LONG READ: An immanent critique of decolonisation projects

by Sunny Dhillon

The contemporary neoliberal university in the UK is necessarily unable to enact decolonisation. What the university may do, however, is cultivate an intellectual environment ripe to discuss the ongoing pervasiveness of colonialism. In other words, instead of ten point plans or toolkits to award ‘decoloniality’ scores to be highlighted in ‘inclusive’ marketing campaigns to attract historically underrepresented groups, staff and students ought to undertake a relentless critique of the contemporary university apparatus. Such a critique of existing social issues must be immanent, as opposed to transcendent. I argue that an immanent critique can be helpfully guided by the negative dialectics of the late Critical Theorist, Theodor W. Adorno.

Continue reading “LONG READ: An immanent critique of decolonisation projects”

On Coloniality/Decoloniality in Knowledge Production and Societies

by Henning Melber

Social organisations tend to be based on asymmetric power relations – almost always, almost everywhere. Inequality characterises interaction both inside and in between societies. Class-based hierarchies, peppered by gender imbalances, sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and many other forms of discrimination are the order of the day, both nationally as well as internationally. Colonial power structures and mindsets – understood as a hierarchical system imposing normative values which exclude and discriminate – remain almost always an integral part of any form of social reproduction, even when we believe that colonialism as a system in which foreign powers occupy and execute rule over other territories and people, is a matter of the past. Following such broad understanding, social reproduction tends to inherently maintain colonial structures, and individuals remain colonised subjects.

Continue reading “On Coloniality/Decoloniality in Knowledge Production and Societies”

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.

Continue reading “Living between two worlds”

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?

Continue reading “How do we learn? Engaging with communities of knowledge and culture beyond academic spaces”

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.

Continue reading “On the Colonial Problem in the EU’s ‘Sustainable’ Trade Agreements”

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).

Continue reading “From Decolonising the Self to Coming to Voice”

[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Our Bodies are not Machines: From Crisis to Collective Healing

by Paulina Trejo Mendez

I googled the word crisis looking for a definition, here are the first three that appeared.

The first one: a time of intense difficulty or danger.

The second one: a time when an important decision must be made.

The third one: The turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.

I write this from the comfort of my own home, in a world that tries to overcome a health crisis to go back… outside, to visit friends, family and be able to connect with others, to grieve collectively, to feel a hug. I write from the safety of my home, a privilege I enjoy because I could stay inside, and quarantine, not everyone was able to do that where I come from, in Mexico. Their realities would not allow it, and even when some can stay at home, home is not a safe place to be in for everyone. Violence can be deadly for women and girls confined with their abusers.

Continue reading “[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Our Bodies are not Machines: From Crisis to Collective Healing”

[COVID–19] (Re)configurations of violent knowledge management, epistemic inferiorization and neo-colonial divisions

by Sayan Dey

In the following, I will argue how COVID-19 is re-configuring the already existing neo-colonial patterns of knowledge production and management in India.

As the pandemic of COVID-19 is quarantining and rampaging each and every aspect of habitual existence across the globe, the global education system (especially higher educational institutions like colleges and universities) is experiencing a monumental shift by converting the physically structured classroom system into an online one.

Continue reading “[COVID–19] (Re)configurations of violent knowledge management, epistemic inferiorization and neo-colonial divisions”

Decoloniality and the Activist Intellectual

by Ompha Tshikhudo Malima

The most important questions in decolonial studies are: “what do we decolonise?” and “how do we decolonise?” Continue reading “Decoloniality and the Activist Intellectual”

ONLINE TALK: When Science is jumping off the stage: On the intersections of activism, theatre and scholarship

by Joschka Köck

A question that I have often asked myself as a researcher and theatre maker is: Can social science jump off the page and into reality? Can theatre jump off the stage and become/have impact on reality? In this webinar I will try to argue that this is not a yes/no question but rather we should ask: How can and do we have impact on reality as activist researchers/theatre makers?

Continue reading “ONLINE TALK: When Science is jumping off the stage: On the intersections of activism, theatre and scholarship”