The Aníbal Quijano Chair

Ideas to Postpone the End of the World: Is an Ideology from the Left Possible with an Epistemology from the Right?

Wednesday, 20, Thursday, 21, and Friday, 22 January 2021 - 6 pm
Sabatini Building, Auditorium and Online Platform

Rita Segato and Elisa Fuenzalida

Organised by:

Museo Reina Sofía


The Aníbal Quijano Chair

Force Line:

Action and Radical Imagination; Contemporary Disturbances

Education programme developed with the sponsorship of the Banco Santander Foundation

Benvenuto Chavajay, Hombres de maíz (Men of Corn). Performance ritual Père Lachaise cemetery, Paris, 2019
Benvenuto Chavajay, Hombres de maíz (Men of Corn). Performance ritual Père Lachaise cemetery, Paris, 2019

The third edition of the Aníbal Quijano Chair takes the inspirational title of the book Ideas to Postpone the End of the World by Brazilian thinker and indigenous leader Ailton Krenak and places it in dialogue with the paradox underscored by Peruvian decolonial thinker Aníbal Quijano (1928–2018), a major critic of certain fields “of the Left” which seek historical rupture without adopting an epistemological rupture. In this vein, he raised the question: “Is an ideology from the Left possible with an epistemology from the Right?” Namely: Is it possible to conceive of another possible future without glimpsing historical milestones, forms of happiness, civilizing projects and political tools that are radically extraneous with regard to the strategies and future conceptions that characterise Western-colonial-modern civilisation?

The 2021 Aníbal Quijano Chair programme, organised by Museo Reina Sofía’s Study Centre, will seek to address and disentangle the meanings of that paradox from far-reaching perspectives and political projects of the present — feminisms, environmentalism, anti-racist and decolonial movements — taken as vectors which question and stir political orthodoxies.

Argentinean anthropologist and feminist Rita Segato and Peruvian researcher and activist Elisa Fuenzalida, director and coordinator of the Chair, respectively, are joined by Argentinian sociologist, writer and environmental activist Maristella Svampa, Brazilian ecological thinker and indigenous leader Ailton Krenak, Spanish writer, philosopher and activist Amador Fernández-Savater, and Santiago Alba Rico, a Spanish writer and philosopher who lives in Tunisia. Malena Martínez Cabrera's documentary Hugo Blanco, río profundo (Hugo Blanco, Deep River, 2019) will also be screened, opening up a debate on leadership and the collective process in the Peruvian peasant movement.

Thus, the Aníbal Quijano Chair looks to open a channel of collective reflection-action and incorporate it into the multiple viewpoints that today reveal colonial modernity divested of its original promises. Its opening edition, in 2018, related the issue of the Mediterranean migrant crisis to the question of memory in colonial contexts and, more specifically, inside the project of decolonial thinking formulated by the Peruvian sociologist. Further, the 2019 edition set up a dialogue between two experiences of communal feminisms understood as the grounds for building other modes of life: the farms and gynaeceums of the Kurdish Confederation and the movement of public Afro-Latin American self-organisation in Colombia.  


Wednesday, 20 January 2021 – 6pm / Sabatini Building, Auditorium

Film session
Malena Martínez Cabrera. Hugo Blanco, río profundo (Hugo Blanco, Deep River)
Peru, Austria, 2019, colour, original version in Spanish and Quechua, 109’

This documentary is a portrait of legendary peasant leader and militant Trotskyist Hugo Blanco — known in Europe as the “Peruvian Che Guevara” — who preferred to foster self-government and become an anonymous activist by assuming the pseudonym Hugo Indio. Starting with a visit to the forgotten jungle town where Blanco’s struggle and reputation began, the film-maker searches for the traces of the black-bearded young man, a rifle strung over his shoulder and a fist held aloft, screaming “Land or Death!”, and finds traces related to the indigenous peasant movement — that is, those belonging to the collective process of which Blanco was part.

The film is a diptych cut open by a hiatus of mourning, in memory of thousands of Peruvian indigenous people whose blood ran down rivers when the idealist dream of an entire generation became a nightmare in the armed conflict that began in 1980. Equally, the documentary refers to, starting from its title, the novel by Peruvian writer José María Arguedas, Los ríos profundos (Deep Rivers, Losada, 1958), an emblematic work that addresses the indigenous plight in fresh codes. 

