Wednesday, January 31, 2024
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
McKinney Conference Room 353, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer
*This event is currently at capacity. Given that in-person attendance can be unpredictable, please feel free to register and show up on the day of the event. Standby attendees can often be admitted.
About the Event
This talk goes back to the Expedition of Egypt and the colonization of Algeria as matrixes of how European colonialism operated in what is now called "North Africa" and the "Middle East." Legally defined via their alleged "religion," Jewish or Muslim Algerians were racialized by a secularized empire. After 1870, the signifier of "Islam" became the racial name par excellence – literally a name for race – once Muslims were declared to be inconvertible but colonizable. This led to the foundation of an apartheid state in North Africa which predates the apartheid system in South Africa. In this talk, Professor Meziane will argue that, notwithstanding their past and present political power, the dominant critiques of race and colonialism since Fanon have not been able to fully make sense of the theologico-political layers of racism. It is precisely when it racializes what politically counts as “religion” and not only skin color that racism is not seen as such, thus operating by virtue of its very denial. How does a historical analysis of the theologico-political history of race destabilize the dominant assumptions of postcolonial and decolonial studies? How does it help us think about historical beginnings such as 1492 anew, and thus reconceptualize the very idea of "colonial modernity?"