economic discourse.

  • Decolonising Europe 15 | Decolonising Hellas
    Decolonising Hellas

    This is the 15th session of the Decolonising Europe Lecture Series. In this session we turn our gaze towards Greece. What is the relationship between the Greek nation-state and Europe’s colonial genealogies? How has Greece co-constituted the European colonial project? What does it mean to decolonise Hellas?