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Optimism in troubled times: revolution, tragedy and possibility in Caribbean history

When: Friday, 19 April 2019 - Friday, 19 April 2019
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
Start time:17:00

Brain Meeks from Brown University, will present this Thinking from the Global South Distinguished Lecture.

Despite the defeats of the popular movements for revolutionary and radical change in the Anglophone Caribbean, Meeks retains a general optimism as to the possibilities of learning from them and of charting new paths for the future. Others, like David Scott, on the contrary and consistent with perspectives on ‘the tragic’ developed in his recent work, have been far more cautious and pessimistic. What then is the foundation for radical optimism or its converse, a tendency towards emphasizing pessimism and tragedy? In the lecture he will use Scott’s work, particularly in Conscripts of Modernity and Omens of Adversity and read them alongside C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins and V.S. Naipaul’s Guerrillas among other texts, in order to rethink the foundations for a politics of radical optimism in an era of political defeat and epistemic uncertainty.


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