Professor Caroline Rooney
University of Kent
Imagining the Common Ground: Utopian Thinking and the Overcoming of Resentment and Distrust
Caroline Rooney is Professor of African and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Kent. Her work focuses on the area of postcolonial studies and Arab cultural studies, including liberation struggles and their aftermaths in both sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa.
Her research engages with postcolonial theory in relation to diverse philosophical and spiritual traditions, literary and political uses of language, and cross-cultural articulations of gender and sexuality. She is particularly interested in Southern African writing, North African writing, and contemporary Arab writing.
From 2009-12, Caroline was a Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellow with a research project entitled Radical Distrust: A Cultural Analysis of the Emotional, Psychological and Linguistic Formations of Political and Religious Extremism.
Caroline’s current Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellowship is entitled Imagining the Common Ground: Utopian Thinking and the Overcoming of Resentment and Distrust. It explores the pitfalls and constructive possibilities of utopian thinking with reference to cultural notions of the common ground and civil society in contemporary African and Middle Eastern contexts.
This project addresses how the strategic aim of security for all in a changing world is dependent on the capacity to imagine a common ground and a common humanity, which is in turn dependent on the ability to overcome resentment and distrust, and on the ability to deploy a certain utopian form of thinking.
It will explore the role of prospective and projective thinking in advancing social justice and social cohesion.
The research will be carried out through a series of events together with practice-based research in the form of creative projects, fieldwork and the setting up of networks.