Citizenship, Narrative and Neo/colonial Histories

Saturday, 23 November 2013, 09:30 - 17:00
Open University Regional Centre, Camden, London

Organised jointly by the Postcolonial Literatures Research Group and the Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism Research Project at the Open University.

The symposium addresses narratives of citizenship as a political category in colonial and neo/colonial contexts. Citizenship has been a subject of renewed interest in the social sciences over the past two decades and has generated a proliferating body of theory which reflects on its political-historical genealogy, its emergence from a limited concept of membership to the nation-state, and its viability as a continually re-enacted political identity. In cultural history, literary criticism and postcolonial studies, however, the engagement with citizenship has been less immediate, as studies of the neo/colony have retained broader terms such as identity, ethnicity, subjectivity, nation and cosmopolitanism as favoured critical categories. This one-day symposium seeks to re-situate citizenship at the heart of current critical debates and asks how new ‘civic’ reading strategies might illuminate the politics of citizenship and its neo/colonial histories, especially where citizenship is the subject of literary and cultural narratives.

Topics addressed: citizenship and race; citizenship after orientalism; citizenship and political economy; non-European interpretations of the citizen in Africa and South Asia, civil society and civic identity; colonial and postcolonial constitutional histories; and citizenship as narrative.

Keynote speakers: Javed Majeed (King's College London); Allison Drew (University of York).

In conversation: Siddhartha Bose with Susheila Nasta

In keeping with the Open University's founding commitment to inclusive scholarship and open learning, the symposium will be free and all are welcome. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.
Symposium venue: Open University, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London NW1 8NP Directions and map:

To book one of the limited number of places please register for the event as soon as possible (and no later than Friday 15 November) by sending an email titled 'Citizenship narrative symposium' to

Citizenship, Narrative and Neo-colonial Histories (PDF document)333.87 KB
Citizenship Narratives Conference Schedule - Final.pdf206.44 KB

Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism is funded by an European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant (Institutions, values, beliefs and behaviour ERC-AG-SH2).

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