TraCe goes Brüssel: Research Center was a guest at the Crisis Talks

Panel discussion on “Coming to Terms with Colonial Violence”

On November 14, TraCe was a guest at the Crisis Talks series at the Hessian State Representation in Brussels discussing “Coming to Terms with Colonial Violence – Possibilities of Postcolonial Remembrance Politics”. Dr Sabine Mannitz gave the keynote speech and later also partici­pated in the panel discussion.

Uwe Becker, State Secretary for European Affairs of the Hessian State Government, opened the event with a short video greeting. He set the mood for the dis­cussion by emphasizing the im­portance of the multi-layered and complex issues of a post-colonial culture of remem­brance, particularly at a European level.

In her key­note speech, Sabine Mannitz stressed the incompleteness of colonial history, the lingering effects of colonial conditions in global power constellations and forms of know­ledge production. Instead of approaching colonialism nationally, she called for its re­appraisal being understood as a joint European project. Some research and civil society actors are already networked across Europe, but a common European policy is not yet dis­cernible. Yet Brussels in particular could provide im­portant impetus to address the colonial inter­dependencies that continue to create structural imbalances today. Postcolonial perspectives, for example in school text­books and museums, are suitable for conveying in con­text how Western mo­dernity and its economic rise were based on colonial conquests. Making this visible could con­tribute to a culture of remembrance in which relations of violence and their con­ditions are less hushed up and better under­stood.

On the sub­sequent panel, moderated by journalist Alexander Göbel, Sabine Mannitz's academic input was supplemen­ted by positions from Laura Gaëlle Ganza. As an independent consultant, she con­tributed perspectives from the cultural sector in particular: First and foremost, she pointed out that a clear stance on the European co­lonial era does not exist, not even in museums. Nonetheless, colonial heritage is deeply rooted in our lives and is often in­visible. Therefore it must be uncovered to be able to dismantle it – for which a clear stance is necessary. In her con­tributions, Mannitz emphasized, among other things, the importance of cooperation at eye level when it comes to dealing with co­lonial violence. However, due to structural obstacles (such as restrictive visa regulations), this is often made more difficult with countries in the Global South.

The panel discussion was rounded off by numerous and stimulating questions from the audience, which under­lined the relevance of the topic. The event brought together almost one hundred people from various (political) in­stitutions in Brussels. It was also streamed live and can be watched in both German and English.

About the event series: In the "Crisis Talks" series, the Leibniz Research Network "Environmental Crisis - Crisis Environments (CrisEn)", co-ordinated by the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, to­gether with the Research Alliance "Normative Orders" at Goethe University Frankfurt and the Hessian State Re­presentation in Brussels, explores the question of how Europe should deal with its current and past crises in order to use them productively.

► To the event announcement