[How Do We “Know” the World Series] Part I: How can we “know” the world – and reflect on it academically?

by Lata Narayanaswamy

This post is the start of a series of reflections on critical scholarship contributed by participants of the workshop “How do we know the world” . The workshop is co-organised by Lata Narayanaswamy and Julia Schöneberg.

How do we ‘know’ the world? It is so vast a question that it feels, perhaps ironically, almost unknowable. Yet this question is not a call to take an inventory of specific facts or perspectives, but is asked in order to help frame a more critical and reflexive approach to the assumptions that underpin academic perceptions of WHAT counts as knowledge, HOW we capture and communicate that knowledge and WHO gets to both shape and present ideas as academic (read: expert) knowledge. Taken together, these reflections can, we believe, be very revealing. Whilst this should be a question we ask ourselves across all disciplines, our focus here is specifically on how this set of questions has begun to creep into the mainstream of the broader social sciences.

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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 of cultural and scientific production. I agree that some calls for papers, especially for large conferences, may sound insincere and produced by academic scholars “surfing” on this new trend, instead of stepping down from their powerful positionalities.

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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 disciplines try to grasp the concept of life in their own institutionalized mandates yet they end up dividing the whole in to parts that do not add up once they are combined back. There is something specific to the inner workings of these disciplines that make these parts look alien to each other once they are filtered through the methodological lenses of disciplines.

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A call for resistance

Republished from Decolonize | Politics, art, decoloniality, autonomous health & feminism | Many thanks to Sat Trejo for sharing this with us here.

In this post I want to share a poem that is a call for collective healing and resistance against the violence of dehumanization racialized and gendered bodies have been experiencing as a consequence of colonization. I wrote this poem as a way to express the essence of my research that focuses on resistance to the erasure of ways of knowing-being and the peoples that embody these in a context of feminicide (erasure of specific bodies) in Chiapas, Mexico. My work looks at the politics of knowledge within the field of development studies. I understand development as a project of coloniality. The latter a form of erasure. Coloniality entails erasure of everything that has its roots outside modern logics-ways. The poem is entitled:

“You don’t break our spirits by breaking our bones”

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Decolonising teaching pedagogies – Convivial reflections

Introductory Note

The following conversation is a result of a collaborative project initiated by convivial thinkers.

The call for collaboration was shared via the group’s newsletter and through twitter channels of individual members. Through this approach we aimed to reach out to a group of collaborators as diverse as possible and beyond our established networks of scholars. We invited all to share thoughts and experiences and to collaborate on the questions highlighted below. As a result, the contributors, with exception of Aftab and Julia among each other, have neither met nor worked together previously. We did not know anything about each other’s backgrounds before engaging in the discussion, which may have blanked out positionality, yet led to productive ends.

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