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Reconceptualizing Bandung: Non-Alignment and Third Worldism Today

Reconceptualizing Bandung: Non-Alignment and Third Worldism Today

2021–22 York Global South Forum

Tuesday, April 5, 2022 | noon to 2 p.m. EST

Global South Forum reconceptualizes the meaning of 1955 Asian-African Congress to address contemporary challenges 

The topic of York’s Global South Forum, to be hosted virtually on Tuesday, April 5 discusses the significance of the “Bandung spirit” associated with the Asian-African Congress of 1955 in Bandung Indonesia, which was attended by delegates from 29 Asian and African nations, for thinking about contemporary colonialism, racism and capitalism.

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Co-organized by the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, Founders College, the graduate and undergraduate programs in Development Studies and the African Studies Program in the Department of Social Science, and the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR), “Reconceptualizing Bandung: Non-Alignment and Third Worldism Today” will bring together four globally prominent speakers from diverse backgrounds and different geographies to consider the structural shifts that accompanied decolonization, the continuous exploitation through international division of labor, and the legacy of resistance as represented by Non-Aligned Movement and Third Worldism.

Su Lin Lewis, Associate Professor in Modern Global History at the University of Bristol will offer a little-known historical account of undercurrent transnational activism that informed the inter-state-oriented Bandung conference. Yao Graham, the Coordinator of Third World Network-Africa based in Accra, Ghana will offer a perspective of why the Bandung moment that inspired Global South solidarity is so important, especially today for dealing with contemporary development challenges in Africa. Houria Bouteldja, a founding member of le Parti des Indigènes de la République, a decolonial political member organization in France, will reconceptualize the Bandung spirit to make it work meaningfully for non-White inhabitants with connections to various parts of the (former or existing) French empire to deal with colonial legacy of racism in the metropolitan North. Walden Bello, Co-Founder of Focus on the Global South and adjunct professor of Sociology at Binghamton University will address issues around the rise of China and the question of leadership and the possibility of a new kind of world order from the perspective of Bandung.

Driving the discussion is the shared structures of feeling among these scholars about the political, social, cultural and ecological problems in the capitalist world-economy – a feeling that was also shared by nation-states in the Global South that their societies suffer not just from the legacy of colonialism but also from their entanglement with contemporary global racial capitalism in which they already were enmeshed.

For llan Kapoor, professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC), “Bandung represents the powerful idea of ‘non-alignment,’ that is, a refusal to conform to the mainstream socioeconomic norms on offer today, be they capitalist, liberal democratic or authoritarian—norms that privilege the already privileged and exploit the Excluded. The idea is to struggle instead for a new, radically egalitarian world which puts the Excluded first.” As Abidin Kusno, director of the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) and professor of EUC, says: “Today, the context is ‘Asia rising’ a reality which surpasses the dream of Bandung, but it is not clear how the rise of China for instance would challenge European hegemony and the global capitalist economy to build a more democratic and egalitarian world order.” For Pablo Idahosa, professor in African Studies/International Development Studies, Department of Social Science: “A re-assessment of the global order political-military, resource and financial realignments taking place, and the ambivalence of many countries in the global south towards them, would benefit from lenses provided from the Global South, and not only because of, but perhaps accelerated by, the invasion of Ukraine.”

“Reconceptualizing Bandung” is the most recent event organized by the Global South Forum at York University which has presented a series of events brought together since 2019 by Kapoor, Kusno, Idahosa, Viviana Patroni (professor of International Development Studies, Department of Social Science) along with Stefan Kipfer and Anna Zalik (both professors of EUC) with a focus on thinkers such as Samir Amin, Frantz Fanon, Immanuel Wallerstein, and significant topics of the Global South which include neopopulism, corruption, and socialist planning in Kerala (India). “The goal of the Forum,” according to the organizers, “is to bring together the community of colleagues at York U committed to facilitating conversations about development more inclusive of the critical intellectual contributions from the Global South itself.”



Apr 05 2022


12:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Zoom Webinar @ Zoom Webinar


York Centre for Asian Research

Other Organizers

Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change
Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change
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