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Conferences & lectures

Atmospheric Pressures: On Race and Affect​

Date & time

Friday, April 17, 2020
3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Renisa Mawani




Henry F. Hall Building
1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Room 1120

Wheelchair accessible



The Department of Sociology and Anthropology's Winter Speaker Series presents Renisa Mawani, University of British Columbia.

Mawani will present Atmospheric Pressures: On Race and Affect​.

Free and open to all.


In this paper, Renisa Mawani places Frantz Fanon’s brief comments on atmosphere in conversation with more recent efforts to theorize affect through the ephemeral, mutable and material impress of atmosphere. In so doing, Mawani initiates a close reading of Fanon’s essay, “Racism and Culture,” alongside his better known and more widely read The Wretched of the Earth.

Here, Mawani considers Fanon’s reflections on the psycho-affective traumas of colonialism, racism and colonial violence through affective registers rather than the more conventional and established psychic ones. In so doing, her objective is not to recuperate an authentic Fanonian voice. Nor is it to dispute the phenomenological and psychoanalytic readings of Fanon that have been so influential in postcolonial studies, critical race theory and beyond.

Rather, her goal is to consider how Fanon’s brief remarks on atmosphere might be reworked and expanded toward an affective account of race.

About Renisa Mawani

Renisa Mawani is a professor of sociology and chair of the Law and Society Program at the University of British Columbia. She works in the fields of critical theory and colonial legal history and has published widely on law, colonialism and legal geography.

She is the author of Colonial Proximities (University of British Columbia Press, 2009) and Across Oceans of Law (Duke University Press, 2018), which has been shortlisted for the Socio-Legal Studies Association Theory and History Book Prize (2020).

With Iza Hussin, she is co-editor of “The Travels of Law: Indian Ocean Itineraries” published in Law and History Review (2014); with Sheila Giffen and Christopher Lee, she is co-editor of “Worlds at Home: On Cosmopolitan Futures” published in Journal of Intercultural Studies (2019); with Rita Dhamoon, Davina Bhandar and Satwinder Bains, she is co-editor of Unmooring the Komagata Maru (University of British Columbia Press, 2019); and with Antoinette Burton, she is co-editor of Animalia: An Anti-Imperial Bestiary of Our Times (Duke University Press, 2020).

She has served two terms on the editorial board of Law and Society Review, was recently appointed to the editorial board of Law and Social Inquiry, and was elected to the Law and Society Association’s Board of Trustees (2019-2022).

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