2024 Carpenter Lecture: Lisa Lowe

Colonial Histories of the Present

Carpenter Lecture 2024
Lisa Lowe

2024 Carpenter Lecture

Lisa Lowe

Please join us on Monday, May 13th for the start of the English Department's annual Carpenter Lecture Series featuring Lisa Lowe! The talk will begin at 4:00pm in the Swift Hall Third Floor Lecture Room, followed by a reception.

Lisa Lowe is Samuel Knight Professor of American Studies at Yale University. She is the author of Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalisms (Cornell University Press, 1991), Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics (Duke University Press, 1996), and The Intimacies of Four Continents (Duke University Press, 2015), and the co-editor of The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital (Duke University Press, 1997) and New Questions, New Formations: Asian American Studies, a special issue of positions: east asia cultures critique 5:2 (Fall 1997).


We are quite familiar with the U.S. historiography that narrates the Puritan founding of the New England colonies, the expansion of the liberal freedom and industry across the western frontier, and the extension of an ever-inclusive democratic republic globally through modernization.

This history of American exceptionalism disavows historical and ongoing dispossession of Native peoples, national economic development through enslaved labor and its aftermath, and imperial wars overseas whose displacements create non-citizen migrant workers to the U.S.  Undertaking “colonial histories of the present” inaugurates a conflict between the given national history of liberal progress, and the unresolved entanglements of colonialism’s longue durée concealed by narrative development in time. Rather than insisting that we revise official history to tell a more inclusive or comprehensive one, we might instead reflect upon the possibilities and limits of the historical archive and the narrative forms that issue from it. 

In Colonial histories of the present, we will consider other conditions too often eclipsed or overridden by historical narratives of development., e.g., scales, asymmetries, convergences, and relationships that have characterized settler colonialism, slavery, and empire.


Monday, May 13th

4 - 6 pm 

Swift Hall, Third Floor, with reception to follow

Introduction by Bill Brown


Tuesday, May 14th

4 - 6 pm 

Swift Hall, Third Floor

Introduction by Kaneesha Parsard


Thursday, May 16th

4 - 6 pm 

Swift Hall, Third Floor

Introduction by Adrienne Brown