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Cluster of Excellence EXC 2052 - "Africa Multiple: reconfiguring African Studies"

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20th DOCTORAL SCHOOL “FACTORY OF IDEAS” took place in Bahia


The Federal University of Bahia opened its doors to special edition of an academic icon: Between 26 August and 6 September 2019 the 20th Doctoral School “Factory of Ideas” took place in Brazil exploring the topic “THE NEW AGE OF EXTREMES: New Forms of Populism, Extremism and Identity Formation in a Transcontinental Perspective”. The Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence supported the traditional exchange of ideas.

For the past 20 years “The Factory of Ideas” has analysed current political and social questions. In 2019, the year of its’ 20th anniversary, remained true to its roots: the intensive and advanced course once again debated a very important topic: focusing on a progressive South-South as well as South-North dialogue the rise of new and exaggerated forms of populism were analysed.

Main topic: New forms of populism

Those new forms of making politics and exercising power present themselves as new and anti-political movements, making way for radical reforms of the social-economic and cultural-religious-educational order. They oppose outright previous projects aimed at reducing poverty as well as extreme and durable inequality and more conventional narratives based on class. Opposed to those visions of society, they propose new us-them confrontations based – mostly – on lifestyle, religious belief, celebration of family life or nationhood. The summer school conceptual leaders found it urgent to investigate how the new populist governments affect and possibly alter the structure of inequality, the processes of identity and class formation of subaltern groups and the building of broader kinds of collective identities.

During the course of the summer school the following questions were explored: “Who are the winners and the losers into this process?” At the same time the context of the varous affected countries like India, Philippines, Colombia, US, Brazil, countries in Europe were debated. Additional focus was put on the traditional or new media and technologies (social media, church pulpits, flash mobs etc.), their codes and uses in religion, politics, culture and in discourses that lead to violence against strangers, foreigners or LGBT people.

The interesting program of this year’s summer school comprised classes by Eduardo Restrepo (Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá – Colombia), Elísio Macamo (University of Basel, Switzerland – Mozambique), Marco D‘Eramo (Il Manifesto – Italy), Aries Aruguay (University of the Philippines Diliman – Philippines), Subhadra Channa (University of Delhi – India) and Rosana Machado (Federal University of Santa Maria – Brazil). The classes were held in Portuguese, English and Spanish.

One-day panel with former students

On occasion of the summer school’s twentieth edition a one-day panel with former students that are now professors in various universities was held. The aim of the panel was to scrutinize the twenty years of experience and envision the future of the institution’s South-South network.

This year’s attendees comprised 40 international graduate students and postdocs. 15 students came from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. A special effort was made to guarantee the presence of students benefitting from affirmative action measures, for instance indigenous people, descendants of maroon and other black traditional communities and LGBT activists. (sg)

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