2022 Conference: Postcolonial Matters of Life and Death
The tenth annual Postcolonial Narrations forum took place in Bonn from October 20th to October 22nd under the title “Postcolonial Matters of Life and Death”. Chaired by Marie Berndt and co-organised by Angela Benkhadda, Lena Falk and Peri Sipahi, the conference was attended by 34 postgraduate and early career researchers. The participants included scholars from 13 different German universities, as well as institutions in France, Portugal, Scotland, India, Canada and the USA. Over the span of three days, twenty papers were presented in eight panels spanning themes such as hauntology and the grotesque, kinship, memories, extractivism, borders, resistance, and more. The panellists’ diverse and inspiring presentations and the ensuing fruitful discussions were complemented by a number of highlights: Prof. Dr. Mita Banerjee’s keynote lecture on “Thanatic Ethics and Refugee Lives: Yusra Mardini’s Autobiography Butterfly”, Jamaican author Alecia McKenzie’s reading and artist talk titled “The Joy of Sadness: Looking at Loss Up and Down”, Dr. Jennifer Leetsch’s workshop “PhD Defence and Beyond: A Workshop for Early Career Scholars”, and
finally, a wonderful evening with great food and conversations at the conference dinner.
2021 Conference: Modernities in the Contact Zone: Translating Across Unfamiliar Objects
The Postcolonial Narrations conference 2021 was hosted online by Universität Potsdam from 21-23 October 2021, and was chaired by Priyam Goswami Choudhury. The 3-day conference explored “approaches that trace and unsettle the assemblage that defines our definitions of border regimes, ecological regimes, and topographies of culture (material and virtual) that define our age.” The keynote of the conference, delivered by Prof. Dr. Elahe Haschemi Yekani (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), was titled “Revis(ualis)ing Intersectionality: The Ends of Visibility”. An artist talk was given by Promona Sengupta, a curator and academic who is currently pursuing her doctoral degree at Freie Universität Berlin. On the last day of the conference, Prof. Dr. Kylie Crane conducted a career workshop for the participants. In the general assembly of the forum that concluded the event, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn was chosen to host the next postgraduate forum with the theme “Postcolonial Matters of Life and Death” with Marie Berndt as the chair.
2020-21 Conference: Rethinking Postcolonial Europe: Moving Identities, Changing Subjectivities
The Postcolonial Narrations conference 2020/21 was hosted in digital format from February 10-12, 2021 by Justus-Liebig-University Gießen, and was chaired by Theresa Krampe.
The conference explored Europe from a post-/decolonial perspective and put emphasis on rethinking Europe and its borders to generate a discussion about ‘travelling cultures’ , diasporic and migrant communities, hybrid identities, changing subjectivities, cultural translations, transnational and transcultural relations, neo/cosmopolitanism, or neo-nomadism, to name but a few. The recent resurgence of populism and racism connected to the rise of right-wing parties in several European states served as a focalizing lens for interrogating the continuing influence of hegemonic ideas of European exceptionalism and cultural superiority. The conference contributed to the deconstruction of the myths around Europe by interrogating the histories and geographies of power associated with Europe and its (colonial) legacy around the globe.
2019 Conference: Postcolonial Punctuation/s: Demarcations, Interventions, Transgression
From October 3-5 2019, the Forum was hosted at WWU Münster, and it was chaired by Julian Wacker and Felipe Espinoza Garrido.
The conference interrogated the practice of punctuation in anglophone postcolonial texts. Drawing on Jennifer DeVere Brody’s notion of punctuation as performative acts, it explored how punctuation may emphas!ze, que?tion, con-join, se/parate, destabilize*, “borrow”, ‘ironize’, tra_verse & punc.tuate in and across various postcolonial textualities – whether in oral, print, or online cultures. The forum asked how postcolonial textualities engage and engender punctuation, and how punctuation can challenge and subvert dominant hegemonic epistemologies, as the multiple punctuated differentiations in the field of gender studies have done. What is more, the forum also worked to extend the idea of punctuating along the following questions: How do postcolonial texts punctuate and perforate dominant epistemological regimes? How is formal punctuation implicated in these processes? How does punctuation affect and create meaning?
2018 Conference: Moving Centers & Traveling Cultures
The 2018 Postcolonial Narrations Forum took place from October 10-12 at Goethe University Frankfurt, and was chaired by Hanna Teichler, Magdalena Pfalzgraf, and Silvia Anastasijevic
The 2018 edition of “Postcolonial Narrations” interrogated how contemporary forms of movement and their representations in the domains of art, literature, and media transform received notions of nation and culture. Following the idea that forced and/or economic migration, displacement, and other forms of movement fundamentally affect collectives, established power hierarchies, and discourses of national and cultural identity, the conference brought together a variety of papers that you can find in the program here.
2017 Conference: Memory and Media: The Making of Postcolonial Histories
The 2017 Postcolonial Narrations Forum took place from October 5-7 at the University of Erfurt.
Hosted by Antonia Purk and Kerstin Howaldt, the fifth edition of the interdisciplinary graduate forum “Postcolonial Narrations” explored the relationship of postcolonial memorial practices and media. It invited young scholars to approach the conference topic through various lenses, including the relationship between memory(making) and media (e.g., literature, photography, film, mass media, social media, architecture, fashion, music, etc.), entanglements of past and present in postcolonial cultural production, and (re)mediations of traumatic histories.
2016 Conference: Expressing the Postcolonial – Approaches to Verbalize the Unspeakable
The 2016 Postcolonial Narrations Conference took place October 9 – 11 at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.
The conference focused on the diverse strategies, means and forms of “Expressing the Postcolonial”. The conference invited junior researchers to investigate the range of potential expressions for different conceptualisations of postcolonial identity and experience, deliberately broadening the scope to include literary, linguistic and cultural interpretations of the term.
2015 Conference: Empire & Neurosis
The third Postgraduate Forum “Postcolonial Narrations” took place at University of Duisburg-Essen (Campus Essen), October 8-10, 2015.
The conference focused on the interconnections between imperial practices and neurosis. The forum theme proposed to investigate the range of ‘neuroses’ that are generated by or connected to colonial or imperial experiences, but transcended any strictly clinical meaning of ‘neurosis’ and expanded into philosophical, literary, and metaphorical implications of the term.
2014 Conference: Reading Across Cultures: New Comparative Approaches in a Globalized World
The second Postgraduate Forum “Postcolonial Narrations” took place at Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, September 21-23, 2014.
The conference focused on comparative approaches to postcolonial anglophone literatures and cultures in an era of globalization. PhD students and Postdocs who work in the fields of anglophone literatures and cultures, postcolonial studies and cultural studies were invited to present research that employs, discusses or problematizes transcultural, transnational or transregional frameworks.
2013 Conference: Challenging Boundaries: Postcolonial Narratives and Notions of the Global
The first Postcolonial Narrations conference took place in Göttingen in 2013. The conference theme was "Challenging Boundaries: Postcolonial Narratives and Notions of the Global".