Monday, May 17, 2010

"Kant and Colonialism: Historical and Critical Perspectives," University of Oxford, September 30-October 2, 2010.

Centre for the Study of Social Justice, Department of Politics and International Relations.

The conference will explore the relevance of Kant's critique of colonialism to an appropriate reconstruction of Kant's cosmopolitan theory in recent global justice debates. The focus will be on Kant's unusually critical stance towards European colonialism on the one hand and the uneasy relationship between contemporary liberal theory and its colonial heritage on the other. In considering Kant’s cosmopolitanism within the context of his critique of colonialism and related anthropological reflections, the conference will query the tendency among many current liberal cosmopolitans to interpret Kant's account as a version of their own favoured unrestrained ‘moral universalism’. A philosophically and historically more nuanced reading of Kant's cosmopolitan thinking against the background of emergent European colonialism may encourage a more modest, more self-critical liberal approach to current global issues, such as fair trade, migration, and humanitarian intervention.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Prof. Dr. Pauline Kleingeld, University of Leiden, “Kant on race and economic globalization: On just trade and free trade”
Prof. Dr. Peter Niesen, Technische Universität Darmstadt, “Restitutive justice in international and cosmopolitan law”
Prof. Sankar Muthu, University of Chicago, “World citizenship and global connections in Enlightenment political thought”
Prof. Howard Williams, “Tensions in Kant's theory of colonialism”

If you would like to give a paper, please submit electronic copies of the title and a summary (350-500 words) of your proposed contribution to Lea Ypi ( and Katrin Flikschuh (; please also include an abbreviated CV with your submission. Analytical and historical approaches to the conference theme are equally invited. The deadline for submission is 31 May 2010. We aim to reach a decision within 6 weeks of the deadline.

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