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Postcolonial Cosmopolitanism: A Contradiction in Terms?

Sihko Siyotula, Cosmopolis Doodle


Gurminder Bhambra (University of Warwick)

Postcolonial Cosmopolitanism: A Contradiction in Terms?

Most discussions of cosmopolitanism start with its intellectual genealogy being a European one, associating ‘being cosmopolitan’ (as a practice) with being in the West. More recent discussions of cosmopolitanism, such as by Habermas and Beck, have sought explicitly to tie the concept to the emergence and development of the project of European Union. Rarely do such understandings, however, also take into account European domination over much of the world which occurred contemporaneously as one of the conditions of cosmopolitanism. Nor is there much acknowledgement that there have been cosmopolitan practices and the development of cosmopolitan ideas in other parts of the world outside of European contact, sometimes developed in relation to European contact, and not subordinate to it. In this talk, I address the possibilities for a ‘postcolonial cosmopolitanism’ and discuss what work we would need to do to ensure this.


Thursday, April 27th 2017; 18-20 // Campus Neues Palais, Building 9, Room 2.15 (second floor)

Seminar with Gurminder Bhambra (University of Warwick)

Each lecture was accompanied by a seminar conducted by the speaker, which picks up on the themes and talking points of the lecture. 

Friday, April 28th 2017; 10-12 

Short Bio

Gurminder K. Bhambra is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick and Guest Professor of Sociology and History at the Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at Linnaeus University, Sweden. Her research interests are primarily in the areas of historical sociology and contemporary social theory and she is also interested in the intersection of the social sciences with recent work in postcolonial and decolonial studies. She is author of Connected Sociologies (Bloomsbury, 2014) and Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination (Palgrave, 2007) which won the 2008 Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for best first book in sociology. She has edited and co-edited a number of books and journal special issues, including, most recently, European Cosmopolitanisms (Routledge 2016). She set up the Global Social Theory website to support students and academics interested in social theory in global perspective.

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