3 Jul 2009 - 4 Jul 2009 All day Faculty of English, Room GR06, 9 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP


Dr Priyamvada Gopal    (Faculty of English, Cambridge)
Dr Chris Warnes            (Faculty of English, Cambridge)

CRASSH and the Faculty of English  host a two-day conference called Postcolonial Empires: Writing Resistance? The title is deliberately gnomic and polyvalent: it can be read to refer variously to the persistence of empire and imperialism, to the establishment of new empires in the ostensibly postcolonial era, but also, crucially, to what some suggest is the academic empire of postcolonial studies itself. The subtitle poses implicit questions: What sorts of resistances to these formations get 'written'? What is the relationship of 'writing', broadly construed, to resistance, beyond the now facile theories of literary opposition represented by terms such as 'the Empire strikes back'? What, in short, does 'resistance' itself mean in the context of persistent and new imperial formations and in the face of the rapid institutionalizing of theories of resistance? Who is a postcolonial intellectual and how does s/he intervene in debates that extend beyond academic confines to address empire and imperialism as they operate in the sphere of economics, culture and geopolitics? 

These questions, while emerging out of literary and cultural studies, necessitate an interdisciplinary discussion about the relationship between the history and material workings of imperialism, the formation of  disciplines, and the task of writing. We are especially interested in soliciting critical explorations of the connections between material and  symbolic dimensions of resistance, conceived broadly as opposition to the authoritarian and homogenizing tendencies of new forms of imperialism, both historical and theoretical. Topics to be addressed include but are not limited to: postcolonial studies as a disciplinary formation/in a historical frame; globalization and/of resistance, contemporary  negotiations of history; canonization and neglect; resistance literature; popular culture (including new media) and resistance; writing and activism. 
We hope to put together speakers who will represent both different  approaches to these questions as well as the multiple sites in which  postcolonial studies is undertaken.



David Attwell             (University of York)
Crystal Bartolovich   (Syracuse University) 
Anna Bernard           (University of York)         
Elleke Boehmer        (University of Oxford) 
Timothy Brennan      (University of Minnesota)
Nicholas Brown        (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Keya Ganguly           (University of Minnesota)
Priyamvada Gopal   (University of Cambridge)
Barbara Harlow        (University of Texas, Austen)
Biodun Jeyifo           (Harvard University)
David Johnson        (Open university)
Mukul Kesavan        (Jamia Millia University, Delhi) 
Benita Parry             (Warwick University)
Christopher Warnes  (University of Cambridge)
Robert Young          (NYU)



Open to all.  Registration required. Limited places. 

Administrative contact: Esther Lamb 

For information about the Postcolonial Empires: Rhetorics of Resistance Group, please visit the link on the right hand side of this page.


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Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk