Empire & Modernity Archive (2016-2017)
EMPIRE AND MODERNITY WORKING GROUP: BETTY JOSEPH, RICE UNIVERSITY
Betty Joseph, English Department, Rice University
“Network Society: What Novels Teach us About the Task of Tracing Associations”
How does contemporary literature represent the age of computers, mass media and information processing given that these technologies are markedly less photogenic than the great visual spectacles of railways and steamships of the industrial world-system that preceded our postmodern age? Are contemporary ideas about networks solutions to this problem of representation or do they signal a deeper ontological problem by assuming that networks are a new form of social organization? This lecture discusses the current fascination with “networks” in literature, in two ways: first, network as a technological allegory that stands in for the unimaginable, decentered nature of the contemporary world itself, and second, network as an ideological response to the totalizing nature of global capital today.
Date(s): Thursday, 4/6 3:00 PM to Thursday, 4/6 5:30 PM
Campus Address: Lower Level – Stevenson Hall
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, IL
Contact: Linda Vavra
EMPIRE AND MODERNITY WORKING GROUP: SONALI THAKKAR, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
The Racial Residuum: On Jewishness and Blackness in Frantz Fanon
Sonali Thakkar, English Department – University of Chicago
This talk examines Frantz Fanon’s (as well as some of his interlocutors’) sustained interest in representations of Jews and in the so-called Jewish Question. Why, I ask, are figures of Jewishness so pertinent to Fanon’s thought, and what meaning does he ascribe to them? To answer these questions, I situate Fanon’s writings, particularly Black Skin, White Masks (1952) in the context of 20th century debates in the social sciences about racial form and the relative plasticity or intractability of blackness and Jewishness.
[Informational Poster Here]
EMPIRE AND MODERNITY WORKING GROUP: DANIEL MAJCHROWICZ, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY
March 3, 2017 12 – 1:30 PM
Daniel Majchrowicz, Northwestern University
“The Case of the Vanishing Maharaja: Travel Literature and Princely Politics in South Asia”
In 1851, the teenage maharaja of Indore, Tukoji Holkar, went missing under suspicious circumstances. Some said his regent wanted him out of the picture. Others speculated that he’d been kidnapped and taken to Calcutta by nefarious colonial agents. In reality, he’d disguised himself as an Iranian tourist and slipped away to make a clandestine tour of of North India. On his return, Holkar did something that was doubly unprecedented for a Persian-speaking court of his time: he wrote a travelogue – and he wrote it in Urdu. Following his lead, other princes across the region soon began to write their own, increasingly elaborate travel accounts. By the end of the 19th century, writing about travel had become a well established aspect of princely praxis. Focusing on two competing Urdu travel narratives from 1851, this talk will explore why the princely travel account emerged at this particular historical juncture, sparking new literary practices and marking a decisive shift in the balance of linguistic power in the region.
Daniel Majchrowicz is Assistant Professor of South Asian Literature and Culture in the Asian Languages and Culture Department at Northwestern University. His current research project is a history of the idea of travel in South Asia as if found expression in Urdu, Hindi and Indo-Persian travel writing of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
EMPIRE AND MODERNITY WORKING GROUP EVENT: "LET THEM SINK INTO THE SEA: THE WEST INDIES AND LIBERAL EMPIRE"
Chris Taylor, Assistant Professor, English Department, University of Chicago
“Let Them Sink into the Sea: The West Indies and Liberal Empire”
This talk will explore how the liberalization of Britain’s imperial economy was both argued for and made intelligible through fantasies of oceanic catastrophe–one wherein the increasingly worthless West Indies, long held to be a sink for capital, simply sink into the sea. I will argue that the inter-oceanic world of free-trade empire originates with the instituted vanishing of the islands from Britain’s cognitive mappings of the global. This history, I suggest, calls into question the politico-epistemic purchase of to-hand ways of reading the relationship between the colonial world and metropolitan culture through the Victorian period.
Date(s): Thursday, 11/17 5:00 PM to Thursday, 11/17 6:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: (312) 996-6352