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Why Postcolonialism (Still) Matters for Media Studies

Sat, May 27, 8:00 to 9:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 3, Aqua 309

Session Submission Type: Roundtable Proposal


As with other “post” (poststructuralism, postmodernism), postcolonialism seems to have fallen out of fashion in media and communication studies. Issues that have been historically central to postcolonialism – such as marginalization, racism and Othering; identity politics; hybridity; resistance and agency; theory building from a non-Western vantage point; power and representation - are very much alive in the field of media studies. In fact, from growing Islamophobia and the violent return of European nationalisms to the rise of digital media in the Global South and their role in social protests around the globe from Black Lives Matter to Rhodes Must Fall, these issues appear to be more central and relevant than ever, both in academia and public debates. Yet, with a few exceptions, there has apparently been reluctance in media studies to claim vocally the affiliation with postcolonialism as an intellectual, theoretical, interventionist and ultimately activist project. This round-table brings together media scholars working on postcolonial issues in different parts of the world (Europe, Africa, Asia, North America) to reflect on the legacy of postcolonialism in media studies and discuss its ongoing relevance for the field. The roundtable will touch on a range of key questions including the need to recentralize the interventionist and political agenda of postcolonialism; the links and interplay between critical race theory, media production studies, intersectionality and postcolonialism; the challenge of theory building from non-Western perspectives, and the decolonization of the academy.

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