Fourth lecture of the lecture series
In this lecture, I will reflect on the echoes and traces of colonial practices that still arise when we consider the making of maritime transport in the Arabian Peninsula. These echoes and traces are most visible in the emergence and decline of ports, in the massive movement of capital, people and coercive organisations that support maritime and mercantile enterprise, and in the language that celebrates these vast movements. Today’s megaships, supply chain logistics, and the electronic and industrial apparatuses and processes that animate them, may seem like a far cry from the commodity and indentured labourers’ ships of old. Yet, something about the synchronicity of neo-mercantilist practice, “free-trade” bromides, and neoliberal celebrations of entrepreneurialism and enterprise disturbs the clear periodisations of colonial and post-colonial eras. Whether it is route-making and enduring trans-oceanic connections of labour and trade and war, or it is the geography of ports and inland transportation crossroads and hubs, today’s transportation sector bears echoes and traces of these colonial pasts.
Laleh Khalili is a Professor of Middle East Studies at SOAS, London. She is the author of Heroes and Martyrs of Palestine: The Politics of National Commemoration (Cambridge 2007) and Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies (Stanford 2013). She is currently working on project on the emergence of ports and maritime transport infrastructures in the Arabian Peninsula.
Jun 14, 2016 | 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Unter den Linden 6