Masterclass: Ann Laura Stoler

Where: University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
When: 7-9 December 2017
Contact: David Duindam,; Paul Bijl,  (after August 1st:

Ann Laura Stoler is Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research in New York. She will deliver a keynote lecture at the 2017 AHM conference “Materialities of Postcolonial Memory” from 7-9 December in Amsterdam. Stoler has worked for some thirty years on the politics of knowledge, colonial governance, racial epistemologies, the sexual politics of empire, and ethnography of the archives. Her books include Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (1995), Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule (2002), Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense (2009) and the edited volume Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination (2013). Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times was recently published with Duke University Press.

On December 9 2017, Stoler will teach a masterclass hosted by NICA. During this masterclass, she will address the trajectory of her work and how subjects change both the form and content of the writing process. How do words, concepts, and style matter? Time of the masterclass: December 9, 4pm – 6pm, location: Vondelzaal, University Library in Amsterdam (Singel 425). Students who wish to participate in the masterclass are required to participate in the AHM conference, and especially attend prof. Stoler’s keynote lecture. After the masterclass students write a 1,500 word paper. If you wish to participate, please send a brief motivation of no more than one page to before October 15, 2017. A selection of articles and chapters will be distributed to all participants.

Dissecting Violence

Structures, Imaginaries, Resistances

ASCA/NICA Graduate Workshop 2018, 4-6 April 2018
Organized by Peyman Amiri, Natasha Basu, Bernardo Caycedo

Violence is all around us. Our everyday practices, unwillingly and unknowingly, often support cultural, social, economic, and legal structures that cause and perpetuate physical and psychological harm. These structures, whether visible or hidden, tend to privilege certain groups of people, and dehumanise other groups. The way we conceive violence depends highly on the groups we belong to or are categorised in, and on our individual and collective experiences. Our reactions to violence, whether to comply with or resist it, are influenced by the way we perceive blatant and subtle forms of violence.

In Dissecting Violence: Structures, Imaginaries, Resistance, we will take on violence and its structures, its imaginaries and representations, as well as the multiple ways it can be resisted. Due to the complexity of these topics, the conference encourages researchers, artists, and activists from a wide range of disciplines to participate in the debate.

Structures of Violence

“Whatever is called ‘violence’ becomes regarded as violent from a particular perspective embedded in a defining framework. We might first presume that violence is physical, but if we do that, we fail to account for those kinds of violence that are linguistic, emotional, institutional, and economic, that undermine and expose life to harm or death, but do not take the literal form of a blow.”(Judith Butler 2016)

Wars, famines, rioting, terrorist attacks, police brutality, and colonial continuities on a global scale are caused and perpetuated by institutions that are considered legitimate, if not democratic. There are also types of violence that may not be evident to us due to the way they are normalised through cultural practices, but are nonetheless sustained by structures that are shaped by those same institutions. In this stream, we welcome presentations that address structures of violence, such as heteronormative marriage, geo-political borders, workplace relations, and environmental degradation.

We are interested in understanding how these types and intersections of structural violence operate, and their epistemic premises. What are the features of these structures that make them violent? How do certain societal features support these structures of violence? How do structures of violence seep into spheres that are traditionally understood as not political (family, friendship, marriage and partnership)? How do these structures differ, overlap and intersect in particular geopolitical and cultural contexts? For example, what is the difference between how state and financial violence operates in Europe and Africa? How do the structures of violence differ and intersect as they operate at the border between Palestine/Israel, Mexico and the US, and in the Mediterranean Sea?

Imaginaries of Violence

“The causes and effects of extreme violence are not produced on one and the same stage, but on different “scenes” or “stages,” which can be pictured as “real” and “virtual” or “imaginary” –but the imaginary and virtual are probably no less material, no less determining than real.” (Etienne Balibar, 2001)

Even though certain forms of structural violence may be overlooked, individual and collective actions and productions can make them visible. We welcome presentations on how violence can be represented, imagined and mediatised by material, visual and artistic productions. Some representations of violence, with strong political significance, are based on “imaginaries of violence”, understood as collective ways of conceiving violence detached from factual evidence. These imaginaries constitute the subjective dimension of collective experiences of violence, which can lead to clashes over who is entitled to determine what violence is, and who the victims and perpetrators are. At the same time, these imaginaries emphasise the role of affects and emotions in defining violence.

This stream is open to discussions that address questions such as: how do traditional media, new media and art portray, publicise, exploit, produce or disregard violence? To what extent are these various ways of relating to violence based on “imaginaries of violence”? How can cultural productions lead to the normalisation or naturalisation of violent social practices? What specific kinds of violence are committed by or through the media? What digital behaviours could or should be considered contemporary forms of violence? What do practices such as cyberbullying, trolling, revenge porn, doxing and leaking make us understand about violence in the digital realm?

