Thursday, 18.05.2017


2017 / 201705 / Vortrag
Guest lecture of the Postgraduate Programme in Curating CAS/ MAS ZHdK
Rohit Jain: How to Affect Postcolonial Public Spaces?

Rohit Jain

Who likes Chicken Curry? Who laughs about blackfacing and Mohamed caricature? Who defines arranged marriages? Who is scared of Indian IT-Workers? Who is involved in colonialism? Who survives? Who votes? Who really cares?

In this talk anthropologist and sociologist Rohit Jain inquires into the making of postcolonial public spaces of Switzerland in the age of de-centralised capitalism.

Informed by ethnographic and artistic research as well as from activist interventions Rohit delves into the unruly archives of forgotten stories, displaced feelings and interrogates the hegemonic machinery of making things und humans un/happen.

Starting from the transformative notion of „structure of feelings“ (Raymond Williams), the talk unravels the affective nature of postcolonial amnesia in Switzerland. On the hand, the resistance against postcolonial amnesia provokes melancholia, anxieties, or anger. On the other hand, to imagine alternative histories and stories allows to affect unruly archives and to unleash a performative power of assembly (Judith Butler).

Rohit Jain is, thus, interested in the conditions of possibilities as well as in the artistic, political and theoretical strategies to develop alternative publics of conviviality and new communities. The presented work, therefore, opens up new avenue for understanding an unacknowledged Swiss history of violence and envisioning a future of reparative justice at the intersection of ethnography, artistic practices and activism.

Rohit Jain is an anthropologist and anti-racism activist based at Zurich and Berne. His current work focuses on the connections between postcolonial archives, the politics of affects and the performative intervention into translocal publics. Rohit has done research and published on the entanglements of racism, humor and anti-PC in TV comedy, on transnational politics of representation among “second generations Indians” as well as on the connection between the Swiss public discourse of Bollywood, yoga and IT and postcolonial anxieties. Recently he has collaborated in artistic research projects on the “An/aesthetics of Suburbia” and on “Swiss Psychotropic Gold” (both at IFCAR Zurich) and on urban citizenship (at Shedhalle Zurich). He is co-founder of “Laugh Up. Stand Up! Antiracist Humor Festival” and of “Salon Bastarde”, a series of postmigrant happenings in Zurich.

The is a guest lecture of the Postgraduate Programme in Curating, ZHdK.

Posted by Corner College Collective