Associate professor: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, PhD
Professor: Antje Majewski
Research/ course assistant: Felisha Bahadur
That the institution of colonialism has had a lasting impact, both prominently and subtly, in the realms of politics, economics, culture, philosophy and more in our contemporary societies is hardly a hyperbole. The legacy of racialisation processes, dehumanization concepts, gender-, class- and race-based power gradients, as well as religious and capitalist structures inherent to the colonial institution have been in many ways engraved in thought systems of both the (former) colonized and colonisers.
In the last circa four decades, an enourmous amount of theories, debates, literatures that deal with, reflect upon and challenge our postcolonial realities have been produced. The aforementioned laid a foundation to (re-) thinking history, place, language, science and culture in the so-called aftermath of colonialism or within neocolonialism. On the other hand, there has been some significant critique on the limitations of any postcolonial thoughtframes, especially with regards to the reactionary nature of postcolonial theory, but also how these sometimes ignore pre-colonial knowledge. In Esiaba Irobi’s words “postcolonial theory, from The Empire Strikes Back through Spivak’s Critique of Postcolonial Reason to Paul Gilroy’s Postcolonial Melancholia is a reaction to Western imperialist history and intellectual ideology. It is a spirited engagement with the structures of thinking and actions that facilitate the continued subordination, marginalization and exploitation of the intellectual resources and cultural reserves of the previously colonized peoples of the Western and non-Western worlds.”
It is at this crossroad of the absolute relevance of, but also critique towards postcolonial theory that this semester long course A Relexification through Postcolonial Theory and Practice will be realised. The quintessence of this course is to look at how the complexities of postcolonial reasonings, colonial and neocolonial legacies, but also the distancing away from colonial debates are reflected in the works of (contemporary) artists. We will look at how artists consciously or uncconsciously thematize issues of nationalism, hybridity, representation, resistance, (post-) modernism, ethnicity, as well as gender, language and performativity through the prism of a long history from the middle passage through colonialism and a postcolonial reality. In this venture we will look at the entangled histories of the West and the non-West, reflect upon claims of universality, deliberate on theories and practices related to the dynamics of gender, sexuality, class, race, religion, we will scrutinize South-North/ East-West migration flows and the state of refugeeness, we will look at globalization processes embedded in capitalist and neoliberal structures and cultures, just as much as we will look at processes of decolonisation in the works of artists, and in other domains of cultural expressions.
We will also critically reflect on the classification of time into pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial and put a spotlight on postcolonial critique.
The course will encompass looking at artists‘ works and group reading of some crutial positions in postcolonial theory and its critique, but also looking at some cultural journals and publications.
Artists: see longer list
- Can the Subaltern Speak? – Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
- Signs Taken for Wonders – Homi K.Bhabha
- Colonialist Criticism – Chinua Achebe
- Heroic Ethnocentrism: The Idea of Universality in Literature – Charles Larson
- Orientalism – Edward W.Said
- The Postcolonial and the Postmodern – Kwame Anthony Appiah
- The Politics of the Possible – Kumkum Sangari
- National Culture – Frantz Fanon
- Fanon, Cabral and Ngugi on National Liberation – Chidi Amuta
- Dissemination: Time, Narrative, and the Margins of the Modern Nation – Homi K.Bhabha
- Creolization in Jamaica – Edward Kamau Brathwaite
- Cultural Diversity and Cultural Differences – Homi K.Bhabha
- No Master Territories – Trinh T.Minh-ha
- New Ethnicities – Stuart Hall
- The Myth of Authenticity – Gareth Griffiths
- Decolonizing Culture: Toward a Theory for Post-colonial Women’s Texts – Ketu H.Katrak
- Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism – Trinh T.Minh-ha
- Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism – Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
- The Language of African Literature – Ngugi wa Thiong’o
- Nation Language – Edward Kamau Brathwaite
- The Fact of Blackness – Frantz Fanon
- Jazz and the West Indian Novel – Edward Kamau Brathwaite
- Presence Africaine
- Revue Tropique
- Peuples Noirs, Peuples Africains
- Small Axe
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, PhD (born in 1977 in Yaoundé, Cameroon) is an independent art curator and biotechnologist. He is the founder and artistic director of the art space SAVVY Contemporary Berlin and editor-in-chief of the journal SAVVY Journal for critical texts on contemporary African art.
His recent curatorial projects include If You Are So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich? On the Economy of Knowledge, Marrakech Biennial Satellite, 2014; Giving Contours to Shadows, n.b.k., Gorki Theater, Gemäldegalerie, SAVVY Contemporary as well as satellites in Dakar, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Marrakesh, 2014; The Ultimate Capital is the Sun, nGbK, 2014; but the sea kept turning blank pages looking for history – on the state of refugeeness, SAVVY Contemporary, 2014; Discursive programm – Wir Sind Alle Berliner: 1884-2014, Institute for Cutural Inquiry Berlin, 2015; Satch Hoyt: Riding Celestial Vessels, Galerie Wedding, 2015; Ilja Karilampi: Hauptstadtrevier, Galerie Wedding, 2015. He is curator of the year long art project An Age of our Own Making for Images 2016 in Holbæk, Roskilde and Copenhagen.
Ndikung has lectured amongst others at Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, 2013; IKT Lab#3, Fondation Gulbenkian Paris, 2013; Critical Dialogues, Tyler School of Art Philadelphia, 2014; Haverford College, 2014; Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle, 2014; CuMMA Discourse Series, Aalto University Helsinki, 2015. He is taking an associate professorship on Postcolonial Theory and Art at the Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel.