Palestine Is the Measure of Our Capacity to Change the World

Lecture by Françoise Vergès

Wednesday, 8 May 2024 - 7pm

Free, until full capacity is reached

Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200, and online platform
200 people
English with simultaneous interpreting
Untitled, October 2023, Dheisheh Refugee Camp. Photograph: Julio Zamarragón
Untitled, October 2023, Dheisheh Refugee Camp. Photograph: Julio Zamarragón

Feminist and anti-racist political scientist Françoise Vergès (Paris, 1952) gives a lecture on the relationship between the massacre of the Palestinian people and the history of Western democracies built on colonialism, and thus on the genocide of indigenous peoples, extraction, exploitation and destruction of the environment. Along with other peoples from the Congo, Sudan, Kashmir and those territories struggling for freedom and decolonialisation, Palestine represents an example of resistance to the global reactionism shaped by the extreme militarisation, dehumanisation and absolutist and authoritarian thinking that perpetuates colonial domination.

Concerned with the racial fabrication of “premature death” and the multiple practices of resistance, Vergès analyses, through her writing and activism, the damages of slavery and colonisation, climate catastrophe, racism, the impossible decolonisation of the Western museum and the contributions of decolonial feminism, among other themes. Since the start of the most recent escalation of genocide in Gaza in October 2023, the voices of thinkers and theorists have come together to resolutely call for a ceasefire and long-term peace. For Vergès, our future, and that of all people, is tied to the liberation of the Palestinian people; therefore, “Palestine is the centre of the world right now”.

This lecture is held inside the framework of the programme Critical Thinking Gatherings. International Solidarity with Palestine, which the Museo Reina Sofía organises alongside TEJA. Red de espacios culturales en apoyo a las situaciones de emergencia (TEJA. The Network of Cultural Spaces in Support of Emergency Situations) in solidarity with the Palestinian people and as a plea for peace.

Françoise Vergès was politically educated first by her anti-colonial, communist parents on  Reunión Island, training which continued in Algeria, Mexico, England, the United Arab Emirates, the USA and France. Currently, she is an honorary senior research fellow at the Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialisation (University College, London). She also co-founded Decolonize the Arts (2015–2020) and has curated the workshop and public performance L'Atelier and co-directed the team in charge of the science and culture programme “posmuseo” (post-museum) on Reunión Island. Her books most notably include Negro soy, negro me quedo. Aimé Césaire. Conversaciones con Françoise Vèrges (La Vorágine, 2020); Una teoría feminista de la violencia. Por una política antirracista de la protección (Akal, 2020); Un feminismo descolonial (Traficantes de Sueños, 2022); and Program of Absolute Disorder. Decolonizing the Museum (Pluto, 2024).