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Colonial Heritage & Knowledge Production in Conflict


Hybrid Lecture by Prof. Dr. Paul Basu
Wednesday, 5th October 2022 – 19h CET / University of Freiburg, KG I, Lecture Hall 1098
Colonial Heritage and Knowledge Production in Conflict

In this lecture Paul Basu reflects on the relationships between colonialism and conflict, and colonialism and the production of knowledge about conflict through the lens of two periods of conflict in the West African state of Sierra Leone. The first period concerns the so-called Hut Tax War and Mendi Uprising of 1898, which followed the declaration of the Sierra Leone hinterland as a British Protectorate. The second, one hundred years later, concerns the 1991-2002 Sierra Leonean civil war, which followed 30 years after Sierra Leone’s independence from British rule. Commissions were appointed in the aftermath of both periods of conflict to investigate the causes and events of the conflicts, and to make sense of the seemingly senseless violence. Basu explores these processes of meaning-making and the colonial and postcolonial hierarchies of value they reveal. What kinds of knowledge inform the work of these commissions and their reports? Whose voices and testimonies are attended to? What purpose do these narratives of conflict serve? What truths do they obscure?
To attend online, please register under the link https://formaloo.net/lecture_paulbasu. A zoom-link to access the lecture will be provided via E-Mail a few days before the event.  

Paul Basu is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Bonn. He holds the Hertz-Chair for the transdisciplinary Research Area Present Pasts, where he is establishing a Global Heritage Lab to elaborate on decolonial approaches in cultural research and on the question of how to incorporate past experiences approaching present issues with the aim to imagine a more sustainable and just future. Basu’s research topics are Africa, the Anthropocene, Collections, Indigenous Communities and Source Communities as well as Temporality and Spatiality.  

This event takes place within the framework of the research initiative Postcolonial Hierarchies in Peace and Conflict funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Wo?University of Freiburg, KG I, Lecture Hall 1098