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Saima Akhtar, Rosa Barotsi, ...: Film, Women’s Work & Labour Organizing
Film, Women’s Work & Labour Organizing
(p. 113 – 127)

Saima Akhtar, Rosa Barotsi, Clio Nicastro

Film, Women’s Work & Labour Organizing

PDF, 15 pages

  • cosmopolitics
  • politics
  • art theory
  • art
  • globalization

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Saima Akhtar

is a postdoctoral associate at Yale University, where she works on digital humanities projects that aid in the documentation, study and preservation of the built environment. She is an urban historian and architect by training with a research focus on the relationship between labor immigration, planning, and the rise of industry in early twentieth century US cities—in particular, Detroit.

Rosa Barotsi

is a Marie Curie fellow based at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Italy. She has previously held a postdoctoral position at the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry, where she developed a project on Slow cinema and debt. Along with Saima Akhtar and Clio Nicastro, she co-founded the In Front of the Factory research project in 2016. Rosa is a film scholar trained at the University of Cambridge, where she received her PhD in 2014. Her research focuses on the intersections between film, gender and work, with an emphasis on Italian and Greek cinema. She is currently developing a project on women filmmakers in Italy in the period 1965-2015.

Clio Nicastro

teaches at Bard College Berlin and is currently affiliated with ICI Berlin. She studied Philosophy at the University of Palermo (Italy) where she completed her PhD in Aesthetics and Theory of Arts with a thesis on the notion of Denkraum der Besonnenheit in Aby Warburg, which she is in the process of adapting into a book. In 2015 she moved to Berlin as a DAAD postdoctoral fellow working on the German filmmaker Harun Farocki. From 2016-2018 she was a postdoctoral fellow at ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry. Her current research focuses on the cinematic representations of eating disorders as well as on cinema and labor, a project she has been carrying out together with Saima Akhtar and Rosa Barotsi since 2016.
Zairong Xiang (ed.): minor cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitanism is a theory about how to live together. The earliest formulation of cosmopolitanism in the West could be dated to as early as the fourth century BCE in ancient Greece by Diogenes, who famously said that he was a “citizen of the world – kosmopolitês,” an idea later picked up by Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher who proposed a philosophy of a world of “perpetual peace.” When cosmopolitanism first emerged as a political idea for modernity in the European Enlightenment, the project embraced the liberal promises of a globalizing economy, yet remained oblivious to, and even complicit with, capitalism, slavery and colonialism. It centered on the male, bourgeois, and white liberal subject, irrespective of the ongoing disenfranchisement, dehumanization, and extermination of its Others.


At the dawn of the 21st century, and in the wake of rapid globalization however, academics, politicians and other pundits enthusiastically declared cosmopolitanism to be no longer just a philosophical ideal, but a real, existing fact. Across the globe, they argued, people were increasingly thinking and feeling beyond the nation, considering themselves citizens of the world. Meanwhile, the global ecological crisis worsens, fascism with different outfits returns in many places of the world, the repression of women, sexual, racial, class and other minorities on a global scale persists; the so called “refugee crisis” inundates the mediascape and political spectacle. Not much of those cosmopolitan promises have left it seems. Perhaps precisely because of this, however, it seems to be an absolute necessity for scholars, activists, and artists today to face the complexities and promises cosmopolitanism has raised although not adequately answered. What has happened to the cosmopolitan promise, and who betrayed it?


“Minor cosmopolitanisms” wishes to challenge the underlying premises of ‘major’ cosmopolitanism without letting go of the unfulfilled emancipatory potential of the concept at large. It wants to rethink cosmopolitanisms in the plural, and trace multiple origins and trajectories of cosmopolitan thought from across the globe. Regarding cosmopolitanisms as emerging through diverse locally, historically and politically specific practices, minor cosmopolitanisms are predicated on difference without abandoning the quest for a shared vision of conviviality and justice. It seeks to answer: how to live at once with our difference and shared struggle? How to think our complicity with even those we most resist? Who sustains the world’s flourishing despite all this?