Thursday, 21 January 2021 – 6pm / Online Platform

Political Party and Political Community: From Ideology to Episteme
Encounter with Ailton Krenak and Amador Fernández-Savater
Presented by: Rita Segato

Friday, 22 January 2021 – 6pm / Online Platform

Knowing Our Vulnerability: Blind Spots and Possible Ecosocial Transitions
Encounter with Maristella Svampa and Santiago Alba Rico
Presented by: Elisa Fuenzalida


Santiago Alba Rico is a writer and essayist with a philosophy degree from the Complutense University of Madrid. In the 1980s, he was a screenwriter on Spain’s legendary television programme La bola de cristal (The Crystal Ball) and has published in excess of twenty books on politics, philosophy and literature, in addition to three children’s stories and a stage play. In 2020, he participated in the collective work Covidosofía. Reflexiones filosóficas para el mundo pospandemia (Paidós). Since 1988, he has lived in the Arab world and has translated Egyptian poet Naguib Surur and Iraqi novelist Mohammed Jydair into Spanish. He is also a regular contributor with different media outlets.   

Amador Fernández-Savater is a Spanish philosopher, writer and activist known for his essays on philosophy and social action. A researcher for and editor of Acuarela Libros, he has participated in different social movements: student, anti-globalisation, copyleft, “No to War”, V de Vivienda (Decent Housing), 15M. His books most notably include Filosofía y acción (Límite, 1999), Red Ciudadana tras el 11-M. Cuando el sufrimiento no impide pensar ni actuar (Acuarela, 2008), Con y contra el cine. En torno a Mayo del 68 (UNIA arteypensamiento, Fundació Antoni Tàpies and SECC, 2008), Fuera de lugar. Conversaciones entre crisis y transformación (Acuarela and Antonio Machado, 2013) and Habitar y gobernar (Ned, 2020).

Elisa Fuenzalida is a Peruvian researcher, writer and activist with an MA in Advanced Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the Complutense University of Madrid. Her career as a researcher focuses on developing critical methodologies applied to gender, race and territory, and she collaborates in the Aníbal Quijano Chair, curated by Rita Segato, in the Museo Reina Sofía. She has also worked as a carer for children and the elderly in Spain during the COVID-19 health crisis. She is currently a research fellow at the Study Centre entitled Las flores huelen, los otros duelen (The Aroma of Flowers, the Pain of Others) with artist Javier Vargas.  

Ailton Krenak is a Brazilian indigenous leader, environmental activist and writer. In 1985 he founded the non-governmental organisation the Nucleus of Indigenous Culture. He participated in the National Constituent Assembly that drafted the Brazilian Constitution in 1988 and collaborated in founding the Union of Indigenous Peoples. He actively defends the Amazon Rainforest and is currently a special aide to the Minas Gerais Government regarding indigenous affairs. Furthermore, he is author of books such as O lugar onde a terra descansa (Eco Rio-Núcleo de Cultura Indígena, 2000), Encontros (Azouge, 2015), Ideias para adiar o fim do mundo (Companhia das Letras, 2018), O amanhã não está à venda (Companhia das Letras, 2020) and A vida não é útil (Companhia das Letras, 2020).

Malena Martínez Cabrera is a Peruvian film-maker, producer, photographer and cultural journalist who lives in Vienna. She is a member of the Austrian Mentoring Program for Female Filmmakers of FC Gloria Verein, EDN (European Documentary Network) and (the Austrian Documentary Film Alliance). Her audiovisual work includes Cinco trotskistas y Hugo Blanco (2017), Arcano (2017) and Hugo Blanco, río profundo (2019), the latter of which was awarded the Atlantidoc 2019 Best International Documentary at the Uruguay International Documentary Film Festival, earned an Ojo Latinoamericano 2020 Special Mention in the Bolivia International Festival of Human Rights of Sucre and won the Award for Best Peruvian Documentary Feature 2019 in the National Film Festival of Huánuco.    

Rita Segato is a professor of Anthropology and Bioethics in the UNESCO Chair at the University of Brasilia (Brazil). She was an expert witness on the trials of the Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala, where sexual violence was first tried and prosecuted, in the form of domestic and sexual slavery, as a war strategy used by the State. Her main fields of interest include new forms of violence against women and the contemporary consequences of the coloniality of power. Her most important works include La Nación y sus Otros: raza, etnicidad y diversidad religiosa en tiempos de políticas de la identidad (Prometeo Libros, 2007) and La crítica de la colonialidad en ocho ensayos y una antropología por demanda (Prometeo Libros, 2013). 

Maristella Svampa holds a degree in Philosophy from the National University of Córdoba and a PhD in Sociology from the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris (EHESS). She is also a researcher at the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research of Argentina (Conicet) and head professor at the National University of La Plata. She has received numerous awards and prizes, among them the Platinum Konex Award in Sociology (2016) and the National Award for Sociology Essays for her book Debates latinoamericanos. Indianismo, desarrollo, dependencia y populismo (Edhasa, 2016). Her most recent publications include El colapso ecológico ya llegó. Una brújula para salir del (mal)desarrollo, with Enrique Viale (Siglo XXI, 2020).

Education programme developed with the sponsorship of the  Santander Fundación

Knowing Our Vulnerability: Blind Spots and Possible Ecosocial Transitions