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An African Renaissance perspective on EU-Africa relations

by Valentina Brogna

In this blog Valentina Brogna explores how the concept of African Renaissance (AR) may reshape the relations between the European Union (EU) and Africa. Partly building on African and diasporic perspectives, she argues that EU-Africa relations are still imbued with coloniality, that there is unclarity as to what delinking from Western modernity would entail for Africa, and that the EU should first and foremost listen rather than proactively seek agreements.

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In times of crises: Why there is no place for ‘development’ in imagining a just future for all

by Adriana Cancar

In these current times of crises, and I purposely use crises in the plural, fatal misconceptions of ‘development’ and ‘growth’ are becoming even more blatantly apparent. Any given day we can see the consequences of ‘development’. Humans are forced to look for a safe place to live as their homes are simply inhabitable due to environmental degradation, land grabs, extractivism, heat waves, floods, droughts and fires. All the while, it feels like the climate crisis is  only taken seriously by young people most likely to experience the devastating consequences of a fossil-based, mass consumptive and resource-intensive lifestyle. Slowly but surely global warming is also hitting the global North –  and that means crises also affect ‘us’, the (relatively) ‘privileged’. By ‘privileged’ I mean those that for decades have profited from a fossil-based, mass-consumptive lifestyle all the while externalizing its costs. Continue reading “In times of crises: Why there is no place for ‘development’ in imagining a just future for all”

Feminist Letters Crossing Borders – Cartas feministas atravessando fronteiras

by Gabriela Monteiro and Ruth Steuerwald

Brasília, February 9th, 2020

Hi, my dearest German girl!

How I miss you. Here in Brazil, carnival is approaching and people are getting more agitated every day. Last week, I was in Salvador and the Blackest city outside Africa is still pulsating. The Iemanjá celebration[1] was happening on 02/02, a celebration that always touches me a lot. It’s also a festival which is full of problems and contradictions, with the presence of white tourists and photographers consuming what is sacred for Black people. Everything is very difficult, but as capoeira teaches us, we need to gingar[2] – and we can’t forget who is the real owner of the party. Never forget who we are.

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[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Mi Vida

by Daimys E. García

Mi Vida,

Writing does not come easily to me; writing during this time has been especially excruciating. A close friend once described me and my process as a ‘mortar and pestle.’ A grinding effort that may produce beautiful results, but does so only through a series of meticulous, painful, relentless breakings apart. ‘It would be easier,’ he explained, ‘if you just channeled a food processor instead—dump all the ingredients and out it comes: same results, a lot less suffering.’ At first defensive and annoyed by the description, I now hold a deep tenderness for it. The way of the food processor removes all of the knowledge-building. This labored process I learned in the kitchen with my grandmother who still, at 90 years old, uses a mortar and pestle to grind garlic. Through it, she taught me how to feel food, taught me how to smell for readiness, taught me patience and rhythm through pain. I think of how her grandmother taught her how to tolerate that pain for the knowledge it brings, and I take comfort in that ancestry.

And so… I write to you bleeding: this labor an expression of pain and tenderness.

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The What and the How of Teaching Global Development

by Anke Schwittay

A little over two years ago, this Convivial Thinking blog started with a collective conversation about decolonizing teaching pedagogies. Since then a number of posts have further added to the discussion, and especially its decolonial dimension. Since John Cameron wrote in 2013 about the ‘broader failure in the academy to subject our teaching to serious critical reflection and to consider it worthy of serious writing and publication,’ things are slowly changing in Development Studies, not in small part due to efforts to decolonize the development curriculum. This is both encouraging and important, for as bell hooks has argued, ‘the classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy.’ Many of these contributions have focused on what we are teaching development students, often looking to diversify reading lists. That is not enough, however – how we teach is just as important as what we teach.

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[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] What does self-reliance really mean? Amazing stories from India’s margins

by Ashish Kothari

Can you imagine Dalit women farmers in Telangana, once facing hunger and deprivation, contributing 20,000 kgs of foodgrains for COVID19-related relief? Farmers on the Tamil Nadu – Karnataka border continuing to send organic food to Bengaluru consumers even during the lockdown? Villages in Kachchh and Tamil Nadu handling anti-COVID19 health measures, with minimal outside help? And adivasis (indigenous people) in central India with community funds able to take care of migrant workers who have had to come back to their villages?

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Cosying up the desirability of EU democracy support in Africa to postdevelopment: a bridge too far?

by Nathan Vandeputte

In 2018, Freedom House recorded the 13th consecutive decline in ‘global freedom’, otherwise described as an ‘unfolding third wave of autocratization’. A notable factor has allegedly been the complacency of the international community, in particular the US, Russia, and China. Yet, also the EU is admonished, particularly since its new foreign policy instrument – the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument that was approved by the European Council in July 2020 – does not convincingly emphasize democracy.

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[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Relinking as healing: Ruminations on crises and the radical transformation of an antisocial and antirelational world

by Julia Suárez-Krabbe 

Relinking

My dear friend, mentor and guide among the spiritual authorities of the four peoples that inhabit Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia (from now on: Mamos), Saúl Martínez, once told me that he was sometimes asked if he was religious, and that his answer was yes – in the etymological sense of the word: re-ligare (Latin), re-link. And Saúl also emphasized that it is important that I relink in/to Denmark too, inasmuch my roots lie here as much as they lie in Colombia. This re-linking with the Mother as we have used it with Saul not only complements Walter Mignolo’s notion of delinking from modernity-coloniality,[i] it also involves a movement into decolonial healing. Indeed, while delinking is an important move, it appears incomplete if it is not accompanied by relinking, a continued practice of deep reconnection. As we will see, relinking is crucial to these reflections.

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News from the Convivial Thinking Writing Collective: Engagements with the (de)coloniality of development research and teaching

The latest issue of Acta Academica contains the Special Focus: How do we know the world? Collective engagements with the (de)coloniality of development research and teaching.

The Special Focus was guest edited by the Convivial Thinking Writing Collective. Our collaborative engagements with the topic have evolved from a workshop in early 2019 and a consecutive blog series. Convivial Thinking is a collective platform seeking to surpass boundaries of origin, ethnicity, professional affiliation and academic disciplines in order to give space to inclusive, interdisciplinary and alternative approaches to mainstream methods of knowledge production, especially in the context of “development”. The articles in the Special Focus reflect these concerns.

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[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Between solidarity and charity: a dialogue from the kitchen

The Barricade is a volunteer-run collective inspired by raccoons and anarchism, active as a public library and an anti-foodwaste kitchen. Our* library has a variety of radical left wing books and zines that can be loaned for free. We believe that self-education is a crucial element in the struggle for social change and therefore we aim to provide a space for collective learning. We organize discussions, reading groups and workshops that are free and open to anyone interested. Our vegan dinners are for donation and made out of what would have been otherwise trash. By fighting foodwaste we make it possible for people to eat a decent meal without having to pay a fortune.

* The I of this story is actually a we, collecting the experiences of more people part of The Barricade collective.

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