Thinking from the South on Traditions of Politics and Aesthetics
Other Universals is a supra-national consortium supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The consortium consists of scholars from several universities in Africa (in South Africa: University of the Western Cape, University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand University of Johannesburg; in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa University; in Ghana, University of Ghana- Legon); in the Caribbean, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus; and, in the Middle East, the American University of Beirut. Other Universals brings together scholars across different geographies to convene conversations around shared intellectual and political preoccupations. Other Universals hosts seminars, workshops, discussion groups across an array of thematic interests to support research on the long histories of radical anticolonial thought and cultural practices from the South. The consortium provides graduate student fellowships and creates a dynamic co-curricular programme for emerging scholars at the participating universities.
Other Universals encourages scholarship that draws on multiple anticolonial traditions to speak to universal predicaments. Currently, the consortium engages with the following.
Revisting Marxist traditions and the global South
This thematic area explores the relationship of Marxism/s to race, ethnicity, religion and sexuality. How might histories of internationalism in Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East and South Asia offer ways to connect with traditions of Marxism in the metropoles that engaged cultural and political identities as they affect the colonial and postcolonial subject? What can a living tradition of Marxist thought proffer to our current imaginings of a future beyond coloniality?
Translation and Comparison As Method
In investigating methods of studying living archives of critical thought, this thematic area asks the following questions: How do we read figures, texts and objects across radical political and aesthetic traditions? How do we do translation and comparison across and within these different systems of meaning? What does it mean to read a text, figure or object conjuncturally towards historicizing the practice of critique?
The Epistemic Question
This thematic area examines questions of epistemic violence/justice in the modern university of the global South. What is the relationship of secular criticism to modernity, universal knowledge to particular knowledges, and the making of the distinctions between the sacred and the profane?
Identity and Identification
The relationship between the making of the colonial political subject and postcolonial political subjectivities is central to this thematic area. Wherein identities like Black, Queer, Dalit, Muslim/Jew, Tribal exist inside of political formations yet also exceed them. How might we understand the relationship between identity and identification in political and aesthetic worlds? What modes of cultural citizenship and idioms of difference define insider and outsider? How do notions of majority and minority work to produce the nation?
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University of the Western Cape
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Republic of South Africa
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Republic of South Africa