Callaloo Early Career Workshop, November 2016

Voices Across Borders

The Blog of the Race and Resistance Research Programme at TORCH

Posted by: Imaobong Umoren

Date: 6th January 2017

Callaloo Early Career Workshop, November 2016


On Wednesday the 23rd of November, the second Race and Resistance/Callaloo postgraduate and early career workshop took place at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities. Building on recent student activism at universities across the US, UK, and South Africa, the theme for the workshop was ‘Race and the Academy’. The organisers received a wide array of papers across numerous disciplines, ranging from literature to criminology. 

The first panel of the workshop ‘Beyond the postcolonial canon’ included two papers. The first was from Edward Dodson, a DPhil candidate in English at Oxford who spoke on the topic of ‘Canon Critique, Whiteness Studies, and the Case of Philip Larkin'. The second was Wibke Grieger, a doctoral student at the Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen who presented her paper on ‘Questioning the postcolonial canon’ by looking at contemporary African literature.

The second panel started with a paper from Roseanne Chantiluke a former MSt in Modern Languages student at Oxford and organising member of Rhodes Must Fall. Chantiluke’s paper titled, ‘Abolishing the Colonial Literature Department: “Fiction As Theory”’ discussed the complexities of academic departments. Next, Jordan Konell, an MSc candidate in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Oxford presented his talk on ‘A Critical Race Theory Approach to Criminology in Britain’.

In the final session of the workshop Alessia Polattia, a PhD student in postcolonial literature at the University of Verona in Italy discussed her paper ‘Traces of the Imperial Past: The “academic” friendship between H Rider Haggard and Andrew Lang’. Lastly, William Ghosh a DPhil candidate in English at Oxford talked about the literature of Jamaican writer Erna Brodber.

The workshop ended with a roundtable discussion where attendees discussed the various themes that had been raised throughout the day including the cultural and political legacies of colonialism, decolonizing the curriculum, and teaching pedagogies within the humanities. Many of those who attended the workshop then went on to the first session of the main Callaloo conference held at Pembroke College. It is hoped that papers from the workshop will appear in a special issue of the Callaloo journal.

The workshop was kindly funded by the Race and Resistance programme and the John Fell Fund, Oxford University Press.

Imaobong Umoren is the joint Pembroke-TORCH Career Development Fellow in Women in the Humanities. and was the co-convenor (with Justine McConnell) of this workshop.


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The viewpoints expressed in Voices Across Borders are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Oxford.


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