Global South Intersemiotic Research Project


Neocolonialism and the Global South:
Multidisciplinary perspectives on meaning and matter


University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, 26 November 2015
Symposium: 1st December 2015


Pope Francis recently denounced capitalism as neocolonialism, urging mankind to rid itself of the “idolatrous economy” of exclusion and inequality that has come to dominate global exchanges. Religious discourse aside, it can be argued that in the current state of affairs, the globalised corporate economy has effectively replaced colonial imperialism.

From privatization to exploitation and from the systematic disenfranchisement of workers and minorities to the emergence of free-market capitalism, the new global paradigm, supported by “flat-earth” technologies, has brought about new dynamics, creating new systems of meaning and power.

Neocolonialism is remarkably similar to the old versions of colonialism when it comes to the rules of the game, but also the players: the winners and losers of the global economy remain roughly the same. The Global South is, of course, particularly vulnerable to these dynamics. One of the most interesting aspects of this is perhaps the moral standing that economy issues have come to both represent, as a value system, and take up, as status.


The conference features a complementary symposium around Kobus Marais’ essay, Translation Theory and Development Studies, which was awarded the University of the Free State’s Book Prize for Distinguished Scholarship for 2014.

Invited speakers: Stefan Baumgarten, José Lambert, Reine Meylaerts.

Both the conference and the symposium will be held in a videoconference-ready venue, with participants on site as well as virtually connected.