Kimberly Hutchings (LSE)

Hi Robbie – I spent a bit of time thinking about the ‘thing’ in terms of c and d. On c, there are several ways that this could develop. For me, the most pressing is actually to try to build up knowledge and resources – both in terms of texts and thinkers in decolonial thought, and knowledge of the politics, sociology and history of the relation between poststructuralism and de/ postcolonial thinking. As someone who on the one hand criticises and on the other regularly reproduces the violent exclusion of non-European traditions of thought, I’m conscious that to be in communication with a network of people who can swap ideas about what/ who to read, how to think about reading lists for IR courses etc. would be an enormous boon. More generally, it would be great to circulate ideas for examples to use in teaching or for different terms (eg. than western/ non-western) to use. Mutual provincializing seems like a good way of conceptualizing potential exchanges between the 2 frameworks for thinking that you have identified, but the need is much more to provincialize Deleuze and co than Fanon. In the longer term, working to make sure that decolonial texts are available and accessible in anglophone dominated IR would also be good. In addition to this, I think we need to address the issue of what kind of work different thinkers are doing, what audience they are/ were addressing. This seems to me particularly pertinent with regard to the Deleuze end of the spectrum, and the problem of IR usages that take philosophical arguments and read an IR meaning into them because a certain vocabulary (eg. ‘event’) is being used. The major problem is how to get a genuine dialogue or exchange given the tendency of all IR to lapse into ‘isms’.  Best wishes. Kim

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2 Responses

  1. Reading Kimberly Hutchings note starts me thinking about how we might describe the various functions of this project. Robbie, your original note seems to call for two functions: (1) critique and (2) staging the encounter between the post-colonial and the post-modern/post-structural. Kim seems to be calling for (3) “a build up of knowledge and resources” of post colonial thinkers and resources. All this depends, of course, on (4) creating and uncovering a sense of community and solidarity amongst those engaged in the project.

    At the moment two thoughts come to mind. For (4) we might need to read something together. I would nominate (a) the introduction Robbie wrote for his forthcoming coming book with Routledge on Non-Western IR; and (b) something by Alina Sajed on the poco foundations of pomo — perhaps the short talk she read at the recent Post-Post panel at ISA.

    Second thought: starting on (3) requires us to survey and map. I want to start that mapping in this note as a means, if nothing else of noting, of evoking our collecting thinking. Allow me, then, to start.

    This can be broken down to those working explicitly within IR and those outside. I will leave out those within IR for the moment.

    Outside of IR: while the return of Fanon is certainly welcome (and it must be said, somewhat predictable, given the fuller return of neo- and old fashioned- colonialism), this is not all there is, right? Indeed, Ashis Nandy’s work — to which many of us are indebted — is both a response to, and a powerful critique of, Fanon. Another classics would be Albert Memmi…

    Then there is the subaltern stuff…not least represented by D. Chakraborty…

    So, now if I start this, my mind cascades without the necessary teutonic rigor. So before I forget some of the sources, let me lay down a few that might not be so obvious:

    – Braudelian inspired world histories: K.N. Chaudhuri work, especially Asia Before Europe; Janet abu-Lughod’s Before European Hegemony; L.S. Stavrianos, Global Rift; Eric Wolf, Europe and a People Without History; Carl Trocki’s Opium, Empire, and the Global Political Economy; Marshall Sahlins’s various histories of the pacific islands;…

    – non-contrapuntal but rather integrated histories inspired by C.L.R. James: CLR James, Black Jacobins; Eric Williams Capitalism and Slavery; Michel Rolph-Trouillot, Silencing the Past…

    – We all know that among the best third world stuff is done by novelists: Amitav Ghosh, In an Antique Land; Nadine Gordimer, The Pickup; Arundati Roy; Salman Rushdie; Chinua Achebe; Assia Djebar; Ngugi Wa Thiango; Abdulrahman Munif; Tayeb Salih,’s Journey of Migration to the North; Isabelle Allende; Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Pramoedya Ananta Toer; Anthony Burgess; George Orwell; Joseph Conrad; Jean Rhys; Guy Endore’s Babouk;…

    – Anything by Sven Lindqvist (somewhere between memoir/confession/travelogue/analysis).

    – …

  2. wicked Naeem!

    I think that Alina’s piece on postruct/postcol is excellent, and absolutely on point. If we were all to read something together than i think that would be the first one! Perhaps in combination with Siba’s indepth work on the preceding intellectual encounters of Francophone Africa and the metropole.. More disciplinary-wise then my intro and more importantly Mustapha’s conclusion to the Ir and Non-Western thought book would be good.

    That list is great Naeem, I think it would also be good to construct that list with an eye to context and to dissonance as well as resonance. E.g. in what ways are the Bengali experiences of colonial modernity related to Francophone Caribbean ones. I think those kinds of questions are v. important.

    The other thing i am keen to do is critically retrieve writers beyond the last 30 years, and also those who were “doing stuff” too. I think we do need to expand our array to think about e.g. Marcus Garvey, Dubois, Padmore, etc etc. This is important if we are to underline the historical fact that postcolonialism (or at least the intent of that project and its genealogies) were never dependent upon postrstructuralism .In fact, best to just EJECT that statement of dependency as entirely unhelpful and stupid for both of the “posts”.

    Last thing, the decolonial thought people. Esp, Mignolo, but its not just Latin America. See e.g. Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Māori), Decolonizing Methodologies. On that note, the South Pacific is just as rich as anywhere else in this stuff, including literature: see Albert Wendt, and Epeli Hau’ofa – who writes with similar intent to e.g. Derek Walcott but is NOT “like” or “a” Walcott.

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