Living between two worlds

by Megha Kashyap

It took me a while to pen down these thoughts. Thoughts that otherwise would have just found some space in the corners of my journal. It took me great courage to write these thoughts out openly and and place them in front of my readers. I feel the need to do this because most often we are invisible minds behind the academic work that we produce. Our lived realities greatly influence our work but very rarely do we put out our reflections to the world. There are myriad reasons for this.

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Why Positionalities Matter and What They Have to do with Knowledge Production

by Julia Schöneberg, Arda Bilgen and Aftab Nasir

Coming from three different educational, geographical, and class backgrounds, the three of us met for the first time in a research institute in Germany. Together with a group of international colleagues, we were eager to be trained in Development Studies and pursue a PhD degree. In reminiscing about this journey many years later, we shared the struggles and challenges we experienced during our so-called ‘fieldwork’ stays in very different geographies and realised that there was a blatant gap not only in the way we approached our research, but also in the way we were trained: a lack of confrontation with the centrality of power and positionality in ‘development’ research (or any kind of research for that matter) – and a disregard of the colonial legacy in the way knowledge is created and considered legitimate.

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Looking at the UNDP with different eyes

by Juan Telleria

I really like these moments when you find a new idea that catches your attention and changes the way you used to understand something. You are reading a text or listening to something and suddenly you think ‘Oh… I never thought about this issue in this way!’ For a few seconds, your mind wanders and tries to understand the novel perspective opened up by the new idea. Then, you realise that your understanding of the world has changed (at least a little) and now you look at it with different eyes. I like these moments so much that I’ve become addicted to them. Probably, that is why many years ago I decided to start my PhD in Philosophy, and nowadays I publish my findings aiming to share these moments with other open-minded people.

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How do we learn? Engaging with communities of knowledge and culture beyond academic spaces

As you know we, as Convivial Thinkers, are continously exploring new formats of learning and engagaging with knowledges and especially with communities of knowledge. For that reason, we are extremely happy to host and feature Parinita Shetty and her work by way of text (- this transcript ) and audio (-the podcast conversation between Parinita Shetty, Sayan Dey and Lata Narayanaswamy). When she is not guest podcasting for us, Parinita is exploring how fan podcasts act as sites of public pedagogy by providing a social learning context in informal digital spaces. With her project Marginally Fannish she takes an intersectional lens at online fandom.

In their conversation, Parinita, Sayan and Lata exchange about how collaboratively engaging with knowledge and activism with a wide range of people both within and outside institutionalised academic spaces is crucial. The world we inhabit offers us several different learning opportunities. However, academic structures frequently end up valuing a limited kind of expertise.

Whose cultures, languages, and experiences are considered the default? What kind of knowledge matters? How do you seek alternative communities of knowledge beyond the restrictions of the structure you work in?

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Zine: Climate Justice and Flooding (in England)

by Juliet de Little

Exacerbated by urbanisation and climate change, flooding in England is predicted to increase in both frequency and volume. Furthemore, existing research demonstrates that the distribution of who is at risk of flooding in England is weighted towards areas of deprivation. In order to engage with and explore flood injustices in England, I draw on climate justice as a lens through which to examine Flood Risk Management in England. Continue reading “Zine: Climate Justice and Flooding (in England)”

Beyond human rights ‘promotion’: reimagining the EU-South Caucasus relation

by Laura Luciani

The EU’s policies of human rights ‘promotion’ in the South Caucasus region are loaded with coloniality. Rather than projecting a pre-set agenda with homogenising outcomes, the EU should recognise the ‘right to opacity’ of South Caucasus communities and create space for locally meaningful, emancipatory claims to emerge.

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On the Colonial Problem in the EU’s ‘Sustainable’ Trade Agreements

by Camille Nessel

This contribution is part of a blog series seeking to explore how postdevelopment approaches can inform, infuse and potentially transform the study of EU (development) policies and relationships with the Global South.

European colonialism describes a complex period of economic exploitation, racial ideologies and cultural domination. In the last stages of colonialism towards the 1880’s, ideas of a philanthropic civilizing mission were institutionalized. During this civilizing mission, EU member countries like France began to systematically civilize indigenous people through Western “superior” values. This logic shows surprising parallels with sustainable development ideas in the EU’s trade agreements, as I will argue.

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From Decolonising the Self to Coming to Voice

by Zuleika Bibi Sheik

Of the myriad calls for decolonising—the university, the museum, the curriculum, the mind, and so on—few have given attention to decolonising the self[1]. In my/our process of decolonising the self, poetry[2] has been pivotal in giving name to the nameless, which is dreamed but not yet realised (Lorde 2007, 73). As a black woman/woman of colour, following the pen strokes of Audre Lorde (2007) and Gloria Anzaldúa (1987), who put flesh back into words, poetry is a necessity in decolonising and reconstituting the self. In what follows, I hope to walk with the reader on this path of realising my colonised self, decolonising it through the emergence of the plural self, and the eventual reconstituting of self as a coming to voice (Lorde 2007, 79–86).

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Conviviality for a new normality

by Héctor López Terán

The SARS Cov-2 virus pandemic emerges from the multidimensional crisis resulting from our daily destructive behavior with nature, not as a cause of the setbacks in our current society. Control measures to curb the spread of the virus were proposed to solve a life-threatening problem and a “new normal” without questioning the underlying problem.

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A Zine on ‘Situated Knowledges’

In ‘Situated Knowledges’, Donna Haraway is revolting with many other feminist scholars against the objectivity claim of Scientific knowledge; that is, the researchers’ detachment from their objects of study. Instead, she offers an alternative approach to practicing Science which relies on the concept of vision: What we see is consistent of what we know; what we know is what we perceive as our own reality, which is dependable on what we have learned, our situated contexts, and non/privilege. All our knowledges can only be situated; all conceptualizations of our world can thus only be partial, never complete. Situated Knowledges offers a perspective in which we can discuss how we, as researchers, can and should become more responsible and accountable for “what we learn how to see.” (Haraway 1988, p. 583).

(Johanna Tunn)

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