about

We are an open group of scholars thinking, working and writing on all issues related to post- and decolonial approaches in the context of development, development studies and beyond. We feel that post- and decolonial perspectives are far too important to be overlooked in the development debate and in academia as such.

The term conviviality is used in many different meanings and contexts. For us, it means equity, mutual respect for each other and the natural world and assuming joint responsibility for the ways we live, we act, we engage. With creating space for convivial thinking we want to make a humble attempt to break the cycle of dichotomous reproduction of Us/Them, West/Rest, developed/underdeveloped, etc. and the endless reproduction of reformers and reformed.

The key question for us is to see what it is we do not know as compared to what we know through the standard medium of knowledge productions. In our understanding, the route towards knowing the unknowns, that are postcolonial in nature, goes through unfamiliar terrains, in terms of structure and content of the current academic mediums. Our aim is to deterritorialize and de/re-center these platforms and debates on development by inculcating those voices, art pieces, opinions that get silenced or lost in the hierarchical spaces of publications. Keeping in line with the spirit of the traditional post- and decolonial studies paradigm, we intend to provide both space and authority to those authors, artists, writers, poets, thinkers who want to convey their messages via informal, open-source mediums; hence this website.

As Robert Young (2003) maintains that postcolonialism at all times stands for a transformational politics that is aimed at reducing inequality and eliminating hierarchies in states and institutions, we dedicate this website towards reducing inequalities and hierarchies that exist within academia by allowing or not allowing  the production of certain thoughts. We position ourselves as flag-bearers of a new way of producing knowledges in which the boundaries of origin, ethnicity, professional affiliation, academic disciplines etc., are rather surpassed in order to come up with inclusive, interdisciplinary and alternative approaches towards mainstream methods of knowledge production, hence convivial thinking!

Development as a concept and practice is deeply political. It involves power and knowledge, representation, contestation, struggles and processes of negotation on local, national and global levels. Development is never neutral. Attempts to deny this simply adhere to a teleology that reproduces “endlessly the separation between reformers and those to be reformed” (Escobar 1995). We are political. This page is political.

Through these pages we seek to create  a counterpoint and a platform for critical thought and contestation for horizontal dialogues and collaboration.

The contents of this page are continuously evolving. We invite everyone to contribute. Simply get in touch! The two minds behind the technical maintenance of this page are Aftab Nasir (Forman Christian College University Lahore) and Julia Schöneberg (University of Kassel).

How to contribute?

To contact us or to join the mailing list please click here.

We are privileged to feature the artwork of Angie Vanessa Cárdenas Roa. Please visit her website.

 

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How to make the “decolonial turn” more than just a fashion

by Paola Minoia Numerous calls for papers and conferences around Europe and globally give us the impression that we are now going towards a “decolonial turn” in many disciplines: development studies, IR, geography etc. On the other hand, many criticize this pick of initiatives, doubting their effective and truly challenging nature vis-à-vis the current systems …

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Why post-/decolonial perspectives matter

by Aftab Nasir How ought we to live? The question is multi-faceted and janus-faced. The disciplinary boundaries disappear when one wants to address this question. Is it a philosophical debate, a political discussion, a psychological model, or a historical perspective that is under investigation in this question? The answer is all and none. Yes, these …

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Funding Social Change or: How to most successfully derail a social movement?

by Julia Schöneberg Development has failed. Given the many shortcomings and failures we witness after decades of development intervention and myriads of development projects this claim seems to hold true. Development projects are prone to pitfalls of paternalism and cooptation, perpetuating dependency and are often ill-fitted to local needs and imaginaries. On the other hand, …

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voices

In cooperation with the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) we are organising a webinar series with the aim of opening spaces in which critical yet constructive voices from all over the world can speak and are listened to. The webinar format is intended to facilitate discussion among like-minded thinkers regardless of their geographical positioning.


