Louise Taylor Maria Ridda Aparajita Mukhopadhyay Hai Luong

Criminality and Power in the Postcolonial City: Mapping the Mean Streets of Mumbai and Naples + Herding Cats

A Talk by Aparajita Mukhopadhyay , Dr Maria Ridda , Hai Luong and Louise Taylor

About this Talk

Book Presentation 1: This book investigates the literary imaginings of the postcolonial city through the lens of crime in texts set in Naples and Mumbai from the 1990s to the present. Employing the analogy of a ‘black hole,’ it posits the discourse on criminality as a way to investigate the contemporary spatial manifestations of coloniality and global capitalist urbanity. Despite their different histories, Mumbai and Naples have remarkable similarities. Both are port cities, ‘gateways’ to their countries and regional trade networks, and both are marked by extreme wealth and poverty. They are also the sites and symbolic battlegrounds for a wider struggle in which ‘the North exploits the South, and the South fights back.’ As one of the characters of the novel The Neapolitan Book of the Dead putsit, a narrativisation of the underworld allows for a ‘discovery of a different city from its forgotten corners.’ Crime provides a means to understand the relationship between space and society/culture in a number of cities across the Global South, by tracing a narrative of postcolonial urbanity that exposes the connections between exploitation and the ongoing ‘coloniality of power.’

Book Presentation 2: Dân chăn mèo live in ordinary houses that contain a secret cannabis farm. They come up with various scripts for the crop-sitters tohoodwink the neighbours, police monitors, and public officials (known as cats). These people are called cats because cats are snoopy. Cannabisgrowers must overcome these cats. In essence, deflecting the cats’ curiosity is one of the most important determinants of successful cat herding. Put another way, dân chăn mèo are mice, but mice that herd cats! Although the authorities have measures to combat the secret growing of cannabis indoors, these are often ineffective. Diamond cuts diamond! As an intelligent man, chăn mèo or a ‘cat herder’ devises unique and bizarre mazes that act like lassos around the necks of the cats.

A bestseller in Vietnam (under the title The Green Faraway Road), Herding Cats is a uniquely candid look at the "green underworld" that flourishes beneath Australia's prosperous exterior, written by a former insider.

19 October 2023, 04:00 AM

04:00 AM - 05:15 AM

About The Speakers

Aparajita Mukhopadhyay

Aparajita Mukhopadhyay


Maria Ridda

Dr Maria Ridda

Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature, University of Kent

Hai Luong

Hai Luong

Research Fellow, The University of Queensland

Cross-border crime, transnational organized crime in Asia, drug trafficking, migrant smuggling, harm reduction, policing and police training, and environmental crimes and biological threats.

Louise Taylor

Louise Taylor