April 25, 2016: presenting at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

I'll be presenting "Europe and the Space of the Colonies: Kant's Anti-Colonialism and his Philosophy of History." See abstract below.


This presentation offers a new interpretation of Kant’s cosmopolitanism, centering on the role of the anti-colonial arguments in his 1795 Toward Perpetual Peace. The transformation of Kant’s position on colonialism has been the subject of extensive debates, but the analyses have not considered the central place of colonialism in the political, economic, and military context of Europe. I suggest that Kant’s main concern in writing this essay is the negative effect of European expansionism and intra-European rivalry over possessions over the possibility of peace in Europe. I base this conclusion on a critical reading of the concept of conflict in Kant’s philosophy of history and imply that his cosmopolitanism is too limited to be reconceived as the base of contemporary transnational democratic projects.