2020 | Revising the concept of Hegemony

Revising the concept of Hegemony
Methodologies of Working with the Past in non-Western contexts
Masterclass with Sara Salem & Workshop
October 30th 2020, 10:00 – 18:00 (CET), UHasselt

Both sessions will be held on Zoom and registered participants will receive the link and the password on their emails before October 30th. The morning session is open to the public, while the afternoon session is for participants registered via doctoral schools of the five Flemish universities.

 Morning session  
Revising a concept: the trials and tribulations of “hegemony”

10:00 – 11:00
Lecture of Sara Salem
11:00 – 12:00
Discussion/Round Table (moderated by Dana Dolghin, UvA)

Please register for the morning session here

 Afternoon session  
Hegemony in Knowledge Production: Methods of Researching the Past in non-Western contexts
(for DS students)

12:15 – 13:30 Hegemony workshop (with Sara Salem)
13:30 – 14:30 Lunch Break
14:30 – 16:30 Methodology workshop (with Sit-im/Antwerp University facilitators)
16:45 – 18:00 Publication discussion & conclusions

Application deadline for the afternoon session is September 25th (extended). See details below.


The announcement

In the framework of Doctoral Schools, UHasselt – Hasselt University (in partnership with Antwerp University, KU Leuven, UGent, and in collaboration with Sit-Im (www.sit-im.org) and TU Delft (History of Architecture and Urban Planning), organises a masterclass with Sara Salem, followed by a workshop on methodology with Sit-Im on October 30th, 2020. We call for applications from PhD students and postdocs in arts, social sciences and humanities interested in the topic of hegemony in knowledge production and methods of historical research related to non-western perspectives. The morning session will be open to the public while the afternoon session is reserved for participants registered with the Doctoral Schools program (PhDs and postdocs applying via the Doctoral Schools of 5 Flemish universities). Both sessions will be organised online.


 Morning session 
Revising a concept: the trials and tribulations of “hegemony”

Masterclass with Sara Salem (lecture, discussion and follow-up workshop)

Images of states in danger, the suffering of the “nation” and territorial harm have re-emerged as social narratives in different contexts from South and Eastern Europe to South America to the Middle East in the last decade. In these situations, Eurocentrism revives older military visions of defence, while the rise of neoliberalism in the 1970s and its ubiquity after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the dissolution of the USSR in the 1990s empower the resistance alternative of the ultra-right. The wealth promise of neoliberalism supports the rise of authoritarianism in different places of the world. It seems that the urgent cultural and political developments around us require an understanding of how the rhetoric of dominance constructs new perspectives on history and becomes naturalized as a common sense of society.

Edward Said (1982) taught us that theories and ideas travel from one person to the other, acquiring new meanings and speaking to different contexts. In this masterclass, we aim to understand the disputations of “hegemony” by looking at the changes, uses and translations of this concept across time and spaces. The present disputes over hegemony attest to Said’s warning that, as they are adopted and mobilized, ideas risk being emptied of their meanings.

Hegemony has been a staple of “Leftism”, from Antonio Gramsci to Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, even if we consider more mainstream interventions like those of Jurgen Habermas. To understand how this concept changed and “travelled”, either as an instrument of solidarity or of antagonism, can give a glimpse into how inspiring solidarities and political potentials are transformed into conservative visions of the future. Third Worldism, the Communist Internationals, Pan-Arabism and Pan-Africanism have been political movements shaped around hegemony which Adom Getachew argues were projects that tried to remake the world. Many of these anti-colonial movements are relegated in the contemporary narratives as national movements, with less than progressive agendas, disregarding the ideas they were imagined with, futures they spoke about and the utopias they dreamed of. In this master class, we invite you to think together how the past(s) of hegemony are negotiated in unpleasant presents, and how the spectres of better days or alternative lives haunt our understanding of histories and historicities. We inquire into different strands of thought on this concept, from politics to cultural studies, to spatial studies and history, in order to tie in the analysis of sovereignty and the nation-state.

Sara Salem is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at the London School of Economics. Her research interests include political sociology, postcolonial studies, Marxist theory, and global histories of empire and anticolonialism. Her recently published book with Cambridge University Press is entitled Anticolonial Afterlives in Egypt: The Politics of Hegemony (2020). A selection of published journal articles include: on Angela Davis in Egypt in the journal Signs; on Frantz Fanon and Egypt’s postcolonial state in Interventions: A Journal of Postcolonial Studies; on Gramsci and anticolonialism in the postcolony in Theory, Culture and Society; and on Nasserism in Egypt through the lens of haunting in Middle East Critique.

 Please register for the morning session here.


 Afternoon session 
Hegemony & Knowledge Production: Methods of Researching the Past in non-Western contexts

Methodology workshop (for DS students)

In the afternoon, we continue the day with a methodology workshop moderated by Sit-Im (sit-im.org), where we will talk more specifically about hegemony in knowledge production and challenging the dominance of Eurocentric perspective in historical research. Starting from the work and lecture of Sara Salem, we invite the participants to propose a methodology question in their research project that articulates their concern in doing historical research in non-Western contexts (e.g. accessing archives and sites, place-specific protocols, protection of participants, challenging privileged positions and reciprocity in knowledge production, etc.). To conclude the workshop, we will discuss the opportunity of publishing the workshop results via an online publication on methodological approaches to historical research in non-Western contexts, and participants will be invited to contribute individually or as groups of authors.

Call for participation
Before September 15th 2020 Extended to September 25th 2020

Students (PhDs and postdocs) from the 5 universities in Flanders can take part in this activity within the Doctoral School program. We invite participants who want to present questions & reflections on work in progress (any format) connected to this theme.

Note: there is a maximum of 10 participants.

Deadline for application: September 25th, 2020 by sending the following to Mela Zuljevic (mela.zuljevic@uhasselt.be): A max 300-word description of your research project and motivation to take part in the workshop, including a formulated question pertaining to the methodology of research in non-Western contexts that you would like to discuss.

The selection will be based on the submissions, while in the case of a larger number of applications, it will make efforts to ensure equal distribution across universities and different fields.