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Colonial Disgust – A Case of Institutionalised Defamation in German Cultural Studies?

23. Oktober 2012

Colonial Disgust – A Case of Institutionalised Defamation in German Cultural Studies? presented by Kien Nghi Ha at the International Conference „Decolonize the City! Decolonial Perspectives on the Neoliberal City“, Berlin, 21.-23.09.2012, Rosa-Luxemburg Foudation
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The complicity of scientists, scientific works and scientific institutions within White Western colonial power structures and culture is not only a historical, but contemporary phenomenon that needs ongoing scrutiny. My case involves the critical discussion of an astonishing flawed book review by the White German literary scholar Thomas Schwarz of my award-winning monograph “Unrein und vermischt. Postkoloniale Grenzgänge durch die Kulturgeschichte der Hybridität und der kolonialen ‘Rassenbastarde’” [Impure and Mixed. Postcolonial Inquiries into the Cultural History of Hybridity and Colonial ‘Bastards’”] (transcript 2010). The review was published in March 2012 by the Internationale Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der Deutschen Literatur (IASL), an important peer-reviewed online-journal in German Cultural Studies.

My inquiry discusses apparently unfair and indefensible practices on the textual as well as on the institutional level including intransparent and manipulative modifications after publication, numerous factual errors, misrepresentations of my argumentation, baseless assumptions and misleading omissions. Ultimately, this case raises much more general questions about epistemic violence, structural discrimination and institutional exclusion of Scholars of Color in White hegemonic academia, which betrays or disillusions the believe in rational, universalistic and liberal values, that are claimed to be the fundament of enlightened sciences in democratic societies.

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