Islamophobia as a technology of power
Lecture by Monika Bobako, PhD, within the frames of Perverse Decolonization
In the modern life of European societies, the phenomenon of Islamophobia is becoming more and more visible, turning into a significant element of political and social discourse. Monika Bobako traces the diversity of anti-Islamic rhetorics, which – treating Islam as a threat and Muslims as the “others” and “foreign” – often arise from different premises. Some of them are part of a critical discourse about religion in general and are associated with the Enlightenment ideas of progress, emancipation and rationalism, other are rooted in a conservative care for the purity of Christian heritage and the European identity. The question is posed as to the extent the contemporary Islamophobia repeats the patterns and processes of constructing the symbolic alienation Muslims are marked with in the European context, known from the history of European anti-Semitism. At the same time analysing how the Orientalist ideas about this religion created in the colonial era shaped today’s attitudes towards Muslims. While reflecting on the phenomenon of Polish “Islamophobia without Muslims”, she emphasizes what the role of the semi-peripheral character of Poland in its creation is.
The lecture by Monika Bobako is an event accompanying a two-day closed seminar, which is part of the annual research project initiated by the Academy of Arts of the World in Cologne – Perverse Decolonization – the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art is a partner of. The project refers to the current crisis of postcolonial studies and identity policy, noting the fact that their critical potential has been taken over by the rebirth of globally new nationalism. The project assumes the work of an international research group with the participation of artists, writers, humanists and curators from East Asia, the United States of America, and Europe. In the context of perverse decolonization, the thesis is put forward that the emancipation processes failed, thus becoming a titbit for various forms of transgressive rhetoric.
Lecture in Polish, with simultaneous translation into English.