Berlin - (Post-)Colonialism - Accounting for the Past
(Post-)Colonial Injustice and Legal Interventions
With the Colonial Repercussions/Koloniales Erbe event series, the Akademie der Künste examines the structures of colonial power relations, which continue to impact on science, art and society today. From January to June 2018, three two-day symposia explore the blind spots of the colonial legacies during lectures, panels, performances, artistic interventions and workshops.
Reprocessing colonialism means bearing a visionary moment for the future of Europe. The primary focus of this event series is the question as to the legacy of European colonialism still being tangible today: How does it have an impact on Europe and the rest of the world? How can traditional power structures be broken down and the associated fear of relinquishing powers be overcome? And what would a society look like that evolves creatively based on diversity and not based on white, hegemonic traditions of knowledge?
Under the curatorship of Wolfgang Kaleck (General Secretary of ECCHR) and Karina Theurer (ECCHR) international legal experts joined the two-day opening conference on 26 and 27 January 2018 to discuss the colonial crimes of the European states and the question of reparations.
The program includes talks and panels with Antony Anghie, Christian Bommarius, Williams Chima, Luis Eslava, Kranti LC, Gesine Krüger, Christophe Marchand, Mnyaka Sururu Mboro, Ester Muinjangue, Makau Mutua, Obiora Chinedu Okafor, Bernadus Swartbooi, Celine Tan und Liesbeth Zegveld
Artistic works like the jazz performance by the Congolese author and Junge Akademie fellow Fiston Mwanza Mujila
, the video work by the Brazilian artist Ayrson Heráclito
"O Sacudimento da Casa de Torre" (2015) and the Akademie member Marcel Odenbach
"Im Schiffbruch nicht schwimmen können" (2011) reflect on the global ramifications of decolonialisation in today’s society.
The first symposium of the “Colonial Repercussions” event series is supposed to be a resonant space for postcolonial criticism of the law. It traced how violence has been rendered invisible and injustice was made effective law. Do these structures persist until today in terms of development policies, financial systems, and asymmetrical trade relations? Do human rights act in the guise of a Trojan horse or do they have emancipatory potential? Why is there neither redress nor payment of reparations for the colonial crimes committed by the European states?
On the one hand, if the German side assures the will to return in certain individual cases, but at the same time stresses that it does not recognize any legal duty to return, this amounts to reproducing colonial images of patrons and petitioners.