Postcolonial Hierarchies
Public Lecture by Prof. Dr. Swati Parashar

Rethinking the coloniality and violence of famines in the Global South

November 20, 2023
7:00 pm
KG III HS 3044 // University of Freiburg

“I am interested in the methodological and conceptual (un)doing of
violence, in the study of famines or hunger deaths from a postcolonial

Swati Parashar

About this lecture:

Postcolonial scholars contend that we are still doing body counts of colonialism’s violence, hence, epistemic and discursive categories may not account for the materiality of violence and the magnitude of physical and psychological injuries it causes. As Hannah Arendt would say, “what a risky business to tell the truth on a factual level without theoretical and scholarly embroidery.” Can we consider erasures and silences as violence when we are still looking at injured, violated, exterminated, disappearing, mourning, lifeless, dead, rotting and suffering bodies? How can bodily injuries beyond sudden and spectacular deaths be accounted for on a temporal scale?

In this lecture, Swati Parashar sheds light on the slow and silent deaths, displacement and gendered suffering that occur in geographies of starvation produced through colonial encounters. The lecture engages with the existing dilemmas of studying the violence of famines and the coloniality of discourses around starving bodies in the Global South. This reflection considers the need to break away from the theoretical impulses of locating famines within the existing frameworks of disaster and crisis, and yet argues that justice and accountability for mass hunger crimes can only be enabled through particular discursive framings of injured bodies and the violence of colonial continuities.