Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


SPRC Colloquium series 2024

4 January 2024

SPRC Colloquium Series on Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies comprises four events.

UCL's Sarah Parker Remond Centre is pleased to announce a new colloquium series, on Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies 2024, co-organised by Professor Tariq Jazeel, Co-Director at the SPRC and Professor of Human Geography, Dr Gala Rexer, Lecturer in Race, Ethnicity & Postcolonial Studies at the SPRC and Dr Elizabeth Cooper, Research Fellow in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies at the SPRC.

Grafting Freedom - or the Evidence of Things Not Seen

Tuesday 16 January, 5-7pm (followed by a drinks reception)
IAS Common Ground

Dr. Elizabeth Cooper (UCL, SPRC)

“The pleasure and paradox of my own exile is that I belong wherever I am. My role, it seems, has rather to do with time and change than with geography of circumstances; and yet there is always an acre of ground in the New World which keeps growing echoes in my head.” 

          George Lamming, The Pleasures of Exile 

Abstract: You are warmly invited to join Sarah Parker Remond Centre Research Fellow Dr. Elizabeth Cooper who will share and discuss her current research on the historical and political praxis of diasporic Caribbean horticulture.  

Those who moved to the UK from the Caribbean in the post-WWII era brought with them tangible and intangible horticultural knowledge that was deeply interwoven with the legacies and machinations of colonial exploitation. 

What historical and political imaginations are unearthed if we see “Windrush”  from the perspective of grassroots decolonisation that WWII interrupted rather than catalysed? And, more precisely, from the most enduring – yet ever-changing – subaltern expression of the simultaneously traumatic and creative conscription to modernity: popular Caribbean horticulture?  

The love of strangers: "mixed marriage", family and migration in Senegal 

Tuesday 6 February, 5-7pm (followed by a drinks reception)
IAS Common Ground

Dr. Helene Neveu-Kringelbach (UCL, SELCS-CMII)

Abstract: In the Senegambian region, the history of intimate relationships and marriage with Europeans goes back to the 17th century and the early days of the Transatlantic slave trade, when European men sent to the region as traders often developed relationships with African women. ‘Customary marriage,’ as the practice was called, fostered the emergence of creole communities in coastal trading posts like Saint-Louis, Rufisque, and the Gorée Island. From the mid-19th century onwards, with formal colonisation, such relationships became the object of considerable European anxiety as they were seen to undermine the racial hierarchies on which colonial societies were founded (Saada 2007, Ray 2015, Jean-Baptiste 2023). When French-educated Senegalese and other West African men, or ‘évolués’, started traveling to France in growing numbers in the first half of the 20th century, marriage to European women became a mark of status for many of them. On the French side however, such unions were seen as embodying the breakdown of the colonial racial order.

In this project, I have been looking at binational marriage, or ‘mixed’ marriage, between Senegal and Europe. This presentation is a work-in-progress in which I draw from multi-sited fieldwork carried out over the past 10 years. I argue that the ways in which Senegalese families deal with mixed marriage between Senegal and Europe today is highly gendered, and that this gendering has to do with the memory of interracial intimacy during the transatlantic slave trade, and later the colonial period.

The Digital Imperium

Thursday 22 February, 5-7pm (followed by a drinks reception)
IAS Common Ground

Professor Lee Grieveson (UCL, SELCS-CMII)

Abstract: “The Digital Imperium” sketches a genealogy of key vectors in the birth and deployment of the digital as a modality of imperialising power. The paper explores the contingent political and economic histories underlying the birth and expansion of a praxis of information control that gets built into the metal of digital computational machines (by the U.S. military in mid-century entwined with the U.S. imperium that came into being after 1945) as well as the deep logics and continuum that shape these histories.

Postcolonial Racialisation: On the Possibilities and Limitations of a Concept

Thursday 14 March, 5-7pm (followed by a drinks reception)
IAS Common Ground

Dr. Mahvish Ahmad (LSE, Sociology)

Abstract: Racialisation has recently been extended to make sense of violent hierarchical relations in the postcolony. Yet, in the postcolony, social difference goes by other names, and majoritarian formations are neither white nor European, carrying instead their own experiences and memories of racism, colonisation, and imperial intervention. This paper explores the possibilities and limits of stretching racialisation away from transatlantic conquest and slavery, and out of North America and Europe, through a case study of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and army operations of Pakistan’s Baloch communities. On the one hand, bringing the analytic of racialisation to this postcolony in South Asia challenges methodologically nationalist and presentist interpretations of violence as reflective of internal centre-periphery disputes and localised ethnic conflict. On the other hand, racialisation as a lens can also obscure other, more grounded vocabularies that describe social difference and hierarchy, like zaat (caste), qom (nation), and qabila (tribe). The paper, a work-in-progress, builds on over a decade of ethnographic and archival work with and on Baloch movements against enforced disappearances and military violence in Pakistan.

Everyone is warmly welcome.

SPRC Colloquium Series on Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies