Dr. Praveen Sewgobind
Diversity & Inclusivity
Design Academy Eindhoven
Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher
Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis
I am an activist-academic working to deepen and complicate Critical Race Theory with a decolonial lens, focusing on the embodiment of white racism and social constructs of racial formation in the Netherlands.
In my PhD dissertation, I explored the nexus of South Asian diaspora memory and migration, in relation to decolonial cosmopolitanism. I hold a BA in English Language and Culture from the University of Amsterdam, and an rMA in Cultural Analysis from the University of Amsterdam. In August 2019, I successfully defended my PhD dissertation at the University of Potsdam (cum laude).
In my current research at Design Academy Eindhoven, I aim to contribute to dismantling exclusion by embracing structural diversity in the context of the city. Cities have traditionally been loci of power and privilege, as well as sites where their unequal distribution has been contested and dismantled.
The framework for my Professorship at DAE is geared towards materialising a genuine inclusivity and a critical diversity. Diversity and inclusivity are urgent topics that are too often used to make institutions look good, instead of being used as tools to truly enable a sense of belonging. This sense of belonging is fundamental to real inclusivity and diversity. Unless they are welcomed in a social context, those who have traditionally been marginalised will struggle to have a place at the table in the shifting dynamics of cities. My research catalyses instruments that underscore the necessity of ‘walking the walk’.
In the academic year 2020-2021 I will also be conducting research on cultural racism in the Netherlands. More specifically, the project which is titled “Veiled Taxonomies and Ventriloquized Grammar: Unlocking Cultural Racism in the Netherlands” will investigate the workings of “ventriloquized racism” :
As Dutch colonial-historical configurations give rise to an abundance of racializing processes – most notably the figure of Zwarte Piet – the glaring paradox of a contemporary postraciality in the Netherlands becomes apparent. Consequently, this project will explore undertheorized racializing formations that give rise to discourse that seems to be vertriloquized as “cultural critique,” yet which effectively informs racism, considering the social-ontological impact on those affected by the insidious nature of racial scripts and visuals.
I suggest that racialization processes work to profoundly affect the bodies of non-white Others. Bodies are lived material sites as well as dynamic cultural archives, which crucially extend to and include dress and other habitual markers, which become racial markers as they ontologically merge with a pre-existing visual/bodily schema. Examining this schema by employing phenomenological and performative tools – i.e. exposing the discursive “cultural-critique” puppet as deceptive racial strategy – is the central aim of this project.
I have co-organized two academic conferences, a two-day international conference exploring tensions between theory and practice in the humanities at the University of Amsterdam (Is Thought Action? NICA/ASCA Conference Exploring Tensions Between Academic Theory and Praxis, see http://www.nica-institute.com/is-thought-action/ ) and an international graduate conference at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS), see https://arthist.net/archive/12701.
2009-2012: BA English Language and Culture (University of Amsterdam)
2012-2014: rMA Cultural Analysis (University of Amsterdam)
2015-2016: PhD researcher LUCAS (Leiden University)
2016-2019: Associate Doctoral Fellow RTG Minor Cosmopolitanisms, University of Potsdam
2019-2020: Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher, Graduate Center, City University New York
2020-2021: Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam
2020-2021: Research Professor, Design Academy Eindhoven
Academic year 2020-2021, first semester: ASCA/NICA Seminar Series “Critical Race Theory”
Academic year 2020-2021, second semester: NICA Core Course Seminar Series “Decolonial Studies and Political Philosophy”
Sewgobind P., Kwakoe, Baba and Mai: Revisiting Dutch Colonialism in Suriname, Postcolonial Interventions: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Vol. IV, Issue 2 (June 2019) 264-300: Online: https://postcolonialinterventions.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/june-2019-master_suriname.pdf
Sewgobind, P., Configurations of Black and Brown Racialization in Suriname. (under review).
Sewgobind, P., Magnetized Racializations of Space: Habitual Bodies and Bodily Habits. (under review).
Dismantling Colonial Racism : Travelogue – Imagery – Poetics
“Beyond the Black-White Binary: Surinamese Black and Brown Entanglements of Racialization under White Supremacy.” Presented at the New York University Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies’ Working Group on Racisms in Comparative Perspective. New York, United States, November 2019.
“Beyond the Black-White Binary: Surinamese Black and Brown Entanglements of Racialization under White Supremacy.” Presented at the Penn State University Conference Racial Disposability and Cultures of Resistance. State College, United States. October 2019.
“Raced Bodies, Erased Histories: African and South Asian Entanglements in Suriname.” Presented at the Northeastern University Conference (Re)Writing Global Histories: Movement, Memory, and Materiality. Boston, United States. March 2019.
”Raced Bodies, Erased Histories: African and South Asian Entanglements in Suriname.” Presented at the Goethe University Conference Postcolonial Narrations: Moving Centers and Traveling Cultures. Frankfurt am Main, Germany. October 2018.
“Memory Practices Among Diasporic Hindustani Communities in the Netherlands and Suriname: Transcultural Belonging and Identity in the Age of Globality.” Presented at the Institute for Kashmir Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, Kashmir. November 2017.
“‘We Will Now Remove This Roadblock !’: Combating Israeli State Terror in Palestine.” Presented at the IFAO/Humber College Conference The State of (In)Equality: Social Justice Under Siege. Toronto, Canada. October 2017.
“Detroping White Privilege: ‘Diversity’ Politics Beyond the Token Paradigm.” Presented at the Humboldt University Conference Race, Power, and Privilege in Academia. Berlin, Germany, July 2017.
“’We Will Now Remove This Roadblock !’:Combating Israeli State Terror in Palestine.” Presented at the University of Innsbruck Conference Terror on Tour III: Borders, Detours, and Contingencies. Innsbruck, Austria, March 2017.
“Demasking Black Pete: Resisting Colonial Amnesia in the Netherlands.” Presented at the European Race and Imagery Foundation/Innsbruck University Conference Returning the Gaze II: Stories of Resistance. Innsbruck, Austria. November 2016. https://erifonline.org/2017/07/28/detroping-white-privilege-diversity-politics-beyond-the-token-paradigm/
“Demasking Black Pete: Resisting Colonial Amnesia in the Netherlands.” Presented at the IFOA/Humber College Conference Truth, Lies, and Manufacturing Memory. Toronto, Canada. October 2016.
“Meandericity Meets Cultural Hegemony: A Critical Elaboration of Hall’s Legacy.” Presented at TU Dortmund University. Dortmund, Germany. February 2016.
“Beyond Hybridity, towards Meandericity.” Presented at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome. Rome, Italy. October 2015.