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  • Critical Perspectives on Democratic Anti-Colonialism

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    The Critical Perspectives on Democratic Anti-Colonialism project brings together faculty and students across The New School interested in exploring the theoretical foundations and political manifestations of radical democratic and anticolonial traditions. It seeks to renew the critical tradition of The New School by incorporating scholarly debates, issues, and approaches that have not been adequately represented.

    Critical Perspectives on Democratic Anti-Colonialism focuses on struggles of peripheral peoples in countries of the central core and peripheral fringe, with the aim of making sense of the changing meanings and practices of plebeian forms of dissent, resistance, and self-rule that have surfaced in the modern and contemporary world. Those involved with the project critically examine dominant socio-institutional structures, power relations, and regimes of knowledge, as well as how plebeian groups reformulate, subvert, and generate emancipatory and heterodox alternatives.

    Three thematic areas guide the project: the history of concepts, contemporary debates, and critical methodologies. Events and classes will build on these areas, and discussions will combine theoretical and empirical readings to highlight the continuities and discontinuities that are part of radical democratic and anti-colonial traditions. Discussions will also examine recent ‘post-positivist’ approaches and alternative epistemologies to the human sciences that grant primacy and centrality to inter-subjectivity, interpretation, and performativity. 

    Writings from influential thinkers from core and peripheral countries — such as Karl Marx, Vera Zasulich, W.E.B. DuBois, Antonio Gramsci, José Carlos Mariátegui, Hannah Arendt, Frantz Fanon, Li Ta-chao, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyèwùmí, Maria Lugones, and the Latin American Dependency and Indian Subaltern Schools — feature prominently in the project. Their writings spotlight some of the most significant past and current debates in the field, including uneven and combined development, the boomerang effect of colonialism, indigenous anti-imperialism, Third Worldism, world systems and unequal exchange, critical race theory, decolonial feminism, and heterodox democratic and council formations. 


    In its inaugural 2020–2021 year, the Critical Perspectives on Democratic Anti-Colonialism project will host monthly workshops for affiliated faculty and graduate students where they can present and comment on works-in-progress. Together with several NSSR departments, it will also co-host a lecture series featuring guest speakers and an annual distinguished lecture followed by a one- or two-day intensive seminar.   

    Upcoming events include:
    Why Austerity Persists with Jon Shefner

    Past events include:
    Living Phenomenology as a Decolonial Practice with Lewis Gordon


    Graduate courses connected to the project build on the three core themes and help students build the theoretical, empirical, and methodological skills needed for rethinking established structures of political power and control, including state sovereignty, empire, nationalism, racialized and patriarchal capitalism, the North-South divide and the global color line, and the transnational commons and its political ecologies. New School graduate students can engage with issues and concerns shaping the project in these 2020–2021 seminars and lectures:


    Project co-directors:
    Carlos Forment, Associate Professor of Sociology
    Andreas Kalyvas, Associate Professor of Politics

    Affiliated faculty:
    Chiara Bottici
    , Associate Professor of Philosophy
    Benoit Challand
    , Associate Professor of Sociology
    Sandipto Dasgupta
    , Assistant Professor of Politics
    Aaron Jakes
    , Assistant Professor of History
    Clara Mattei
    , Assistant Professor of Economics
    Anne McNevin
    , Associate Professor of Politics
    Emma Park
    , Assistant Professor of History
    Ann Stoler
    , Willy Brandt Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and History
    Miriam Ticktin
    , Associate Professor of Anthropology

    For more information, please contact Carlos Forment, Associate Professor of Sociology, at

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