Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Anticolonial Hong Kong? Reflections on Revolutions of our Times

15 January 2020, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

Laurent Gayer

Speaker: J Daniel Elam (Department of Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong). Respondents: Laurent Gayer (Science Po, Paris), Martin Holbraad (UCL) and Jack Linchuan Qiu (Chinese University of Hong Kong – via Skype). Chair: Pragya Dhital (QMUL)

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Pragya Dhital


IAS Common Ground
Ground floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

The 2019 Hong Kong protests have reinvigorated the city's sense of political purpose. They are also part of a larger, global set of protests, including Beirut and Kashmir, which raise significant questions for the contemporary moment. The Hong Kong protests claim to be a 'revolution for our times': what does 'revolution' look like, and how might these protests offer a clear assessment of 'our times'? How do the Hong Kong protests demand that we revisit the twentieth-century vocabulary of anti-imperialism -- decolonisation, liberation, anticolonialism, revolution -- for a twenty-first-century world? What types of revolutionary thinking is required for 'our times', and what role do the 2019 protests play in revising anti-imperial critique?


J Daniel Elam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong. He has written extensively about South Asian anticolonialism in the early twentieth century. He is the editor of an anthology of theory and criticism from the Global South (Bloomsbury), and the author of World Literature for the Wretched of the Earth: Anticolonial Aesthetics, Postcolonial Politics (Fordham).

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Images top and middle: Laurent Gayer