Leela GandhiOn Friday November 7 NOG, GGeP, PCI and Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory are organizing a Doing Gender Lecture and an Open Seminar with Professor Leela Gandhi.
Professor Gandhi’s Doing Gender Lecture is entitled ‘On Ethics of Imperfection: Practices of Self and Becoming Common’ and she will approach this enterprise through a meditation upon the poetic encounter between the Indian anti-colonial leader M.K. Gandhi and the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, in the troubled era of the early twentieth century. Supplementary readings, drawn from Gandhi’s books, Affective Communities (2006) and The Common Cause (2014) will highlight queer practices of self-reduction and minor globality as germane to the ethical content of democracy and for the enterprise of becoming-common.

Leela Gandhi’s work deals with the history of transnational lifestyles and modes of self-work that counter aggressive cultures of globalization, forged by war, empire and capital. These askeses or spiritual exercises constitute a minor and intimate style of being global, and involve dissident practices of gender, sexuality, prayer and art. They often take the form of a moral imperfectionism—making oneself less rather than more—and may well comprise the lost content of radical democratic thought and a key to its future elaboration.

Leela Gandhi (born 1966) is John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English at Brown University and a noted academic in the field of postcolonial theory. She is the co-editor of the academic journal Postcolonial Studies, the author of the summary text Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction (Columbia UP, 1998), Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siècle Radicalism, and The Politics of Friendship (Duke UP, 2006), The Common Cause. Postcolonial Ethics and the Practice of Democracy, 1900-1955 (Chicago UP, 2014). She serves on the editorial board of the electronic journal Postcolonial Text.

Doing Gender Lecture details:

The Doing Gender Lecture Series (flyer) takes place in Utrecht and is free of charge. Registration is not compulsory, but highly appreciated: nog@uu.nl or 030 – 253 6001.


The Open Seminar that follows in the evening (19-22 hrs, at Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory) is an occasion to closely converse with Leela Gandhi and elaborate on and debate her proposed notions such as self-work, anti-care of the self, and the common cause against the background of contemporary social movements and their associated practices. As she notes, these notions are related to “ethics of imperfection” in opposition to the ethos of perfectionism “across imperialism, fascism, and new liberalism, characterized by an exclusion of the ordinary, the unexceptional, and the unremarkable.” Professor Gandhi will discuss this with Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar of The Otolith Group.
Please register as soon as possible as places are limited: ying@cascoprojects.org (vegan food is served!)