Françoise Vergès

Françoise Vergés is currently Consulting Professor at the Center for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London, and president of the Comité pour la Mémoire et l’Histoire de l’Esclavage (France). Françoise Vergès has written on vernacular practices of memories, on slavery and the economy of predation, the ambiguities of French abolitionism, French republican colonialism, colonial and postcolonial psychiatry in the French colonial empire, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, French postcolionality, postcolonial museography, the routes of migration and processes of creolization in the Indian Ocean world.  She has worked with filmmakers and artists Isaac Julien, Yinka Shonibare, Arnaud Ngatcha. She was a project advisor for Documenta 11 in 2002 and has contributed to 2012 Paris Triennial. Her most recent publication is Lives That Matter, in Okwui Enwezor, Intense Proximity, Paris Triennial Catalog, 2012 and L’Homme prédateur. Ce que nous enseigne l’esclavage sur notre temps, Paris 2011. More information


Colonial Slavery: Cartographies of Global Trade, Race, and Modernities

In which ways the transformation of the human body into an object to capture, to trade and to sell is telling us something about the world we live in? What can we learn from colonial slavery—predatory economy and wars, racialized and gendered workforce, geopolitics of inequalities, laws..—that will help us understand contemporary global economy? What practices and methodologies may be used to “exhibit” colonial slavery? In which ways European and American abolitionist discourse and representation continue to weight on the ways in which we understand enslavement and freedom?  Drawing from her practice as the president of the French Committee for the Memory and History of Slavery (2008-2012), installed by the 2001 Law recognizing slave trade and slavery “crime against humanity” and as the Project Director of a “Museum Without Objects,” Françoise Vergès will revisit the legacies of slave trade and colonial slavery, the ways in which the attempt to “Europeanize” the World has been linked to a construction of a moral, political, and aesthetic subject in terms of identity and culture, and the politics of reparation.