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Baldeep Kaur

Doctoral Fellow


Campus am Neuen Palais
Am Neuen Palais 10
Building 1, Room 0.15
14469 Potsdam

Dissertation Project

Excavations: Narrating Postcolonial Cultures and Futures of Opium, Oil, and Plastic

The central task of this project is to refuse the exceptionality of oil. I want to rethink the genealogy of petrocapitalism, and to study how its imprint overlaps with an earlier colonial trace – that of opium. In this frame of reference, oil is yet another iteration of empire, and of colonialism’s life-after-obsolescence. Ultimately, the question I am still trying to form may be estimated as: What is the mode of post-oil postcolonial transitions, especially in countries like India where dependence on fossil-fuels is a colonial legacy, and has been framed as a postcolonial necessity. How does one grasp minor ecologies that have formed confusing amalgams with colonial technologies? To be as brief as possible, how does the postcolony re-tool?


Baldeep Grewal is a researcher from India. Their formal training is in the field of English Literary and Cultural Studies with a bachelors from the University of Delhi, and a masters from the University of Mumbai. Before joining the minor cosmopolitanisms RTG as a doctoral researcher, they researched and taught (as a Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiterin) at the University of Wuerzburg for two years. In 2017, they completed a semester abroad at the Heinrich-Heine University of Duesseldorf on a DAAD scholarship. The general direction of their work is to approach colonialism via its debris, its waste, and its leftovers – to study not just the ideological and material remains, but also the background hum of infrastructure. They divide their time and resources between this academic trajectory, and their work as an activist in digital policy and inclusivity. They worked briefly with a non-profit in Mumbai called Point of View (POV) which runs programs at the intersection of gender, sexuality, disability and technology. The affiliation with POV developed into the work that they now do at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (UNIGF) where they co-moderate a permanent panel on gender and internet governance. 

Research Interests

  • Postcolonial theory and praxis
  • STS
  • Discard Studies
  • Petrocultures
  • Digital Anthropocenes

Conference Papers

‘Post+-colonial: Landings and flights’. (Re-)Reading - (Re-)Writing: Postcolonial Theories in Critical Transnational Gender-Perspectives (Indian-German Autumn School) at the ZFG, University of Oldenburg. 29-30 October 2019.

 ‘From Refugee Tales to Instagram Stories: Activating online texts in the classroom’. Linking Scholarship and Activism in Migration Societies: Critical Inquiries. Organized by the Center for Migration Education and Cultural Studies, and the European Master in Migration and Intercultural Relations (EMMIR). Carl Von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg. 13-15 December 2018.

 “Worldmaking with ‘Megacity-museologics’: A study of museological practices implicated in visual cultures and media of daily urban life”. Merian Centre Beijing Exploratory Workshop. Freie University, Berlin. 16-17 November 2018.

 ‘Gendering the Internet Governance Forum: A comprehensive study of the Gender Report Cards initiative’. Dynamic Coalition on Gender at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum. UNESCO, Paris. 12-14 November 2018.

 ‘Facebook and the Postcolony: Identity, Memory and Trauma in India’s Online Spaces’. Frames of Reference 2017 – Neoliberalising Cultures. School of Media and Cultural Studies. Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. January 2017.


Introduction to Australian Postcolonial Literature – Summer 2019.

Introduction to Indian Postcolonial Literature – Summer 2019.

Individual and Society in the Digital Age – Winter 2018.

An Introduction to Canadian Postcolonial Literature – Winter 2018.

(syllabi available upon request)