Courses and Workshops

Ovidiu Țichindeleanu, IDEA arts+society (Cluj, România) – What is Decoloniality? An East European Introduction to Decolonial Thought

The 2017 edition of the Telciu Summer School builds on the experience of the previous editions by situating from the outset the discussion about rurality, modernities, and the politics of well-being on a background that privileges the direct encounter between differing histories and “subaltern” or “peripheral” positions with a determined take on oppression and enslavement, development and dependency, as well as well-being and noncapitalist economies of sustainability. Decolonial thought oriented the discussion about “global designs and local histories” in Telciu and the course will consequently offer an introduction in decolonial thought conceived as an effort to situate ourselves in the problem, rather than speaking about the problem. This course takes advantage of Telciu’s position as an experiment in pedagogy by investing in radical claims and rejecting the tendency of neutralizing thought. The introductory course proposes a common vocabulary, material and historical references over a contested territory, asking questions about the historical and political positionalities of “Eastern Europe”, “East-Europeans”, “Romanians” and rural Transylvanians, both in the long-durée relation to capitalism and coloniality, as well as in relation to the more recent period of the postcommunist transition.

Madina Tlostanova, Linköping University (Linköping, Suedia) – The postcolonial/postsocialist condition and the decolonial option

The course will address different interpretations of the postsocialist human condition – from the end of history discourse, situating the ex-second world in the void, to the postcolonial and decolonial readings, and post-dependence models. We will focus on the imperial difference as a key marker of the postsocialist experience and reflect on the specific futureless ontology of those who share this local history. We will also tackle the postsocialst subjectivity, spatiality, and temporality, unfolding their own categories and specific notions, that need to be further conceptualized, particularly in the present conditions of the global revival of nationalist, fundamentalist, and conservative discourses as a reaction to neoliberal globalization. The Socialist modernity will be regarded as a separate kind of modernity, intersecting with but also diverting from the capitalist one. The course will analyze the postsocialist futureless ontology and ways of its overcoming, using the material of contemporary activist art and cinema, in the changing cultural and political reality of the postsocialist world on the verge of its imminent division and reorientation.

Manuela Boatcă, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, (Freiburg, Germany) – Forgotten Europes: Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

Official EU discourse foregrounds continental Europe to the detriment of all other territories – most of which are former colonies – that are part of European countries, but are geographically located in other continents. In the process, it links Europeanness to a narrowly defined physical location which excludes both the memory and the present of Europe’s colonial ties to other regions. At the same time, Europe‘s remaining colonies in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean and South America are graphically represented as part of the European Union in official maps, yet play no part in the definition of either the normative European ideal or the corresponding common identity. In a first step, the course offers a framework for conceiving of these multiple layers of Europeanness as a hierarchy of multiple and unequal Europes that ranges from heroic to decadent to epigonal in terms of the role attributed to each in the achievement of modernity. In a second step, the course focuses on the EU’s overseas territories as “forgotten Europe” – territories that are literally “off the chart” in terms of Europe’s self-representation and modernity’s checklist, yet “on the map” in terms of the claims laid to them by continental European states. Finally, the course focuses on how the Caribbean colonies within forgotten Europe offer a prime vantage point for upending the dominant representation of Europe and understanding the coloniality of memory in today’s public discourse of Europeanness.

Cornel Ban, Boston University (Boston, USA) – Room for Change: Funding dignified livelihoods in Eastern Europe

How can one found solutions for a dignified socio-economic life in the rural communities of the Global South? The past decade has brought to the fore the structural limits of conventional liberal solutions such as rural branches of commercial banks, microcredit and remittances. On the other side of the spectrum, state-led development models such as China have delivered impressive financial support for breakneck urban growth but scant financing for rural communities. Indeed, the emerging conventional wisdom is that the village is an obsolete socio-economic formation that has no chances to survive the urbanization steamroller. I will argue that this is a self-fulfilling prophecy, not an argument. Village communities stand a chance as long as they are integrated in national and international development strategies that can prevent demographic, social, health and employment challenges faced by rural communities by delivering the right kind of financing for rural development. Just like governments once rushed to provide public support to pro-cyclical and deregulated financial sectors whose maintenance is propped in effect by public subsidies that cost societies dear, it is now time that they provide regulatory and financial support for the establishment of bank cooperatives, community savings trusts, public social and economic development banks and other forms of banking that do not fit the conventional private banking and the shareholder value logic that comes with it.

