September 22, 2020

IASH-CRITIQUE Virtual International Workshop: Disappointed Hopes: Reclaiming the Promise of Resistance – 7–9 December 2020

How can we respond to the pervasive sense of disappointment and left melancholia lingering in the wake of the failed projects of revolutionary societal transformation? Among theorists and activists alike, twentieth-century narratives of inevitable progress and universal human emancipation have been replaced by a sober reckoning with past disappointments, failures and defeats. At the same time, narratives of loss can have a stifling effect on our sense of political possibility, quenching any residual hopes for a better world. Moving beyond lamentation of failure, this workshop asks how an engagement with past disappointments, losses and defeats can help us creatively respond to the difficulties and failures of resistance – and inspire our imagination of political alternatives in the present. It addresses this question by providing a platform for a mutually enriching dialogue between theorists, activists and engaged artists. The contributors address the conjunction of high aspirations and deep disappointments within the modern revolutionary experience – from the socialist and anti-colonial revolutions of the twentieth century to the multipronged struggles for justice and equality today. The purpose is to confront the challenges involved in resisting oppression in the present era of political disillusion and identify sustainable strategies for tackling disengagement from public sphere.

Please click here to register. You will have to book your ticket for each session separately. 



Monday, 7 December, 5:30 pm (GMT) 

Lawrie Balfour, Too Late? Toni Morrison and the Revolutionary Work of Words

Ganzeer, The Flame of Rebellion 

Mathias Thaler, What Happens to Dystopian Thinking When the Apocalypse is Already Here with Us? Cautionary and Post-cautionary Tales of the Anthropocene

Tuesday, 8 December, 5:30 pm (GMT) 

Jonathan Dean, Spectres of Blair: 90s Nostalgia and Post-2015 Left Politics in Britain

Srila Roy, Beyond Co-option: Some Reflections on Indian Feminism in the New Millennium.

Ann Rigney, Remembering Defeat, Generating Hope

Wednesday, 9 December, 5:30 pm (GMT) 

Janine Francois, The Impossibility of Whiteness: Or Why White Institutions Cannot Not Be Leading Institutional Change

Nermin Allam, Affects, Emotions, and the Egyptian Uprising

Briana Toole, How to Avoid Anti-resistance Sentiments? 


The workshop is sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, and CRITIQUE – Centre for Ethics and Critical Thought, University of Edinburgh.

Organising team

Maša Mrovlje and Gisli Vogler