Over the past two decades, it has become common for social theorists to express a deep skepticism toward the Enlightenment tradition, and especially toward its embrace of certain universal principles. Nowhere is this skepticism more evident than in a body of work known as postcolonial studies. Vivek Chibber’s talk critically examines some of the central arguments from this corpus and their mistaken rejection of universalism, offering insight into the kinds of generally applicable explanations and principles necessary for the success of a new progressive and egalitarian social agenda. Chibber’s talk takes up the threads of his recently published Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital (Verso Books, 2013) highly acclaimed for its wide-ranging challenge to core tenets of the field. Emphasizing universal categories like capital and class, Chibber probes for ways out of the overconcentration on the particularity of identity, found not only in academic debates but in cultural politics at large.
For more information: academycologne.org