Decolonization: not just a buzzword…

by Budd L Hall

This is the name of a ‘headphone verbatim show’ capturing campus conversations at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.  It will be the third interaction with discourses of decolonisation and epistemic justice that I will have within two weeks. The first interaction was with Florence Piron, a scholar of epistemic justice at Laval University.  I spent three days with her and her colleagues in Quebec City, Quebec. She shared with me the special issue of the journal Sociologie et Societes on epistemic injustice edited by Baptise Godrie and Marie Dos Santos of the University of Montreal. In that journal she shares an article, Haitian Meditation where she recounts a visit to Haiti to teach about epistemic justice (2017). She reminds us of the words of Frantz Fanon written in 1992, speaking about the dominance of European thought in the colonial world, “my friends, the European game is definitely over…if we want to see humanity advance, for Africa and for the world, we need to invent and discover a new way of thinking”.

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[How Do We Know the World Series] Part IV: What are the limits of identity and positionality in the decolonisation debate?

by Grace Ese-osa Idahosa

This short piece addresses the issue of the limiting role of identity and positionality on the extent of individuals’ contribution to the decolonisation process in institutions. Focusing on universities in South Africa (SA), it interrogates the role of identity and social positions in the decolonisation and knowledge production process. It asks to what extent factors like race, class, gender and sexuality affect an individual’s commitment and contributions to the decolonisation process?

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[How Do We “Know” the World Series] Part III: Looking Back to Walk Forward: Decolonisation as Self-Determination

by Vanessa Bradbury

Aotearoa, the long white cloud. A vast country secluded by ocean; a depth of ecological beauty with rolling hills of green, empowering mountains that cut through soft white clouds; rivers, lakes and oceans that flow with the crisp, clean air; sunsets that radiate the surroundings with a peachy gentleness; long roads and vast land; a silence that fills the void with reflection.

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[How Do We “Know” the World Series] Part II: Why does the question matter? – Reflections from the Workshop

by Lata Narayanaswamy and Julia Schöneberg

In our one-day workshop we aimed to overcome academic “silos” and connect scholars from diverse fields in the social and natural sciences. Surprisingly, or probably not so, we quickly realized that struggles, discomforts and contestations were very similar among us regardless of whether our discipline is Peace Studies, Agro-Forestry, History, International Relations, Development or Political Studies or Educational Sciences. The true challenge for our workshop was to reflect not only on how we “know” the world, but also why this question matters and what are the implications for us as teachers, researchers and practitioners, committed to challenging entrenched power imbalances or fighting for social justice.

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The Decolonial ‘Wrong Turn’ in Indian Academia

by Sayan Dey

With the arrival of the postcolonial era in India, the nation faced the gargantuan task of wiping out the toxic remnants of colonization that the British dumped on the indigenous natives before leaving India. The colonially structured education system was one of them. In the year 1835, Thomas Babington Macaulay’s ‘sincere’ efforts to revive literature in India and promote the knowledge of sciences among the inhabitants have borne innumerable fruits in the post-independent era through hierarchizing and diminishing several socio-cultural components of indigenous epistemologies – languages, dialects, cosmic beliefs, religious practices, mythologies, education systems, etc.

How has the academic system in postcolonial India made efforts to dismantle the colonial frameworks of knowledge production?  And how have they failed in the process?

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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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Multi-layered Selves: Colonialism, Decolonization and Counter-Intuitive Learning Spaces

Republished from artseverywhere | musagetes  by Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti

As I wondered about the best way to write this text, two related events caught my attention. First, I received a call for publications with the title “After De-colonizing…What?” issued after an extremely productive (albeit difficult) 2015 gathering in Portugal on the theme of ‘Eco-versities’. In the same week, in a different context, I was gifted a wooden USB stick with the word ‘decolonized’ hand stamped on it. Both events attest to the fact that the word decolonization is becoming a popular way to describe changes people want to see in society.

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