We were able to engage with:

Juan Fernando Larco Guevara (University of Freiburg, Germany): “Re-thinking emancipation in “Latin America” and the de-colonial project”

Vanessa Andreotti (University of British Columbia, Canada): Interdisciplinary Studies in Global/Planetary Interdependence: The mobilization of hope and rage in times of instability

Sayan Dey (Royal Thimphu College, Bhutan): “The Politics of ‘Post-’: Colonial detoxification and celebrating ‘in-betweenness’- The Anglo-Indians of Bow Barracks, Calcutta”

Dr Epifania Amoo-Adare (Accra/Ghana):  (Un-)Thinking, Decolonial Loving and Becoming- Critical Literacies for ‘Postnormal Times’

Dr Rosalba Icaza (Institute of Social Studies, The Hague): Decolonial Feminism and Development

Prof Aram Ziai (University of Kassel): Decolonising Development Policy

Dr Ana Estefania Carballo (University of Melbourne): Buen Vivir, Degrowth and Human Development

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works

Looking for some inspirational reading? These are a few of our open access favourites:


Bhambra, Gurminder K (2007) Connected Sociologies. Theory for a Global Age Series, Bloomsbury Academic: London, 2014. Full text.

In this book Bhambra engages sociology and social theory with postcolonial studies and decoloniality.

Césaire, Aime (1972) Discourse on Colonialism. Translated by Joan Pinkham. This version published by Monthly Review Press: New York and London. Originally published as Discours sur le colonialisme by Editions Presence Africaine, 1955. Full text.

One of Césaires most classic texts in which he condems the brutality of colonial oppression and advocates the return of power to the colonized. Perfect starting point for situating critical discussions about development.

Khoo, Su-ming (2017) Engaging Development and Human Rights Curriculum in Higher Education, in the Neoliberal Twilight Zone, Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review, Vol. 25, (Autumn), 34-58. Full text.

What does it mean to teach and research human rights and development? Khoo argues for a decolonial curriculum and emancipatory teaching in order to push back against de-democratising tendencies.

Ashish Kothari and K.J. Joy (2018) (eds.)  ‘Alternative Futures: India Unshackled’, Full text

A collection of radical and visionary essays imagining and challenging  economic, ecological, political and socio-cultural futures.

Matthews, Sally (2018) Confronting the Colonial Library. in: Politikon 45 (1): 1-18, January 2018. Full text.

Matthews discusses attempts to decolonise university curricula and  how to oppose epistemological ethnocentrism.

Global Social Theory

A fantastic website to read up on concepts, thinkers, topics. The page  provides introductions to a variety of theorists and theories from around the world, especially beyond mainstream Eurocentric thought.

The Alternative Reading List Project

              Asking the most crucial question: What voices aren’t you hearing? 

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methods

Do we really practice the contents of our teaching in the way we teach? This is a toolbox of useful methods and classroom activities.


Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures

A collective of colleagues in Musqueam land is doing some fascinating work on the conceptualization of education, convictions of knowledge, identity and understanding.

Go and have a look at their pedagogical experiments.


Where does “development” begin?

Why not start talking about beginnings of “development” with this powerful excerpt from Aime Cesaire’s “Discourse on Colonialism” rather with the Truman speech?

They talk to me about progress, about “achievements,” diseases cured, improved standards of living.

I am talking about societies drained of their essence, cultures trampled underfoot, institutions undermined, lands confiscated, religions smashed, magnificent artistic creations destroyed, extraordinary possibilities wiped out.
They throw facts at my head, statistics, mileages of roads, canals, and railroad tracks. I am talking about thousands of men sacrificed to the Congo-Ocean.
I am talking about those who, as I write this, are digging the harbor of Abidjan by hand. I am talking about millions of men torn from their gods, their land, their habits, their life-from life, from the dance, from wisdom. I am talking about millions of men in whom fear has been cunningly instilled, who have been taught to have an inferiority complex, to tremble, kneel, despair, and behave like flunkeys.
They dazzle me with the tonnage of cotton or cocoa that has been exported, the acreage that has been planted with olive trees or grapevines.
I am talking about natural economies that have been disrupted – harmonious and viable economies adapted to the indigenous population – about food crops destroyed, malnutrition permanently introduced, agricultural development oriented solely toward the benefit of the metropolitan countries, about the looting of products, the looting of raw materials.

Global Inequality Excercise

The excercise highlights the disparities of income, wealth, poverty and maldistribution. The added plus is tha[t when using chocolate bars to symbolise GDP, after the end of the activity usually a lovely dynamic of solidarity and redistribution happens when students share chocolates among each other.
A description of the excercise that can be easily adapted can be found here.

 

 

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