Seminar by Engin Isin | ‘Citizenship before orientalism: Decolonising postcolonial societies’
11/05/2016 @ 15:00 - 16:30
Citizenship as an analytical category is increasingly used to study political practices in postcolonial societies. Scholars working in Asian studies, African studies, or American studies are now investigating various aspects of citizenship along with categories such as patronage, clientelism, and tribalism. Yet, to what extent and how to use ‘citizenship’ to describe practices before colonisation remains contested. Can there be citizenship before orientalism? Similarly, to what extent postcolonial societies have been able to transform colonial mentalities and practices of citizenship that they inherited remains a difficult issue. Can there be postcolonial citizenship? It seems to me that these two questions depend on each other. Claims to decolonising citizenship in postcolonial societies must tackle both questions. I will illustrate these questions with an illustration from Ottoman studies with a focus on Islamic trust institution (waqf, awqaf, pl.) that also has relevance for Asian studies.
Engin Isin is professor of politics at The Open University (UK) and studies practices of making rights claims that bring political subjects into being in various historical and contemporary sites and scenes.