Jessica Namakkal, "Unsettling Utopia: Spiritual Settlement and Colonial Extraction "


Speaker(s): Jessica Namakkal
Please join the FHI for its faculty speaker series, tgiFHI! Register here:…

Talk description:

Though historians have largely treated decolonization as an event that came to a conclusion sometime in the 1970s, colonial institutions and relationships continue to structure life throughout the world. Many colonial projects continue on past formal decolonization, however, under the guise of international development projects that invoke humanitarianism as a mission. My current research looks specifically at intentional communities (including communes and utopian projects) that were established in the 1960s and 70s to trace that ways that colonial relationships were reimagined by non-state actors after formal imperial governance came to an end. In this talk, I look closely at one such project: the utopian/intentional community called Auroville, located 8km outside Pondicherry, India, to argue that establishing a utopian community on "former" colonial land should be understood as a project of settler colonialism. This framing allows for new approaches to interrogating the continuation of empire and the persistence of global inequalities.

Speaker bio:

Jessica Namakkal is assistant professor of the practice in International Comparative Studies, Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, and History.

Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI)


Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies; History; International Comparative Studies (ICS)

Jessica Namakkal, "Unsettling Utopia: Spiritual Settlement and Colonial Extraction "



Rogers, Sarah