Other Universals, is a supra-national project supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, over a five year period. The project creates a consortium of scholars across a number of universities, in South Africa (UWC, UCT, and Witwatersrand), East Africa (Makerere University), the Middle East ( American University of Beirut), Caribbean (University of West Indies: Cave Hill)and the West Africa University of Ghana-Legon. Whilst it brings together a range of institutions, at is core is the idea of creating a forum for a small number of scholars working at these universities and across these regions, to be in conversation around a common set of intellectual-political preoccupations. The idea is to create research hubs, who will meet annually, in either a colloquium or a small summer school; additionally, there is support for graduate student fellowships at the PhD level at the participating universities.
Other Universals seeks to contribute to the widening of circuits of knowledge production that often favor the Northern Hemisphere, toward a more equitable inclusion of thinkers based in, and thinking from postcolonial locations. It seeks to develop comparative scholarship on traditions of thought that speak to universal predicaments from historically specific locations. It will actively foster national and international networks to which such scholars can turn for intellectual support as well as other resources in the furthering of their research, teaching, and institution building. Whilst the content of the project is very open to what the interests of members of the consortium wish to investigate are, among the animating questions that it seeks to foster research on, are:
- Revisting Marxist traditions and the global South- what has been the relationship of Marxism/s to race, ethnicity, religion and sexuality? What can a living tradition of Marxist thought proffer to our current imaginings of a future beyond coloniality?
- Thinking from and Across Margins and Peripheries- Caribbean, African and Modern Arab political thought: how do we read figures, texts and objects in political thought from a location in the South? What does it mean to think about the idea of Black Radical Tradition? What does it mean to think about Arab political thought as modern? How do we do translation and comparison across and within traditions of political thought? What does it mean to read a text, figure or object conjuncturally?
- What is Critique? How do we historicize the practice of critique? How do we think of it in relation to secular criticism and modernity, and the larger framing of secular knowledge as distinct from religious knowledge, as foundational to the modern university; universal knowledge and particular knowledge; the location of critical thought.
- Identity and Identification: Black, Queer, Dalit, Muslim, Jew- what is the relationship between identity and identification in political and aesthetic worlds in the present? What modes of cultural citizenship and idioms of difference define insider and outsider? How do notions of majority and minority work to produce the nation?
Through this consortium, Other Universals will also provide an infrastructure for co-creating curricula that participants can take home to their various institutions to assist in the restructuring of Masters and PhD programs.
For further information, contact the PI for the project: Suren Pillay at email@example.com
Race and Caste
The Other Universals Consortium and the Center for Race, Gender and Class (University of Johannesburg) are organizing a colloquium on Race and Caste; Hierarchy and Universality at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study on Feb 21-23, 2023.
The Other Universals consortium will be hosting a webinar with Dr Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò on 28 October 2022.
Decolonisation, Africa, and International Law: Two Frames of Epistemic Violence
The Other Universals consortium will be hosting a webinar with Dr Mohsen al Attar is an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick and a Visiting Lecturer at UCL and Beijing Foreign Studies University.
Keynote Address: Unpayable Debt
Professor Denise Ferreira da Silva (The University of British Columbia) will be delivering a keynote address “Unpayable Debt” as part of the Other Universals Consortium’s 2022 public engagements on Theorizing Aesthetics and Politics from Postcolonial Locations. Date: Friday, May 20th. Time: 7 pm SAST
Keynote Address: A Prolegomenon towards ukuNqakula as an Aesthetic and Political Location
Professor Thembinkosi Goniwe will be delivering a keynote address “A prolegomenon towards ukuNqakula as an Aesthetic and Political Location” as part of the Other Universals Virtual Institute 2021 inquiry into Aesthetics and Politics on Tuesday, 23 November.
Keynote Address: The Conjuncture of 1956
Professor David Scott will be delivering a keynote address titled “The Conjecture of 1956” as part of the Other Universals Virtual Institute 2021 inquiry into The Question of the Political: Thinking Difference in the Aftermaths of the Colonial Political Economy.
Aesthetics and Politics: A Dialogue Across Continents
Join the CHR’s Heidi Grunebaum and members of the Other Universals Consortium Aaron Kamugisha (University of the West Indies), Victoria J. Collis-Buthelezi (University of Johannesburg), and Chika Mba (University of Ghana) for an online conversation with colleagues at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.
Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities
The Other Universals Consortium and CODESRIA invite you to a webinar with Professor Mahmood Mamdani about his new book Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities.
Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment
A CHR Webinar held by the Other Universals Consortium with Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi
ASA Book Prize Finalist: Elizabeth Giorgis
The CHR congratulates Professor Elizabeth Giorgis on her latest book Modernist Art in Ethiopia achieving finalist status for both the ASA Book Prize (Herskovits) and the ASA Bethwell A. Ogot Prize.
Decolonizing Theory: Thinking Across Traditions
A CHR Webinar held by the Other Universals Consortium with Aditya Nigam
The Other Universals Consortium Webinar Series
The Other Universals consortium will be hosting a webinar series from July – November 2020
A CHR Webinar held jointly between Winter School and the Other Universals Consortium with Fadi Bardawil
Worldmaking After Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination
The Other Universals consortium will be hosting a webinar with Adom Getachew.
In Search of Africa(s): Postcolonialism and the Universal
The Other Universals consortium will be hosting an online seminar with Souleymane Bachir Diagne
Illumination in Dark Times: David Scott on Stuart Hall
Professor David Scott is currently Extraordinary Professor in the CHR from 2019-2021.
Marxism, Radical Traditions and the South: Reflections on “Stuart Hall’s Voice”
The Other Universals consortium of the CHR invites you to a panel
Workshop: Migrants, Markets and the Modalities of Rule
The Migrating Violence Research Platform of the Centre for Humanities Research presents a workshop on Migrants, Markets and the Modalities of Rule.
Other Universals Public Lecture: “Sylvia Wynter’s Black Metamorphosis and the World We Live In”
Other Universals presents a public lecture by Dr. Aaron Kamugisha (Cultural Studies, University of the West Indies) on "Sylvia Wynter's Black Metamorphosis and the World […]