Thu 6 Sep 2018

Violence, Desire, and Settler Colonialism


Kristina Hagström-StåhlHagar Kotef

Violence, Desire, and Settler Colonialism, A conversation about Lorraine Hansberry’s play Les Blancs

Welcome to this PARSE Dialogue, featuring a work-in-progress presentation by Hagar Kotef, senior lecturer at SOAS, University of London, entitled Death as the Political Horizon: Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs and the Question of Decolonization. The presentation will be followed by a response by Kristina Hagström-Ståhl, PARSE professor at the Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg.

Set in an unnamed, colonized African country on the brink of upheaval, Lorraine Hansberry’s play Les Blancs attempts to capture a complex spectrum of power, colonial violence, and decolonial resistance.

Hagar Kotef’s presentation examines the relations between death and the attachment to the colonial space, to ask about both the conditions of settlements and the ways political metaphors travel from the artistic sphere to the field of political struggle. Centering on two figures in the play – Major Rice, who represents most explicitly the violence of colonization, and Madame Nielsen, who is perhaps the only white figure in the play who is not seen as an agent of violence – Kotef raises a series of questions about violence, desire, and settlement.

Hagar Kotef is a senior lecturer in political theory at SOAS/University of London and the author of Movement and the Ordering of Freedom (2015).

Kristina Hagström-Ståhl is PARSE professor at the Academy of Music and Drama.

This Dialogue is part of the Intersectional Engagements in Politics and Art research arc within PARSE.

This event is free and open to the public. No sign-up necessary, refreshments will be served. Welcome!


Kristina Hagström-Ståhl

Kristina Hagström-Ståhl is a researcher, director, and translator, who works at the intersection of critical theory and artistic practice with interests in feminist and decolonial theory, performance and philosophy, questions of visuality, dramaturgy, and translation, and interdisciplinary collaboration in the arts. Kristina publishes internationally, and has a PhD in Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Recent work in directing includes August Strindberg’s/Margareta Hallin’s Den Starkare (Strindbergs Intima Teater, 2020), Sophocles’ Antigone (Gothenburg City Theatre, 2019), and Kristian Hallberg’s Här skulle vi leva, tillsammans (Folkteatern Göteborg, 2017). Kristina is the 2020 Hildeman Fulbright Fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle. Between 2015 and 2020 she was PARSE Professor of Performative Arts at the University of Gothenburg.


Hagar Kotef

Senior Lecturer in Political Theory and Comparative Politics, SOAS, University of London. She is the author of Movement and the Ordering of Freedom: On Liberal Governances of Mobility (Duke University Press, 2015). Kotef has been a Co-Director of the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University, a Research Fellow at Columbia University’s Society of Fellows, and a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley and Ben Gurion University. She is currently a Leverhulme Fellow, working on a new book titled (tentatively) Home: The Violence of Political Belonging (or: Mobility and Stability in Israel/Palestine).


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