Poster zur Agora #3

Hegel (anti)kolonial

Franz Knappik (U Bergen), Daniel James (TU Desden), Lindokuhle Shabane (GRK Contradiction Studies) & Sabine Broeck (U Bremen)

14.06.2023 18:00

U Bremen CART 067 & online

Hegel arguably developed and disseminated racist and pro-colonialist views. At the same time, he has been a source of inspiration for generations of progressive philosophers, incl. thinkers in the Black radical tradition and their accounts of liberation. „Hegel(anti)kolonial“ is a project that aims to examine this ambivalent colonial legacy, both by discussing Hegel’s own texts and thought and by exploring issues of race and colonialism in traditions of post-Hegelian thought. In this talk, we exemplify this approach by focusing on one key instance, the topic of transatlantic slavery. In lectures and publications during his Berlin period, Hegel provides a series of comments on transatlantic slavery that we discuss in the first part of our talk. Constructing the debate on the abolition of slavery as an ‚antinomy‘ between anti- and pro-slavery views, he argues that slavery ultimately has to be overcome, but he also holds that as a tool for ‚disciplining‘ people of African descent (who, on his degrading account, lack the mental preconditions for a life in freedom) slavery is provisionally legitimate, and should not be abolished immediately. Hegel’s partial defense of slavery draws on his famous ‚master-slave‘ dialectic, which later would become a point of reference for various authors in the Black radical tradition. Among them, the second part of our talk singles out Angela Davis, who discusses the master-slave dialectic in her 1970 Lectures on Liberation, through the lens of Frederick Douglass’s account of his liberation. As we will show, Davis separates the ‚master-slave‘ dialectic from its apologetic context and drops the racialist background assumptions that supported Hegel’s partial defense of slavery. Instead, she emphasises the role of struggle (as opposed to ‚discipline‘) in liberating the enslaved. Davis, too, conceptualizes these issues in terms of a contradiction, but she locates it elsewhere than Hegel with his ‚antinomy‘ of slavery − namely, in the ‚paradox‘ of bourgeois philosophy that claims freedom for all humans, while de facto denying it to many.

Prof. Franz Knappik (U Bergen)
Dr. Daniel James (TU Dresden)

in Diskussion mit

Lindokuhle Shabane (GRK Contradiction Studies) und
Prof. Sabine Broeck (U Bremen)


Zurück zur Übersicht

„Die fachwissenschaftliche Geographie steht für eine gewisse Erdung der Widerspruchsthematik sowohl in theoretischer als auch in praktischer Hinsicht.“

Julia Lossau
Bhabha zu Aufklärung und Kolonialität

„Homi Bhabha sagt über den Widerspruch zwischen den Idealen der Aufklärung, dem Anspruch auf Demokratie und Solidarität und der gleichzeitigen Kolonisierung und andauernden Kolonialität: ‚Diese ideologische Spannung, die in der Geschichte des Westens als despotische Macht im Moment der Geburt von Demokratie und Moderne sichtbar wurde, ist noch nicht angemessen in einer widersprüchlichen und kontrapunktischen Diskurstradition beschrieben worden.‘“

Kerstin Knopf
Idee demokratischer Kritik

„Wer das Widersprechen ohne das Anbieten einer besseren Lösung als widersprüchlich empfindet, hat die Idee demokratischer Kritik nicht verstanden.“

Martin Nonhoff
Widerspruch benennen

»Widerspruch wird da real, wo jemand Widerspruch benennt.«

Ingo H. Warnke
Afterlife of colonialism

“Contradiction comes in many different forms. None is so debilitating than when the coloniser transitions, textually not politically, to decoloniality without taking the responsibility for the afterlife of colonialism, which they continue to benefit from. Self-examination and self-interrogation of the relations of coloniality, a necessity, seem nearly impossible for the coloniser who continues to act as beneficiary, masked in the new-found language of White fragility, devoid of an ethical responsibility of the very system of White domination they claim to be against.” (Black Consciousness and the Politics of the Flesh)

Rozena Maart