Colonial Repercussions / Koloniales Erbe

Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany
26 Jan 2018 - 24 Jun 2018

Photo © CoreyMelton

Photo © CoreyMelton

Symposium I
“(Post-)Colonial Injustice and Legal Interventions”
In cooperation with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
January 26–27, 2018, 1pm

Symposium II
“Performances of No-thingness”
May 26–27

Symposium III
“Planetary Utopias – Hope, Desire, Imaginaries in a Post-Colonial World”
June 23–24 (June 24 at Hanseatenweg 10)

Under the curatorship of Wolfgang Kaleck (General Secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, ECCHR) and Karina Theurer (ECCHR) international legal experts will join the two-day opening conference on January 26 and 27, 2018 to discuss the colonial crimes of the European states and the question of reparations.

The evolution of international law is closely intertwined with the colonial history of the European states: exploitation, expropriation and genocides. The guiding principles of the law back then, such as sovereignty and the equality of states, were interpreted in such a way that they could legitimise the colonial crimes.

The first symposium of the Colonial Repercussions event series is supposed to be a resonant space for postcolonial criticism of the law. It traces how violence has been rendered invisible and injustice was made effective law. Do these structures persist until today in terms of development policies, financial systems, and asymmetrical trade relations? Do human rights act in the guise of a Trojan horse or do they have emancipatory potential? Why is there neither redress nor payment of reparations for the colonial crimes committed by the European states?

The programme includes talks and panels with Antony Anghie, Christian Bommarius, Williams Chima, Luis Eslava, Kranti LC, Gesine Krüger, Christophe Marchand, Mnyaka Sururu Mboro, Ester Muinjangue, Makau Mutua, Obiora Chinedu Okafor, Bernadus Swartbooi, Celine Tan und Liesbeth Zegveld and others. Artistic works like the jazz performance by the Congolese author and Junge Akademie fellow Fiston Mwanza Mujila, the 2 channel video work by the Brazilian artist Ayrson Heráclito O Sacudimento da Casa da Torre and O Sacudimento da Maison des Esclaves em Gorée (2015) and the Akademie member Marcel Odenbach Im Schiffbruch nicht schwimmen können (2011) reflect on the global ramifications of decolonialisation in today’s society.

With the Colonial Repercussions event series, the Akademie der Künste examines the structures of colonial power relations, which continue to impact on science, art and society today. From January to June 2018, three symposia, each lasting two days, will address the blind spots of the colonial legacies during lectures, panels, performances, artistic interventions and workshops.

Reprocessing colonialism means bearing a visionary moment for the future of Europe. The primary focus of this event series is the question as to the legacy of European colonialism still being tangible today: how does it have an impact on Europe and the rest of the world? How can traditional power structures be broken down and the associated fear of relinquishing powers be overcome? And what would a society look like that evolves creatively based on diversity and not based on white, hegemonic traditions of knowledge?

The scholar for cultural studies Nana Adusei-Poku focuses on the cultural production of the black diaspora as a criticism of hegemonic concepts of identity during a second discursive platform at the end of May 2018. With artistic positions on queer studies, embodiment, performativity and decolonization by Travis Alabanza, Ain Bailey, Melissa Blanco Borelli, NIC Kay, Autumn Knight, Okwui Okpokwasili, Julia Phillips, Peggy Piesche, Anta Helena Recke, Christina Sharpe, Sorryyoufeeluncomfortable and Julia Wissert.

At the third symposium scheduled to take place at the end of June 2018, Nikita Dhawan (Professor of Political Theory and Gender Studies) will compose, together with renowned international theorists of postcolonialism, the utopian potential of a future society. With: Sarah Ahmed, Nadje Al Ali, Kader Attia, Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro, Maria do Mar Castro Varela, Angela Davis, Coco Fusco, Bouchra Khalili, Nadia Yala Kisukidi, David Scott, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Antonio Y. Vazquez-Arroyo, Rolando Vázquez and Françoise Vergès and others.

In addition, the C& Center of unfinished business reading room of the international online platform for African perspectives on art, Contemporary And (C&), will offer throughout the entire event series in the foyer of the Akademie building on Pariser Platz literature on colonial legacies.

Colonial Repercussions is a joint event series by the Akademie der Künste and the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb.

In German and English.
Free admission; reservations recommended:

Detailed programme at:




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