Lecture by the 2019 Holberg Laureate Paul Gilroy, Professor of American and English Literature, King’s College London.
Venue: The University Aula, Bergen, Norway.
Employing the cosmopolitan work by W.E.B. Du Bois as a starting point, this lecture surveys the “populist” politics of race and nation in contemporary Europe. With those growing perils in mind, it pleads for serious, academic engagement with the resurgence of fascism in forms that can be difficult to identify.
It will suggest that historical scholarship centred on cultural processes can play a pivotal role in producing compelling responses to those dangers. However, answering racism and nationalism is not undertaken to serve the interests of their immediate victims but to defend and deepen democratic institutions and habits. The traditional concerns of broad, humanistic education are still required by today’s open-ended inquiries into the limits and entanglements of the human. That educational mission remains important not just for the answers it gives to racism, but also for the contribution it can make to the practical problems associated with the social effects of environmental crisis.
The 2019 Holberg Conversation with Paul Gilroy
In this interview, 2019 Holberg Prize Laureate Paul Gilroy discusses a range of topics, including his childhood and adolesence in post-colonial Britain, his research on race and identity, and how to best meet the threats posed by neo-fascism and the climate crisis.
Paul Gilroy is Professor of the Humanities and Director of the Centre for the Study of Race and Racism at UCL. Interviewer is Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Bergen. The interview was recorded on 3 June, 2019. Produced by the Holberg Prize, in collaboration with the University of Bergen.