The Summer School in Global Studies and Critical Theory


Bologna • June 27 – July 8, 2022


The sea has played a powerful role in the very constitution of global modernity. Multiple vectors of colonial expansion and forced labor transportation have striated the Oceans since the conquest of the Americas and the Middle Passage. Empires were built at sea, with profound implications for state building on land. In many respects, global capitalism is a seaborne phenomenon. At the same time, the Oceans have been since the inception of modernity contested political spaces, where the movements and struggles of what C.L.R. James called mariners, renegades, and castaways nurtured specific forms of maritime radicalism and diasporic politics. Today, the sea continues to be the stage of dramatic conflicts and tensions. This is apparent if one thinks for instance of the lethal reinforcement of maritime borders to confront migration in such places as the Mediterranean or the Bay of Bengal, of deepwater drilling and extraction, of military confrontation in the South China Sea, of maritime logistics in front of supply chains disruptions in the pandemic conjuncture, or of the acceleration of sea level rise due to climate change. How are we to make sense of such complex developments? How are we to represent them from the angle of critical theory? And is there something to be learned from the study of maritime issues that is valid even beyond the sea in the current global predicament? All these questions and topics figure prominently in the 2022 edition of the summer school, which aims at combining a multiplicity of diverse gazes on the sea to grasp a set of developments and conflicts that are defining features of our age.