Appropriating colonial conquest

Attending a seminar on Carl Schmitt’s postcolonial imagination at Achille Mbembe’s research group WISER at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, March 6. The speaker, the Greek philosopher and social theorist Andreas Kalyvas, encountered some hostility: Why does it matter that the German legal philosopher (and staunch Nazi), Carl Schmitt, was the first to see the colony as integral to European modernity (a familiar trope in postcolonial theory today)? And, as one of those present remarked, claiming that Europeans are unique in colonising the globe is but another instance of Eurocentric arrogance, as non-European peoples have historically been equally capable of conquest and atrocities, thank you very much.

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