May 68 Fifty Years Later:
When? Where? What? And does it even matter?
April 27, 2018 • 1:00-5:00PM
Columbia University, Buell Hall, East Gallery
Instead of revisiting a few nostalgic clichés, this panel will collectively reflect on the very historical and political parameters of May ‘68: WHEN was May ‘68 exactly? WHERE did it occur? WHAT was it about? What is the meaningful historical sequence in which May ‘68 makes sense? With which other dates should it be paired in order to produce a significant chronology of the post-war period? 1958? 1967? 1974? 1981? 1989? Can this chronology be understood as a succession of “Revolutions” and periods of “return to order?” And where did it happen? While the narratives of May ‘68 traditionally locate it on a line going from Paris to New York, via Prague, Beijing and Tokyo, we would like to think through an alternative francophone geography of May ’68, one that includes Guadeloupe, where an anti-racist uprising in May 1967 was met with violent repression, as well as Dakar and Tunis, where contestations shook the local foundations of power and shaped social and political movements for decades to come. And finally, WHAT was May ’68? How can we interpret together all the different movements that contested relations of power around race, gender, sexuality, labor, culture and knowledge? How did they shape subsequent political conflicts and how they resonate with current political and social struggles?