“Not Quite Map Made Sovereign”: The Problems of Subject and Enemy in the League Against Imperialism, 1927-1937

24 Nov 2022 04.30 PM - 06.00 PM Meeting Room 1 Alumni, Current Students, Industry/Academic Partners, Prospective Students, Public
Organised by:
Florence Mok

This is a hybrid seminar.

To register for in-person attendance at Meeting Room 1 (SHHK Level 3), register here: https://wis.ntu.edu.sg/pls/webexe88/REGISTER_NTU.REGISTER?EVENT_ID=OA22111816562834

To register for Zoom attendance, register here: https://ntu-sg.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEsduGsrD8oGtIQVsQkQNVKu7hWTy6s7Y6p

In this talk, I examine materials produced by the League Against Imperialism (1927-1937) for depictions of the monstrous. In the 1920s-1930s, this short-lived organization brought together anti-imperialists of many types in an attempt to synchronize separate national and social movements into a single front. Founded at the initiative of a German communist with Soviet funding, with national sections around the world, the organization's members included Jawaharlal Nehru, Madame Sun Yat-Sen, and Diego Rivera. The LAI provides us with a rich archive of political thought, located at the confluence of distinct political communities. Here, I attempt to mark the coordinates of one of the problems faced by its members, one that is both a conceptual problem and a historical question about how people in the past understood and did something like revolutionary politics. Showing the "enemy" in photographs and in art was one way to visually and imaginatively depict the twinned problems of capital and empire, as a way into their simultaneous strangeness and ubiquity. The role of the image, both "realistic" and "grotesque", are what I hope to query in my talk and discuss in this seminar. 



Disha Karnad Jani is a postdoctoral researcher at Universität Bielefeld in Germany. She holds a joint Ph.D in History and the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities from Princeton University. Her current book project is an intellectual history of the League Against Imperialism, and her research interests include political economy, labour, critical theory, and decolonization.