Zahir Kolia

Zahir Kolia

Toronto Metropolitan University
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Zahir Kolia is an Assistant Professor of Criminology at Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, Canada. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Program of Social and Political Thought at York University, Toronto, Canada. His research broadly examines how shifting religious and secular forms of power shape the way Indigenous and racialized communities have been organized by colonial capitalist modernity using Postcolonial and Decolonial Theory, Indigenous Studies, Critical Race Theory, Post-Secular and Theological-Political studies, Third World Marxism, Global Political Economy, and Decolonial approaches to Political Ecology. His scholarly work has appeared in Globalizations; Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies; Law, Culture and the Humanities; C.L.R. James Journal; and various edited book collections.  

Talk Information:

V.Y. Mudimbe and the Challenge of the Colonial Library: Aesthetics of Resemblances and the Production of Colonial Difference
July 2, 2022 | 9:00 AM

V.Y. Mudimbe suggests that the colonial library constitutes a series of texts and systems of representations that have and continue to invent Africa through the frame of radical difference. With this, he further states that “‘African discourses have been silenced radically or, in most cases, converted by conquering Western discourses. The popular local knowledges have been subsumed critically by ‘scientific’ disciplines.” My presentation asks two main questions that relate to the colonial library and the subsumption of African discourses by conquering Western discourses: first, despite the focus on difference, why does Mudimbe begin with resemblances, and why is this important for thinking about decolonization and racial difference? With this, I examine Mudimbe’s aesthetic method to analyze how discourses of resemblances vis Africa are expressed through art. Second, is it possible to move beyond the conquering Eurocentric discourses of the colonial library? Analyzing Mudimbe’s thought concerning the problem of temporality and allochronic discourse, ethics in his Parables and Fables, and his work “In the House of Libya, I index the aporias of seeking to transcend the colonial library.