A workshop for postgraduate and early-career researchers

The Australian National University, Canberra Friday 15 July 2016


We invite abstracts for an all-day workshop on postcolonial political economies to be held on Friday 15 July 2016 at the Australian National University in Canberra. We welcome abstracts from postgraduate researchers and academics in a variety of disciplines.

Please submit a short abstract with a brief biography or institutional affiliation by Monday 20 June 2016 to If you have any questions, feel free to write.

This workshop is sponsored by the ANU’s School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR) and the Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies (ANCLAS).


The aim of the workshop is to encourage discussion on the subject of postcolonial political economies, as either research approach or interdisciplinary problematic.

There are currently several lines of inquiry, cutting across the social sciences and humanities, which engage in insightful ways with what we may term postcolonial political economies. For instance, Jon Altman’s ‘hybrid economies’, J.K. Gibson- Graham’s post-capitalist ‘diverse economies’, Nitasha Kaul’s ‘economics otherwise’, Arturo Escobar’s earlier ‘post-development’, and, more recently, T. Mitchell’s research on technopolitics and ‘economentality’ among others, are some of the contemporary approaches in which economic matters have been discussed in ways that intersect with postcolonial interpellations.

In addition, science and technology studies and STS-inflected studies of the economy have much to offer a postcolonial political economy. These as well as other ethnographically informed and critical interdisciplinary approaches, looking into alternative knowledges and practices, or developing critical and ethical analyses, may allow us to advance a thought-provoking and empirically-attuned analysis of postcolonial economies and politics.

If you would like to present aspects of your research in the workshop, in dialogue with postcolonial concerns, please contact us prior to 20 June 2016.


  • Raoni Rajão is a senior lecturer in social studies of science in the Department of Production Engineering and the Department of Anthropology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil.
  • April Biccum is a lecturer in development, postcolonial studies, and international relations in the School of Politics and International Relations at the Australian National University.
  • Elise Klein is a lecturer in development studies at the University of Melbourne and a former post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Policy Research at the ANU.
  • Carlos E. Morreo is a PhD candidate in the School of Politics and International Relations (ANU) and a convenor at the Institute of Postcolonial Studies in Melbourne.


Download a flyer through here: ANU_PPE_15_July_2016


Critical oil politics / Governing oil in left turn Latin America

My research into ‘critical oil politics’ and the ‘governing of oil’ through ‘21st century socialist’ or ‘left turn’ oil policies and programs in South America —chiefly, Venezuela’s Petrocaribe and Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Initiative—, focuses on the role played by a series of novel technical and economic artefacts or devices born of socialist expertise that have emerged together with these programs’ equally innovative oil political practices (e.g. ‘petrobartering’ and the ‘oil moratorium’). The research project is concerned with both the novel technical or ‘technopolitical’ economic knowledges and petro-formulas that calculate distribution or produce forms of value and debt, and, more generally, construct a specific reality for political economy or socio-technical world, and with the equally innovative oil political practices the latter accompany. These practices, knowledges and technical artefacts embody, I claim, a socialist or left turn ‘language of value’ for oil. Furthermore, the governing of oil (i.e. the deployment of these novel practices, techniques and the development of these forms of expertise) puts into play particular forms of enacting and assessing the relations between ‘nature’, ‘society’ and ‘the economy’.

In addition, the governing of oil in the cases of Petrocaribe and the Yasuní-ITT Initiative embodies and deploys specific ‘processes of equalisation’ between the particular constructs of ‘nature’, ‘the social’ and ‘the economy’ present in the practices and knowledges the projects assemble. I refer to this general phenomenon as the ‘distribution of the political’. It is in this manner that my research while focusing on the technical knowledges and expertise translating and innovating 21st century socialist oil governance, seeks to analyse the making political of oil and the making of the political through oil.

The research project is interdisciplinary in nature and builds theoretically and methodologically on critical international political economy (IPE), science and technology studies (STS), social studies of the economy, and is itself a contribution to Latin American studies and postcolonial modes of inquiry in international relations (IR).

Disciplinary areas

Political science, international relations, international political economy, science & technology studies, social studies of the economy, Latin American studies, social and political theory, postcolonial studies