When African and Asian writers from thirty-six countries gathered in Tashkent in October 1958 for the first time, they hailed the meeting as ‘a step towards the reunification of the disrupted soul of mankind’. This extraordinary claim was rooted in the universally shared struggles of decolonization and emancipation after World War II. Afro-Asian intellectuals looked upon literature and the arts as a source of power to fight violence, divisiveness, and injustice as they sought to transform the world. After six decades, what can we learn from their experiences of solidarity? Will the idea of the Global South recuperate their moral vision? In her lecture, Liu will try to reopen that history and ask some new questions about geopolitics, temporality, and competing universals.

Lydia H. Liu is the Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. She has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Her publications include The Freudian Robot: Digital Media and the Future of the Unconscious (2010), The Clash of Empires: The Invention of China in Modern World Making (2004), and Translingual Practice: Literature, National Culture, and Translated Modernity (1995). More recently, she published a co-edited volume called The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory (2013) with Rebecca Karl and Dorothy Ko.

In English
Organized by

Birgit Hopfener and Ming Tiampo, in collaboration with Annette Bhagwati and Alexandra Chang as part of GAX 2018

Presented in collaboration with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW Berlin), ICI Berlin, the Centre for Transcultural Analysis at Carleton University (CTCA), and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU as part of GAX 2018

With the support from the NYU Global Research Initiatives, Office of the Provost

The lecture is part of the public panel Co-Constituting the Global of a two-day symposium at HKW and ICI Berlin. This symposium, in turn, is part of GAX 2018 in London and Berlin, 13–23 June 2018.

The event, like all events at the ICI Berlin, is open to the public, free of charge. The audience is presumed to consent to a possible recording on the part of the ICI Berlin. If you would like to attend the event yet might require assistance, please contact Event Management.


Image credit: © Desmond Lazaro, Gold, Glory & God, World Making, 2018.