Northwestern Events Calendar


Workshop: Democracy, Critique, and Europe's "Crisis": Black Feminist and Decolonial Troubles

When: Thursday, August 29, 2019
2:00 PM - 6:00 PM Central

Where: Crowe Hall, 1-132, 1860 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: This is a free event sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for the Critical Theory in the Global South project.

Contact: Emily Ruf  

Group: Critical Theory in the Global South

Co-Sponsor: Critical Theory

Category: Academic


In Western Europe, democracy is understood as under challenge due to the rise of populism, neoliberalism, and the renewal of authoritarianism. One of these two papers questions the current narrative of crisis by locating the ongoing workings of coloniality in the former colonial metropoles of Europe and by tracing liberal democracy’s normative and material entanglements with colonialism since its emergence with modernity. The other paper rethinks democratic inclusion - by calling for a sound theorisation of democracy’s embodied life and moving towards a Black feminist critique of democracy. In so doing, both papers put the “crisis of European democracy” diagnosis in trouble - They both rethink the history and genealogy of democracy and open up new horizons for a radical democratization of democracy from decolonial and black feminist perspectives.


Talk 1: Coloniality as Crisis - Towards a Decolonial Critique of Democracy

by JEANETTE EHRMANN (Justus Liebig University Giessen / Northwestern University)

Dr. Jeanette Ehrmann is a postdoctoral research associate at the Institute for Political Science at Justus Liebig University Giessen and currently a visiting scholar at the “Critical Theory in the Global South Project” at Northwestern University. Her research interests are situated in political theory, post- and decolonial studies, feminist and race critical theories. For her dissertation entitled “Tropes of Freedom. The Haitian Revolution and the Decolonization of the Political” (book manuscript in preparation for Suhrkamp, 2020), she has received the Werner Pünder-Prize 2019 for outstanding research on the subject of “freedom and domination in past and present”. Currently, she focuses on a decolonial critique of democracy and conducts a research project on Postcolonial Gender Relations and the Crisis of Democracy, funded by the Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts.


Talk 2: Embodied voices and paradoxical inclusion: a Black feminist critique of democracy

by NOÉMI MICHEL (University of Geneva / Northwestern University)

Dr. Noémi Michel is a senior lecturer in political theory at the Department of Political Science of the University of Geneva and visiting scholar at the Department of African American studies, Northwestern University, for the year 2019-2020. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of postcolonial and critical race theory, with a focus on diasporic Black feminist thought. Her recent work has been published in Critical Horizons, Postcolonial Studies and Social Politics. Her current research explores on the one hand conflicting grammars of antiracism in European public debates and institutions, on the other, Black feminist theorization of political voice.

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