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.
Continue reading “News from the Convivial Thinking Writing Collective: Engagements with the (de)coloniality of development research and teaching”
by Adrian Schlegel
The COVID-19 pandemic, its political responses as well as their devastating social consequences have left me unsettled and weary. As for many students, this moment of total uncertainty has pushed my heart off a cliff while tying my head to the desk attempting to focus on classwork. Continue reading “Re-enchanting Education Beyond the Crisis: On Care in Knowledge Re-Creation”
by Romina Istratii
Recently, I participated in a panel that was convened at LSE dedicated to the topic of decolonising African knowledge systems. The panel members, who included also Prof Akosua Adomako Ampofo from the University of Ghana and Dr Wangui wa Goro, were invited to trace the progress made to-date in decolonising Africa’s knowledge systems and to explore how these systems may be rethought, re-framed and reconstructed to rid them of the hegemony of western Euro-centrism. I’d like to share some of the key points of my presentation with the network of Convivial Thinking to call for a more organised effort toward decentring the current epistemology.
Continue reading “The LONG READ on DECOLONISING KNOWLEDGE: How western Euro-centrism is systemically preserved and what we can do to subvert it”
by Budd Hall and Rajesh Tandon
The words in the title of this blog are the formal goals of the Dayalbagh Educational Institute, a university founded by followers of the Radhaswami faith in the early 20th Century. We learned about the unique and inspiring work of the Dayalbagh University from Dr. Anand Mohan, the Registrar as part of this presentation during a two-day symposium on the implications of Ghandian thought to the issues facing Higher Education Institutions in the first quarter of the 21st Century. The symposium was jointly organized and hosted by the UNESCO Chair for Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education in cooperation with the Association of Indian Universities, UNESCO New Delhi and the Asian Office of the International Development Research Centre September 18-20, 2019.
Continue reading “Reaching the least, the last, the lowest and the lost: Thoughts on Gandhi-ji and the spirit of Higher Education”
by Lata Narayanaswamy
Through the ‘colonial encounter’, existing power relations and imbalances have been shaped in ways that are geographically and temporally uneven yet politically enduring. Unsettling these tendencies through a more critical reflection on how the colonial encounter underpins these perceptions is key to the application of the ‘decolonial’ lens. Calls to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum are getting louder, and rightly so. Whilst this is a start, it does not, in my view, go far enough. There is a need, I would argue, for us to turn the decolonial lens onto the institutional structures and processes that shape the function and delivery of research and teaching in Higher Education (HE).
Continue reading “Why it is time to turn the decolonial lens onto the institutional structures of Higher Education”
by Witold Mucha and Christina Pesch
Knowledge (re-)production, especially in the field of the social sciences, is a social process of discourse and debate, of speech and response. However, 500 years of (Western) colonial expansion have made a lasting impact. Today’s debate is both epistemically and ontologically shaped by Anglo-American and European perspectives (Ndlovu-Gatshenis 2018; Spivak 2004; Ziai 2015). Though, concepts of epistemic violence and injustice relate existing (power) asymmetries in knowledge (re-)production not solely to prevailing (Western) perspectives, concepts, and terminologies but to blind spots where existing knowledge is ignored, neglected, or even destroyed (Brunner 2018; Mignolo 2009). This applies not only to what is categorised, constructed, and perceived as knowledge (thinking) but also to the distinct ways how knowledge is disseminated (talking).
Continue reading “[How do we “know” the World Series] Does the Co-Production of Knowledge Work? Experiences from a Cross-Site Teaching Project between the Universities of Pretoria and Düsseldorf”
by Victor Nweke
The call to decolonize institutions of learning both in terms of the composition of the curricula and the facilitators (teachers) is now an issue even in Europe, the United Kingdom, North-America, and Australia. Prior to the 21st century, the call was predominantly made by intellectuals and students from colonized nations, of which Africa is part. But, what is wrong with the foundations of education? What is sustaining it? Why is it difficult to undo? These questions can be and have been coughed and approached in different ways by different scholars. I choose to address them from my intersubjective experiences as a human being, an interconnected individual member of the Igbo nation, a citizen of a country known as Nigeria.
Continue reading “What is Wrong with the Foundations of Education in a Pluriverse? A Personal Account”
by Sam Wong
I divide my reflections into two parts: the first part focuses on my changing teaching styles from research-led teaching in the UK to liberal arts teaching in the Netherlands. The second part touches on the post-colonial dilemmas of my identities and research profiles.
Continue reading “[How Do We “Know” the World Series] Shifting from Research-led Teaching to Liberal Arts Education – Some Critical Reflections from a Non-white Academic Scholar”
++ Please read the Call also in Spanish, French, German. We thank Mariela Vargas and Rodrigue Naortangar for the translations. ++
Intercultural Philosophy has taken a global perspective from its start, it endeavoured “to interconnect contributions from all cultural traditions into philosophical discourses equally, this is to say, not just putting them aside each other in a comparative way, but rather bringing them into an open common space, so that all positions in this polylogue are kept open for change” (Mission Statement POLYLOG).
Continue reading “CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Intercultural Philosophy and Critical Development Theory in Dialogue”
by Sophie Bergmann
In the last few months a spectre appears to haunt Europe and its cultural institutions, namely museums and their artefacts – it is the spectre of postcolonialism.
The cultural and intellectual structures, that epistemically prepared and justified the occupation of the African continent and the exploitation of its economic and cultural wealth in the past, are now the same that ‘contextualise’ the looting of art during the 18th and 19th century in an attempt to legitimize and perpetuate the composition of Europe’s museums.
The impact of postcolonial thought and theory on power asymmetries will hopefully go beyond the contentual and epistemic orientation of exhibitions in Africa’s and Europe’s museums, and alter the systems of knowledge that have caused colonization, racialisation and discrimination.
Continue reading “[How Do We Know the World Series] The Power of Agency: Bringing Back Subjects’ Agency in Academia and Activism”