Introduction to Postcolonial and Decolonial Theory


Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Institute for Asian and African Studies, Gender and Media Studies for the South Asian Region
Fridays 12:00 - 14:00 (CEST)
14 WEEKS (22.04.22 - 22.07.22)


This course intends to search the roots of this division (and later, a unilateral, cultural, political and economic domination) from the fundamental characteristics of ancient civilisations throughout the globe, to the more recent establishment of capitalism and its gradual ascension to a world order. Throughout the course, the concepts of ‘Colonialism’, ‘Imperialism’, ‘Postcolonialism’ and ‘Orientalism’, as well as ‘Westernisation’, ‘Modernisation’ and ‘Development’ will be discussed, expanded and problematized, from historical, sociological, anthropological, cultural, political and psychoanalytic perspectives.


To provide a general understanding about:

• Introduction of the concepts of ‘Civilisation’ and ‘Culture’, suggesting different outlooks in Cultural Studies and Social and Human Sciences

• Application of the basic concepts of ‘Colonialism’, ‘Imperialism’, ‘Postcolonialism’ and ‘Orientalism’, to Cultural Studies and Social and Human Sciences as well as the current international political situation

• Recognition of the major encounters between Postcolonial Studies and other trans-disciplinary world-outlooks, such as Marxism and feminism.

• Softskills: Read and critically evaluate texts.


A full outline of the course syllabus can be found here.


Bülent Somay had his BA and MA degrees in English Language and Literature in Bosporus University, Istanbul, and his PhD in Psychosocial Studies in Birkbeck College. Bülent Somay was a Lecturer in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies in Istanbul Bilgi University between 2000 and 2017, and the director of the Cultural Studies Graduate Program between 2008 and 2017. He has published seven books in Turkish, and four books in English (The End of Truth 2021; Something is Missing, 2021; The Psychopolitics of the Oriental Father, 2014; The View from the Masthead, 2010), one more forthcoming in 2022 (Beyond Family: A Case for Another Regime of Reproduction, Sexuality and Kinship). Since 2017, he is living in exile in Brussels (Researcher in the ULB), Oslo (Researcher in the UiO), Berlin (Academy in Exile fellow), and most recently he is working at Off-University as a Researcher and Instructor.


Julia Strutz is one of the co-initiators of Off-University and a sociologist (HU Berlin), historian (Bilgi University Istanbul) and urban geographer (KU Leuven) by training. She conducts research in the fields of memory politics, urban renewal, the urban history of Istanbul, and the various ways this history gains importance in heritage and non-heritage contexts today. More recently, this has led her to a transregional investigation into the idea of the mahalle/mahalla/mohalla/mahalleh as a repertoire of living together in cities. She works at the Institute for Asian and African Studies at Humboldt-University in the exploration project "Beyond Social Cohesion - Repertoires of Living Together (RePLITO)" where she coordinates the cooperation with Off-University in different digital teaching, publishing and research formats.

This course is held at the Institute for Asian and African Studies, Gender and Media Studies for the South Asian Region at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and organized in cooperation with Off-University.