Speaker addresses roots of fascism in Europe April 11

Did the roots of Nazism grow out of European colonialism? On April 11, political theorist Eleni Varikas will speak on “The Colonial Genealogies of Fascisms in Europe” as part of the 2018 Institute for Comparative Modernities New Conversations Series. The talk, at 4:45 p.m. in G22 Goldwin Smith Hall, is free and the public is invited.

According to Varikas, Hannah Arendt, the influential German-born American political theorist, first introduced the idea that the roots of European totalitarianism, especially Nazism, lay in European overseas colonialism. Arendt suggested the Nazis used the same methods that Europeans had used on the so-called “savages” who were not part of Western European civilization. Varikas will look at these theories in the light of the current rise of fascist and neo-Nazi movements, of contemporary immigration and refugee policies in Europe, and the return of race as a “legitimate” frame for political understanding.

Varikas is professor emerita of political theory and gender studies at the Université Paris 8/Vincennes-Saint-Denis and a researcher at the Centre de Recherches Sociologiques et Politiques de Paris. Her numerous books on intellectual history, feminist theory and the figure of the pariah include “Penser le Sexe et le Genre,” “Les Rebuts du Monde: Figures du Paria” and “Genre, Modernités et ‘Colonialité’ du Pouvoir.”

The talk is co-sponsored by the departments of Comparative Literature, Government and History in the College of Arts and Sciences; the Department of Development Sociology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and the Cornell Institute for European Studies.

Linda B. Glaser is a staff writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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