Mai 2014


Postcolonial Justice

Freitag 30.05.2014 16:00 | Saal

Eintritt: frei

Veranstalter/-in: Werkstatt der Kulturen/ Universität Potsdam

Kooperation Flyer


This event, organised by the University of Potsdam in cooperation with the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN,  is part of a larger conference, investigating practices and norms of justice in a postcolonial world.

The event at the Werkstatt der Kulturen is open to the public, and seeks to bring local perspectives on postcolonial justice into dialogue with wider, global debates. The programme includes a keynote address by Paul Gilroy, a panel discussion and an evening of readings by international authors currently living in Berlin.
The panellists are academics and activists living and working in Berlin who will comment upon the theme of postcolonial justice as understood both through the lens of their experiences as inhabitants of the city, and from the perspective of their theoretical interests as academics working in the field of postcolonial studies in Germany.


  • 16.00 – 16:15 Opening
  • 16.15 – 17:15 Keynote Address by Paul Gilroy. The Struggle against Racism in Britain (1976-2012): Its Implications for Justice and Democracy
  • 17:15 – 19:00 Podium discussion: 'Post-Colonial Justice and the City: Reflections from/on Berlin' with Bilgin Ayata, Benjamin Zachariah, Joshua Kwesi Aikins and Nikita Dhawan and chaired by Elahe Haschemi Yekani
  • 20.00 – 22:00 Readings by Priya Basil | Helon Habila | Rajeev Balasumbramanyam

Biographical Information



Paul Gilroy is known as a path-breaking scholar and historian of the music of the Black Atlantic diaspora, as a commentator on the politics of race, nation and racism in the UK, and as an archaeologist of the literary and cultural lives of the African diaspora. According to the US Journal of Blacks in Higher Education he has been consistently among the most frequently cited black scholars in the humanities and social sciences. His keynote address at the Werkstatt der Kulturen event is entitled ‘The Struggle against Racism in Britain (1976-2012): Its Implications for Justice and Democracy.’

Video 1: Professor Paul Gilroy was the first Treaty of Utrecht Visiting Professor at Utrecht University. On 3 December 2009 he held his inaugural speech, titled 'Race and the Right to be Human'.

Video 2: Lecture by Professor Paul Gilroy: "From hydrarchy to multi culture: peace, war and working through the double standard," with response by Dr. Francio Guadeloupe. The Colonial Legacy Conference, 22 June 2013, Utrecht.



Bilgin Ayata is Bilgin Ayata is Lecturer at the Center for Transnational Relations, Foreign and Security Policy at the Otto-Suhr Institut, Freie
Universität. Her research areas are postcolonial international
relations, migration and politics of memory. Bilgin Ayata is also organizer of the exhibition "MANUFACTURING RACE. Contemporary Memories of a Building’s Colonial Past", that has been presented during the BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2014 at the Werkstatt der Kulturen (read the report Auf dem Dachboden lagerten die Schädel, published in taz, 01.02.2014).

Benjamin Zachariah is Lecturer in International History at the University of Sheffield. His research focuses on the social and intellectual history of colonial South Asia, and the transition from colonial rule to the postcolonial Indian state.

One of his most significant books is Developing India. An Intellectual and Social History, about the ideas regarding the concept of the term "development" which emerged in circa 1930-50. It is a study of the formative period in history when the underlying notions of progress, self-government, and nation building were articulated. The author considers how the notions were driven by immediate political battles, yet inspired by a vision of the future that incorporated notions of sovereignty and equity. This book opens up a new arena in the historiography of South Asia, that of an intellectual history of late colonialism in India, and of the nationalism that succeeded it.

Nikita Dhawan is Junior Professor for Gender and Postcolonial Studies, Cluster of Excellence “Formation of Normative Orders”, Goethe-University Frankfurt. Her research specializations are political philosophy, feminist postcolonial theory and queer diasporas.

A political philosopher by training, her interdisciplinary work aims to trace an alternative postcolonial-queer-feminist history of ideas of key concepts like political modernity, equality, rights, freedom, emancipation and critique. The aim to ‘provincialize’ Eurocentric and Androcentric approaches to knowledge production.

Joshua Kwesi Aikins is a doctoral student at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology. His is also a political activist for, among other organizations, Berlin Postkolonial e.V. and Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland e.V. (ISD). He published several book chapters and papers on racism and postcolonial movements in Germany, e.g. entries on "Anton Wilhelm Amo", "Nana Yaa Asantweaa", "Queen Nanny and Maroon Resistance" and "May Ayim" in Ness, Immanuel (Ed.): Blackwell Encyclopedia of Protest and Revolution (2009); Die alltägliche Gegenwart der kolonialen Vergangenheit - Entinnerung, Erinnerung und Verantwortung in der Kolonialmetropole Berlin, in: Däubler-Gmelin, H., Münzing, E., & Walther, C. Afrika - Europas verkannter Nachbar: Band 2 Lang, Peter Frankfurt. (2008); Des weißen Rappers Bürde - HipHop und Weißsein in Deutschland, in: HipHop zwischen Mainstream und Jugendprotest, Online Dossier der Heinrich Böll Stiftung (2006) 



Priya Basil is a British author. Her first novel, Ishq and Mushq, was published in 2007 and short-listed for a Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Her second novel, The Obscure Logic of the Heart, was published in June 2010. Her most recent book is the short novel Strangers on the 16:02 (2011).

Helon Habila is a Nigerian novelist, poet and journalist. In 2002 he published his first novel, Waiting for an Angel. His writing has won many prizes including the Caine Prize in 2001. In 2006 he co-edited the British Council's anthology, New Writing 14. His second novel, Measuring Time, was published in 2007. His third novel, Oil on Water, which deals with environmental pollution in the oil rich Nigerian Delta, was published in the US in 2011. He is the editor of the anthology, The Granta Book of the African Short Story which came out September, 2011.

Rajeev Balasubramanyam is a British writer whose first novel, In Beautiful Disguises, was published in 2000 and won a Betty Trask Prize and was nominated for the Guardian First Fiction Prize. His second novel, The Dreamer, based on the Ian St James Award-winning story of the same title, came out in 2010. He has lived and taught creative writing in Kathmandu, Berlin, Hong Kong, and London, and has just finished a book of short-stories about celebrity called Starstruck which will come out as a free eBook later this year, and a new novel on the subject of eastern spirituality in the west, which will be published in 2015.