Resisting Violence

“[T]o destroy one thing for the sake of constructing another thing. That is resistance.” (Amilcar Cabral, 1969)

The key issue in this stream is the connection between violence and resistance: how can structures of violence condition resistance and how could resistance perpetuate violence? Is the destruction of structures of violence unavoidably violent or a matter of tactical choice? The various theoretical and practical ways of reacting to violence and resisting its structures can be analysed from a conceptual or a normative perspective.

We are interested in presentations that analyse how tactics of resistance such as armed struggle, occupations, civil disobedience, everyday forms of resistance, self-immolations, hunger strikes, satyagraha, hacktivism, symbolic resistance, and other forms that have been traditionally overlooked, contest structures of violence. Additionally, how do certain theories and methods like postcolonial and decolonial theories, feminism, intersectionality, queer theory, etc. in themselves resist violence?

Equally welcome are presentations that address normative questions such as: who has the moral authority and legitimacy to determine which forms of resistance may be called violent or nonviolent? How can this labelling be contested? How could the violent/non-violent characterisation function as a constraint on collective movements of emancipation that aim at transforming structures of violence? To what extent do means shape ends and/or ends justify means when it comes to resisting violence?


Submission Guidelines

We welcome abstracts of up to 300 words and short bios of up to 100 words. Please send the abstract and bio as attachments to by 15 October 2017. Upon acceptance, you will be asked to submit your full presentation by 31 January 2018. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.


Dissecting Violence Website

Cultural Studies Now

Instructor: Murat Aydemir
Register: send an email to Eloe Kingma at before October 15. Please be sure to specify your master program and university

Cultural Studies and Cultural Analysis are no longer the rebellious upstarts they used to be. They have become canonised and institutionalised fields at a time in which the (critical, hermeneutic, theoretical) Humanities are under attack. At the same time, the political promises of the field — e.g. the emancipatory claims associated with identity politics and popular culture — seem no longer quite warranted, or at least demand new forms of confrontation and engagement.

All this suggests it is now all the more urgent to ask ourselves anew how we want to inhabit or relate to the field. How do we wish to situate ourselves in, or perhaps vis-à-vis, Cultural Studies academically, institutionally, intellectually, and politically? In this course, we will revisit the main genealogies and methodologies of Cultural Studies in relation to current developments, exploring the following five areas of contestation: conjuncture, politics, reality, interdisciplinarity, culture. How did Cultural Studies start out? What can it now be?

With key readings by Stuart Hall, Mieke Bal, Paul Smith, Lawrence Grossberg, and many others.


This is a NICA core activity. Completing this activity earns you a certificate specifying the number of EC credits at stake. You can have this certificate formally registered at your institution’s administrative office. You may need to acquire the permission of your program coordinator and/or board of examinations in order to participate and earn credits for this activity.


Decolonial Studies and Political Philosophy

Instructor: Yolande Jansen
Register: send an email to Eloe Kingma at before March 15. Please be sure to specify your master program and university

In the humanities, globalization has until quite recently been studied from two rather distinct perspectives: either from a postcolonial or decolonial cultural-historical perspective, or from a normative, political theoretical perspective, often rooted in the liberal and human rights traditions. Over the last years, it has been increasingly recognized by scholars from both the cultural and political-theoretical fields that integrating these perspectives would be helpful to enhance the humanities’ critical and practical potential in today’s world. Criticism of the legacies of eurocentrism and colonialism in liberalism and the human rights traditions is then combined with cutting edge political philosophical work concentrating on questions of imperialism, freedom and global justice, f.e., increasingly, on resource and environmental justice.

This course looks at the intersection of decolonial studies and normative political philosophy, and tries to address them from a relatively integrated perspective. We bring together both fields in a systematic way by testing normative theories of global justice and human rights in political philosophy against the works of liberalism’s critics from a decolonial or critical theoretical perspective.

During the first three weeks, we will read a number of articles tracing the intricacies of colonialism and liberalism, both from an intellectual historical perspective, and from a systematic political theoretical perspective. After these readings we will concentrate on contemporary work on global justice. We will then compare the two traditions and discuss whether and in what ways they could be fruitfully combined for a decolonial philosophy of global justice, and discuss the the limitations of focusing on ‘justice’.


James Tully. (2008) Public Philosophy in a New Key, Volume II; Imperialism and Civic Freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Articles by: Charles Mills, Duncan Bell, Ian Hunter, Leif Wenar, Henry Shue, Lea Ypi, Thomas Pogge, Barnor Hesse, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Duncan Ivison, David Armitage, Boaventura de Soussa Santos


This is a NICA core activity. Completing this activity earns you a certificate specifying the number of EC credits at stake. You can have this certificate formally registered at your institution’s administrative office. You may need to acquire the permission of your program coordinator and/or board of examinations in order to participate and earn credits for this activity.