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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Europäische Ethnologie


Wann 04.07.2017 von 18:00 bis 20:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200) iCal
Wo Raum 311
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Of Safe Spaces and Comfort Zones: Doing Race and Political Subjectivity in Contemporary South Africa


Katharina Schramm (Freie Universität Berlin)

South African universities have recently become a site of major struggles over decolonization and social justice. Since 2015, vast student protests have spread throughout the country and campuses have literally been burning. The students’ movement has addressed a number of pressing issues, including a quest for the decolonization of the curriculum, demands for free tertiary education for all as well as a forceful critique of the neoliberal regime through which the universities (not only in South Africa) are currently managed.
In this talk I argue that a discussion of these student protest and activism as relational and material-semiotic phenomena opens up new conversations – disciplinary as well as personal. This goes hand in hand with theoretical and methodological challenges that arise when the object of study is such a difficult, slippery, violent, multi-scalar and moving matter of concern such as race. What kind of fieldwork practice, what forms of listening, what modes of association are required in such highly contested spaces? How can we take materiality and relationality seriously – beyond the outwardly symbolic role of material forms in protest action? In what ways can we think about race trouble in generative terms?