Keynote Lecture – Prof. dr Sandra Ponzanesi (Utrecht University)

The Political Economy of Postcolonial Studies

Date: 5 June, 2015
9.30 registration with coffee & tea / 10.00 Welcome / Lecture 10.05 – 11.05
Venue: University Theatre, 1.01A, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16-18, Amsterdam
Registration: (Lecture only)

This presentation offers an interpretation of a component of postcolonial studies by unpacking its relation to the cultural industry. It analyzes how cultural productions are not just aesthetic objects, or pure disposable commodities, but “practices” that engage the local and the global in specific ways. While taking inspiration from Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s critical notion of the culture industry, the presentation engages with the postcolonial cultural industry as a site of co-production and conflict between producers and consumers, marketing experts, readers and audiences. Examples will be taken from the adaptation industry and how it contributes to the marketing and transposition of postcolonial texts, on the role of ethnic chick lit and their rearticulation of race, ethnicity, class, affect and embodiment in local and global contexts, and on the creation of celebrity status for postcolonial spokesperson. By connecting cultural analysis to marketing strategies and theories of globalization, the talk will situate the “postcolonial cultural industry” as a critical intervention into the operations of the global marketplace and their contestation.

Sandra Ponzanesi is Professor of Gender and Postcolonial Studies at the Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University, Head of Humanities at University College Utrecht, and the founder of the Postcolonial Studies Initiative at Utrecht University. Her interdisciplinary research interests include postcolonial studies, feminist theories, media studies, postcolonial cinema and Europe. She is the author of Paradoxes of Post-colonial Culture (State University of New York Press 2004) and co-editor of multiple edited volumes, among which Postcolonial Cinema Studies (Routledge, 2012), Deconstructing Europe. Postcolonial Perspectives (Routledge, 2012). She has recently edited Gender, Globalization and Violence (2014). This one-day masterclass is organized on the occasion of the publication of her newest book is The Postcolonial Cultural Industry (Palgrave, 2014).

This lecture is part of a masterclass with Dr. Sandra Ponzanesi.