Julia Roth, Center for Inter-American Studies of Bielefeld University (Bielefeld, Germany) – Rappin’ Feminism Otherwise” – Hip Hop and Counter-Hegemonic Knowledge Production

Feminist knowledge is usually associated with the so-called ‚Global North’ (or ‚West’) and in the academy. The concept of intersectionality to address interlocking axes of oppression for instance is a seemingly academic discourse. The workshop critically approaches this scenario from to angels: Firstly, we trace the originally activist and non-hegemonic roots of what would today be termed ‘intersectional’ feminist critique, and, secondly, we take a look at non-academic forms such as hip hop of knowledge production. Artistic practices like hip hop reach beyond tight academic circles and also make voices from marginalized spaces such as the Caribbean that have traditionally not been associated with ‘valid’ feminist knowledge.

The workshop discusses feminist interventions that have changed the geopolitics of white Eurocentric (and US-centric) feminist knowledge. Following Angela Davis’ claim of the important contribution of the early blues women as role models for black working-class women and Patricia Hill Collins’ take on hip hop feminism as the current non-academic field of contribution of black feminist ideas, we discuss precursors of intersectional and decolonial feminisms like the Blues women, Cuban trovadoras or hip hop artists, including videos of their performances, focusing particularly on the role of hip hop for the Afro-Cuban feminist and anti-racist movement, but also for interventions from other locations. The workshop closes with discussing possibilities of imagining feminism otherwise, beyond Eurocentrism through counter-hegemonic non-academic, non-central, and non-urban practices.

Anne Tittor, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena (Jena, Germany) – Negotiating Identities and Land Rights in Film Colonial Continuities & Land Use Conflicts in Rural Nicaragua

Zoltán Rostás, Universitatea București (București, România) – Recounted Life. Oral History and the Rural World

Natalia Picaroni Sobrado & Cristobal García Toledo, Austrian Academy of Sciences (Vienna, Austria) Santiago (Chile) – About weeds, roots and sprouts: young people, audiovisual technologies and the unintended effects of engaging in rural life in Chiloé

As a Latin American migrant who managed to study Anthropology in Austria and eventually got the opportunity to conduct long term research back home, I (Natalia) was seriously concerned about the benefit/prejudice of my work. At the same time, I was wandering on how to put into practice the decolonial, poscolonial and critical approaches and theories I was familiar with. I designed my doctoral project so that, while in the field, I could carry out tasks assigned to me by the “researched”, in this case the health team of a Williche community in rural Chiloé (southern Chile).

Totally unexpected to me, I was asked to work with the teenagers. Since I had noticed a fascination for technology – back then, in 2010, mainly television and video games – along with a passive use of it, I brought all my research devices to our first meeting. My broad idea was to share these tools with the kids promoting a creative use. They liked the idea and we began to meet every weekend with the challenge of expressing ourselves. We named this group/space Weche Folil (Young Roots). I completed my doctoral program many years ago, though Weche Folil has continued and has received support of several artists and professionals.

This workshop aim is to show the film Meli Tripantu: about weeds, roots and spouts” (20 minutes) in which the group learn how to make a documentary film by making one about the group itself. The film resulted in a self-reflexive exercise which highlights key moments of the first four years of working together. It turned out to be an exercise on thinking from the periphery of young people’s rural lifeworlds in Chiloé. We also aim to discuss some of our key thoughts about the enriching and complex endeavor of collectively construct alternatives to the ways things are.

Bogdan Iancu & Monica Stroe, Muzeul Național al Țăranului Român/Școala Națională de Științe Politice și Administrative (București, România) – In Search of Eligibility: Common Agricultural Policy and the Reconfiguration of Land Management in the Romanian Highlands

Vasile Ionescu, Institutul pentru diversitate media/Romanothan (Iași, România) – Roma – Dilemmas and Certainties. The Unknown Story of a Community

Vitalie Sprânceană, Platzforma (Chișinău, Moldova) – Living in the West, in the Centre and in the East … Without Leaving the Native Village: A Personal History

Veda Popovici, Gazeta de Artă Politică (București, România) – History is Written Elsewhere. Coloniality, the Romania of Eastern Europe and the Future of Solidarity

David Schwartz, Macaz –Teatru, Bar Coop. (București, România) – Representations of the Transition in the Romania Theatre after 2007