Lecture by Françoise Vergès: “L’Atelier and other artistic decolonial practices. Fostering anti-capitalism and political anti-racism”

LECTURE FRANÇOISEData: 27 November 2018

Hora: 6.30 pm

Local: Hangar – Artistic Research Centre, Lisbon

Françoise Vergès will discuss some of the cultural and artistic practices she has been developing in the last fifteen years: the museum without objects, “Banana and Imperialism: A Travel Across Time and Space”, “The Slave in the Louvre: An Invisible Humanity”, and L’Atelier, a collective and collaborative workshop with black artists in Paris.

Françoise Vergès is an anti-racist feminist scholar who has written extensively on Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, memories of slavery, the decolonial museum, and feminism. In her most recent book, “The Black Women’s Womb. Capitalism, Race, Feminism” (2017), she explores the racial politics of birth control from the slave trade to today, and criticizes white bourgeois feminism.

Vergès spent her childhood in La Réunion, and has lived in Algeria, France, Mexico, England and the United States. After having worked as a journalist and editor in the women’s liberation movement in France, she moved to the United States in 1983, where she worked before enrolling in university. She obtained a dual Bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in Political Science and Women’s Studies in San Diego, then a Doctorate in Political Science at Berkeley, California (1995). Her thesis “Monsters and Revolutionaries. Colonial Family Romance”, for which she obtained the award for the best thesis in political theory, was published by Duke University Press (1999). She has taught at Sussex University and Goldsmiths College in England. She became a member of the Comité pour la mémoire et l’histoire de l’esclavage (Committee for the remembrance and history of slavery) in 2004 (Taubira Act of 2001), and was its president from 2009 to 2012. Between 2003 and 2010, she developed the scientific and cultural programme for a museum for the 21st century on the island of La Réunion. She is also a member of several institutions working to prevent discrimination and racism; she sits on the board of the Galerie Bétonsalon and on the scientific council of the Fondation Lilian Thuram – Éducation contre le racisme. Vergès was also chairholder of the Global South(s) Chair at the Collège d’Études Mondiales from 2014 to 2018.

Her publications include: “Décolonisons les Arts!”, L’Arche, Paris, 2018, with Leïla Cukeirman and Gerty Dambury; “Le ventre des femmes. Capitalisme, racialisation, féminisme”, Albin Michel, Paris, 2017; “Exposer l’esclavage: méthodologies et pratiques. Colloque international en hommage à Édouard Glissant”, Africultures, Paris, 2013; “L’Homme prédateur. Ce que nous enseigne l’esclavage sur notre temps”, Albin Michel, Paris, 2011; “Ruptures postcoloniales: Les nouveaux visages de la société française”, with Nicolas Bancel, Florence Bernault, Pascal Blanchard, Ahmed Boubakeur and Achille Mbembe, La Découverte, Paris, 2010.

This is the third event of the series Thinking from the South: Comparing Post-Colonial Histories and Diasporic Identities through Artistic Practices and Spaces, organized by Ana Balona de Oliveira within the framework of the research project ‘Visual Culture, Migration, Globalization and Decolonization’ of the research group CITCOM.

This series of talks and lectures intends to open up a comparative discussion on the ways in which artistic practices and spaces – most notably those whose programming is centred on anti-racist, feminist, diasporic and migratory politics – have been working towards an epistemic decolonization.  With speakers from different generations, geographical contexts and professional backgrounds, the series will provide an opportunity for sharing knowledge and experiences on colonial, anti- and post-colonial histories and diasporic identities, and for looking into transnational and trans-disciplinary strategies of decolonization through artistic, curatorial, activist and academic practices. It departs from the premise that cultural production has a fundamental role to play in political, social and economic arenas.