European Scholars for the Humanities


from Bari, to Villa Vigoni, to Europe and beyond 


As scholars working in the humanities we are committed to the values from which our disciplines stem and are aware of our responsibility in ensuring that the societies we live in respect and implement these principles. We believe that it is our responsibility, as scholars and citizens of Europe, to do so.

It is our belief that universities cannot operate as isolated institutions disconnected from the material, social, economic and political events of the now: our institutions are not only rooted in territorial moorings, they have been through history, and shall continue to be pivotal places for the sharing and spreading of knowledge.

We are convinced that teaching and research are an integral part of the education – in the broadest sense of the term – of our postcolonial societies, and our intellectual practices do not disregard, nor can ignore, the practices of cultural, social and political life of the specific place we inhabit.

The rise of clannish/racist sentiments and of populist/sovranist impulses in many European countries, accompanied by a violent backlash against women’s rights, feminist activism and gender issues, take us back to a not so distant past and force us to remember that indifference is never harmless and that inaction can be as dangerous as action. This also encourages us to remember that cultural work offers the possibilities of critical thinking, of doubting, and even of thinking and acting against the grain wherever and whenever it becomes necessary.

It is our commitment, therefore, to be present and intervene with our students and in public debates to openly discuss racism, migration, diversity, the waning of liberal humanism and the shrinking of human rights in general, among the many questions that concern life in common.

We are also committed to asking that our universities be open and welcoming places that offer cultural exchanges with immigrants and with activists and associations that work daily to make our societies more hospitable. Also, we ask that our universities offer spaces for intercultural meetings, seminars, teaching and research activities that seriously and honestly address urgent issues that political propaganda subtracts from critical thinking.

Finally, it is our commitment that the University as institution is always a place of critical training and debate, of encounters and forward-looking cultural practices, which can never be separated from power relations, and therefore from political issues.


I see this MANIFESTO as a call for translating academic knowledge into “acts of citizenship”.
It is the result of a long-distance collaboration between the members of AISCLI (Associazione Italiana per lo Studio delle Culture e Letterature in lingua Inglese) who gathered at the University of Bari in February 2019, and a wide network of postcolonial scholars who took part in the “Citizenship, Law and Literature” workshop at Villa Vigoni (Loveno di Menaggio, Como) in March 2019.
At Villa Vigoni we shared the original Italian document proposed by our AISCLI colleagues Marta Cariello and Luigi Cazzato; we translated and reworked it, having shared a set of preoccupations concerning the way contemporary European societies are moving, as well as our trust in the role academic institutions and the humanities can still play in keeping democracy and freedom in view.

As academics, we should work to develop joint agendas for public engagement, which, for academic institutions, means a concrete effort to open up the university and share knowledge beyond its walls, with society at large; it also means to devote time and energy to engaging the legal, the economic, the political in closer dialogue, locally, nationally and transnationally.
We are sending out this MANIFESTO as a message in a bottle, hoping it may reach as many people as possible. We ask all who read and agree with its contents to sign and disseminate it widely through their own networks, institutions, associations, and in their academic environment.
This is no time for inaction or silence, thank you.


Annalisa Oboe

Director of the  postcolonialitalia project

Editor of 

From the European South
a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities







The signatories of the Villa Vigoni Manifesto


Avtar Brah, Birkbeck, University of London, UK

Annalisa Oboe, University of Padova, Italy

Chandani Lokuge, Monash University, Australia

Daniela Carpi, University of Verona, Italy

Elisa Bordin, Università di Padova, Italy

Enrica Rigo, Università RomaTre, Italy

Françoise Kral, Université Paris Nanterre, France

Jesper Reddig, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Muenster, Germany

Katia Sarkowsky, University of Augsburg, Germany

Klaus Stierstorfer, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität., Muenster, Germany

Laura Zander, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany

Nilufer Bharucha, University of Mumbai, India

Sridhar Rajeswaran, CASII, Centre for Advanced Studies, India

Valentina Adami, University of Verona, Italy


Please see below the Call for applications for

up to 5 Grants (Travel and Accommodation) for Ph.D. students or post-docs for participation in the Villa Vigoni Symposium: "Citizenship, Law and Literature"

Villa Vigoni, Loveno di Menaggio (CO), Italy, 25-28 March, 2019
Coordinators: Prof. Annalisa Oboe (Padua) and Prof. Klaus Stierstorfer (Muenster)
Deadline: 8 February, 2019

Best wishes,

Annalisa Oboe and Klaus Stierstorfer



The idea of post-colonial culture:
inclusions and exclusions

Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Costruire un archivio personale per raccontare una storia condivisa

University of Padua
Via Beldomandi, third floor, 2.30-4.00 pm


Visualità e (anti) razzismo

InteRGRace and FISPPA

University of Padua
in collaboration with postcolonialitalia

website and programme