Keynote speakers

Professor Gurminder K. Bhambra

Professor Bhambra is Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies in the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex. Previously, she was Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick and also Guest Professor of Sociology and History in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Linnaeus University, Sweden between 2016 and 2018.  

In 2008 Bhambra won the Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for the best first book in sociology, contributing with her first monograph, Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination (Palgrave, 2007)Throughout her work Bhambra has put forward an argument for the recognition of “connected histories” in the reconstruction of historical sociology at a global level, thereby challenging the Eurocentred accounts of the emergence and development of modernity. In her second book, Connecting Sociologies (Bloomsbury, 2014), the same argument for a global historical sociology is to be found. Open access to read the book online at this link.   

The research interests of Bhambra are primarily in the area of postcolonial and global historical sociology. Furthermore, she is interested in the intersection of the social sciences more generally with recent work in postcolonial and decolonial studies. Her current project focuses on epistemological justice and reparations.  

Bhambra will give a lecture on: “From Conflict to Reparations: The Postcolonial Challenge to Critical Theory“.  

Critical theory sees itself as an inheritor of the Enlightenment tradition and as providing critical responses to questions emerging from the turn to modernity and the constitution of modern societies. The idea of moral progress central to the conceptualization of critical theory’s normative project, associated with overcoming conflict, is based on an idea of historical progress as embodied in our standard sociological understandings of modernity. However, the idea of the modern that is central to critical theory is not simply the modern, but is better understood as the colonial modern. The colonial modern is the empirical context within which claims for moral political advances are made; thus, these claims are made by ignoring, or failing to regard as significant, the conflictual processes of dispossession, appropriation, extraction, elimination, and enslavement. In this talk, I argue that we need to give up a commitment to historical progress as the central normative dimension of critical theory in favour of redressing the identified wrongs of the past through a commitment to epistemological justice and to material reparations.  

Professor Sari Hanafi  

Professor Hanafi is currently a Professor of Sociology at the American University of Beirut and Chair of the International Sociological Association (2018-2022). Previously he served as visiting professor/ fellow at the University of Poitiers and Migrintern (France), University of Bologna and Ravenna (Italy), Chr. In 2014 Hanafi won the Abdelhamid Shouman Award, and he is also the winner of 2015 Kuwait Award for social science. 

 Hanafi is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters on political and economic sociology of the Palestinian diaspora and refugees; sociology of religion, sociology of (forced) migration; transnationalism; politics of scientific research; civil society, elite formation and transitional justice.  

 His most recent books are Knowledge Production in the Arab World: The Impossible Promise (with R. Arvanitis) (in Arabic, Beirut: CAUS and in English, Routledge, 2016), From Relief and Works to Human Development: UNRWA and Palestinian Refugees after 60 Years (edited with L. Takkenberg and L. Hilal) (Routledge, 2014). The Power of Inclusive Exclusion: Anatomy of Israeli Rule in The Occupied Palestinian Territories (edited with A. Ophir & M. Givoni, 2009) (in Arabic, Beirut: CAUS and in English, NY: Zone Book), The Emergence of A Palestinian Globalized Elite: Donors, International Organizations and Local NGOs (with L. Taber, 2005) (Arabic and English) and Pouvoir et associations dans le monde arabe (edited with S. Bennéfissa, Paris: CNRS, 2002). 

Hanafi will give a lecture on: “Why is religion at the core of global contentions in the 21st century? .

In this presentation, Sari Hanafi will reflect on the positive and negative societal roles of religion, on the reasons that mainstream sociology pays relatively little attention to religion – and – linking up with the main conference theme – ‘The Sociology of Conflict’ – the relationship between religion, conflict and transitional justice.