Event Recaps | 15 February 2024

Lisa Lowe – The Hayden V. White Distinguished Annual Lecture


On February 15, 2024, Lisa Lowe gave The Hayden V. White Distinguished Annual Lecture entitled, “Histories of the Colonial Present.”

In this lecture, Lowe examined colonial formations and their imbricated relations, their durability and the persistence of anti-colonial struggles against them, and asked:

In what ways does a reckoning with colonial histories unsettle and transform the way we understand modernity, capitalism, and the political present?

If this colonial historical past is not “over,” but is actively suppressed in national memory, how is it possible to conceive this longue durée as something unthought yet known, that is, a web of relation that we may be unable to think or fully fathom, even as we are reminded it is something we once knew?

Lisa Lowe (Ph.D. ’86, literature) is Samuel Knight Professor of American Studies at Yale. A former student of Hayden White’s, Lisa Lowe received her Ph.D. in 1986. She is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work is concerned with the analysis of race, immigration, capitalism, and colonialism, 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); she is 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). Before joining Yale, Lowe taught at the University of California, San Diego and Tufts University. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Mellon Foundations, the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, the UC Humanities Research Institute, and the American Council of Learned Societies

Event photos:

Photography by Crystal Birns

The Hayden V. White Distinguished Annual Lecture Series is made possible by the support of the Thomas H. and Josephine Baird Memorial Fund, an endowment that supports yearly lectures relevant to historical and cultural theory, and to ensure that Hayden White’s legacy and intellectual spirit is honored and sustained.