The Invention of the Savage – SOAS, 16 October

15th Oct 2018

Dr Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths, University of London)

The Invention of the Savage: Philosophy, Politics and the Ideologies of Development

Tuesday, 16 October, 5-7PM

Room: Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT), SOAS Main Building


Development has all too often set up a cordon sanitaire around itself, fending off discomfiting reminders of its entanglements with the ideologies and practices of colonialism and empire. In recent years the centrality of racial paradigms and colonial histories to the formation of mainstream development has garnered greater, if still insufficient recognition, though often in the mode of liberal correctives rather than more radical interrogations. In the context of calls for decolonisation, this talk focuses on the history of philosophy and social thought that emerged in the context of decolonisation, and reflects on the construction of the ‘savage’ in the emergence of modern, capitalist conceptions of development and civilisational ‘progress’. We particularly explore the shift from the savage as the ‘other’ and at times the critic of a normative conception of state-based politics to its place as the lowest rung in a progressive sequence of modes of production and appropriation.

Alberto Toscano is Reader in Critical Theory and Co-Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London. His books include: The Theatre of Production: Philosophy and Individuation Between Kant and Deleuze (2006), Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea (2010), and (with Jeff Kinkle) Cartographies of the Absolute (2015). He edited The Italian Difference: Between Nihilism and Biopolitics with Lorenzo Chiesa, and has translated several works by Alain Badiou, as well as Antonio Negri, Furio Jesi and Franco Fortini. He is currently working on two book projects, the first on tragedy as a political form, the second on philosophy, capitalism and ‘real abstraction’. He has sat on the editorial board Historical Materialism since 2004, and is series editor of The Italian List for Seagull Books.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/519384681868057/  

All welcome, no need to book but please do arrive early to be sure of a seat. Details of all events in the seminar series are provided below. We look forward to seeing you there.

The event is wheelchair accessible.

On behalf of the seminar organising committee,

Feyzi Ismail, Alfredo Saad-Filho, Jo Tomkinson, Patrick Norberg, Jay Lingham, Jai Bhatia and Jan Michalko


Seminar Series, Term 1, 2018-19

Tuesdays, 5-7PM

Room: Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT), SOAS Main Building

All welcome, no need to book


* 23 October *

Professor Henry Veltmeyer (Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, México)

Beyond Neoliberalism or Capitalism? The Latin American Experience

Room: Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT), SOAS Main Building


* 30 October *

Dr Alpa Shah (London School of Economics)

Kheya Bag, New Left Review

Nightmarch: Among India’s Revolutionary Guerrillas

Room: Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT), SOAS Main Building


* 13 November *

Dr Kehinde Andrews (Birmingham City)

Black Revolution: The Global Politics of Black Radicalism

Room: Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT), SOAS Main Building


* 20 November *

Dr Jessica Whyte

The Morals of the Market: Human Rights and the Rise of Neoliberalism

Room: Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT), SOAS Main Building


* 27 November *

Professor Barbara Harriss-White (University of Oxford)

The Wild East: India’s Criminal Economy and Politics

Room: Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT), SOAS Main Building


*  4 December *


Dr Susanne Jaspars (SOAS University of London)

Professor Laura Hammond (SOAS University of London)

Professor David Keen (London School of Economics)

Power, Politics, and Profit: The History of Food Aid in Conflict and Protracted Crisis

Room: Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT), SOAS Main Building


Further details are available on the SOAS Development Studies Department website: https://www.soas.ac.uk/development/events/devstudseminars/