Tuesday 17th December 2019, 8:00pm
Session 227: Colonising Egypt by Timothy Mitchell
For this session, David Nyffenegger selected an excerpt from Colonising Egypt by Timothy Mitchell (University of California Press, 1991).
“The question of meaning or representation is the central theme of the book. The methods of organisation and arrangement that produce the new effects of structure, it is argued, also generate the modem experience of meaning as a process of representation. In the metaphysics of capitalist modernity, the world is experienced in terms of an ontological distinction between physical reality and its representation-in language, culture, or other forms of meaning. Reality is material, inert, and without inherent meaning, and representation is the non-material, non-physical dimension of intelligibility. Colonising Egypt explores the power and limits of this ontology by showing the forms of colonising practice that generate it. As a motif exemplifying the nature of representation, the book takes the great nineteenth-century world exhibitions that formed part of Europe‘s colonising project. Drawing on the work of Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida, it refers to this modernist metaphysics as the world-as-exhibition.” -Introduction