Northwestern Events Calendar


Professor Erin Pineda (Smith), “An Entire World in Motion: Civil Disobedience as Decolonizing Praxis”

When: Monday, February 21, 2022
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM Central

Where: Scott Hall, 212, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

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

Contact: Amanda Fu  

Group: Political Theory Colloquium

Co-Sponsor: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


Please join the Political Theory Colloquium from noon-1:30pm CST, Feb 21 for Professor Erin Pineda's presentation, “An Entire World in Motion: Civil Disobedience as Decolonizing Praxis”. 


Civil disobedience is often situated within the bounds of the democratic, constitutional state: protestors break the law in letter but appeal to its spirit by appealing to democracy's core principles--a form of action epitomized by, and often linked to, the example of the US civil rights movement. This chapter develops an alternative framework for understanding the civil disobedience of civil rights activists: as a decolonizing praxis that linked their dissent to that of anticolonial activists, and tied the context of Jim Crow to global white supremacy. If the constitutional, democratic state formed the normative horizon for liberal understandings of civil disobedience, activists’ horizon was defined by processes of imaginative transit – the process of thinking and traveling across boundaries and disparate contexts, though which activists in motion constructed civil disobedience as a means of transforming worldwide structures of racist imperialism, colonial rule, apartheid, and Jim Crow. Between 1920 and 1960, African American, Indian, South African, and Ghanaian activists proposed, debated, and wielded nonviolent direct action as a means of self-liberation from white supremacy’s structures of fear and violence, and a way of disrupting and transforming the practices that held those structures in place.

Professor Erin Pineda is Assistant Professor of Government at Smith College. Her research interests include the politics of protest and social movements, Black political thought, race and politics, radical democracy and 20th-century American political development. Her book Seeing Like an Activist: Civil Disobedience and the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford University Press 2021) shows how civil rights activists, in concert with anticolonial movements across the globe, turned to civil disobedience as a practice of decolonization in order to emancipate themselves and others, and in the process transform the racial order. Her work has appeared in Contemporary Political Theory, European Journal of Political Thought, and History of the Present, along with the Boston Reviewand the London Review of Books blog. Prior to coming to Smith College in the fall of 2017, she was Provost's Postdoctoral Scholar in Political Science at the University of Chicago, and a faculty affiliate of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.

The meeting will be hosted in hybrid format. For those interested in attending in-person, the event will be held at Scott Hall 212. For those joining on Zoom, please register below.

There is a limited number of copies of Prof. Pineda's book Seeing Like an Activist available for graduate students attending the talk. Please contact graduate assistant Amanda Fu ( to obtain your copy. 

Register More Info Add to Calendar

Add Event To My Group:

Please sign-in