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Lecture: Rethinking the coloniality and violence of famines in the Global South

Poster for ALMA Lecture Series 2023 „Postcolonial Hierarchies and their Contestation from the Global South"


As part of this year's ALMA Lecture Series, Swati Parashar will speak on the topic of "Rethinking the coloniality and violence of famines in the Global South":

Postcolonial scholars contend that we are still doing body counts of colonialism’s violence, hence, epistemic and discursive categories may not account for the materiality of violence and the magnitude of physical and psychological injuries it causes. As Hannah Arendt would say, “what a risky business to tell the truth on a factual level without theoretical and scholarly embroidery.” Can we consider erasures and silences as violence when we are still looking at injured, violated, exterminated, disappearing, mourning, lifeless, dead, rotting and suffering bodies? How can bodily injuries beyond sudden and spectacular deaths be accounted for on a temporal scale?

In this lecture, Swati Parashar sheds light on the slow and silent deaths, displacement and gendered suffering that occur in geographies of starvation produced through colonial encounters. The lecture engages with the existing dilemmas of studying the violence of famines and the coloniality of discourses around starving bodies in the Global South. This reflection considers the need to break away from the theoretical impulses of locating famines within the existing frameworks of disaster and crisis, and yet argues that justice and accountability for mass hunger crimes can only be enabled through particular discursive framings of injured bodies and the violence of colonial continuities.



This year's focus of the ALMA Lecture Series is the thematisation of postcolonial hierarchies and their contestation by the global South. We ask how decolonial perspectives from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia can contribute to understanding and confronting postcolonial hierarchies in political arenas ranging from logistics and trade, food, artivism, feminism, to everyday academic practices of knowledge production and collaborative research.

The ALMA Lecture Series 2023 is organised by the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute (ABI) in cooperation with the BMBF network "Postcolonial Hierarchies in Peace & Conflict", the Global Studies Programme (GSP) and the Colloquium Politicum of the University of Freiburg.

Find more information and an overview of all other events in this year's ALMA Lecture Series here.

Who?Swati Parashar
Where?Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, KG III, HS 3044 & hybrid