[How do we “know” the World Series] Part XIV: Critical Perspectives on Partnerships: Who Learns from Whom?

by Nora Schröder und Michaela Zöhrer

We are increasingly confronted with the imperatives of partnership and relationships at eye level. Such normative claims are needed precisely because equality and symmetrical relationships are not a fact but rather a promise. We need them as a moral compass which indicates variations from the norm in order to fight for more equality and justice alike. However, in collective processes of knowledge production like research or teaching differences and asymmetries are key. We state that they are not only constitutive but can also be turned into learning potentials.

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[How Do We “Know” The World Series] Part XIII: The Problem of Postcolonial Historical Research within Colonial Epistemologies and Methodologies

by Rachel Huber

In postcolonial historical research conducted from a Eurocentric perspective, a contradiction has prevailed so far: the majority of research projects are conducted in colonial language and follow partial colonial logic.

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[How Do We “know” the World Series] Part XII: Reciprocity as Research Ethics

by Christopher Millora

As a novice researcher, I once found solace in Robert Stake’s simple framing of qualitative researchers as “guests in the private spaces in the world”[i]. Back when I was an aspiring ethnographer, my quest to ‘knowing the world’ depended, quite significantly, on my participants having allowed me to enter their lifeworlds where they hold context-specific expertise. Thinking of my fieldwork this way fuelled my curiosity in capturing these understandings which, I found, could be facilitated by a collaborative research relationship.

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[How Do We “Know” The World Series] Part XI: To what extent does a colonial present pervade Higher Education and serve to reproduce structural hierarchies?

by Su-ming Khoo and  Paul Prinsloo

How does the concept and pursuit of ‘quality’ in Higer Education (HE) bind to, or unbind HE from, stubborn inequalities? To what extent does a colonial present pervade HE and serve to reproduce structural hierarchies? We believe that it is essential to examine historical-structural roots of inequities and understand how these bound and bind HE values, identities and approaches to generating ‘expert’ knowledge. This process is crucial if we are to make it possible for HE to become sustainable in the sense of social and ecological survivability and justice, rather than resigning ourselves to a HE that sacrifices both in the name of economic expansion and competitiveness.

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[How Do We “Know” the World Series] Part X: Shifting from Research-led Teaching to Liberal Arts Education – Some Critical Reflections from a Non-white Academic Scholar

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.

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[How Do We “Know” the World Series] Part IX: About International “Experts” – Critical Thinking and an Inferiority Complex

by Janita Bartell

The following are reflections on my 3.5 years of working as a Research and Learning Manager for a local Cambodian NGO. I do not wish to reveal names of people, organizations or sectors in this essay as I believe these details might distract from the underlying pattern across most people, organizations and sectors.

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[How Do We Know the World Series] Part VIII: The Power of Agency: Bringing Back Subjects’ Agency in Academia and Activism

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.

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[How Do We Know The World Series] Part VII: Knowing The World? Navigating Asymmetries of Power through a Politics and Praxis of Care

by Siti Maimunah and Enid Still

“How do we know the world?” It is a difficult and multi-layered question. Yet it enticed us, two colleagues, women from the global north and south respectively, to collaborate and reflect upon our journeys as researchers, activists and now as fellow PhD students. Reflection upon our experiences, Enid as a researcher in India and Mai as an activist in Indonesia, brought together very particular understandings of the intimate power relations between the participant and researcher – how power manifests, how it is inscribed upon our bodies, and how people resist or attempt to counteract power in different ways. Continue reading “[How Do We Know The World Series] Part VII: Knowing The World? Navigating Asymmetries of Power through a Politics and Praxis of Care”

[How Do We Know The World Series] Part VI: Thinking with and not about the Global South – Challenging Eurocentrism in Social Science Research and Teaching

by Sebastian M. Garbe

As a result of political and intellectual efforts, post- and decolonial critiques have become more and more prominent during the last decades, but to counter Eurocentrism within the Social Sciences is still a big challenge. In this contribution, I would like to share some attempts of how I have been dealing with this challenge in my own research and teaching. Both experiences share the idea to decentralize and decolonize the own local context (the city of Giessen on the one, and the European solidarity movement, on the other hand) by confronting it with the history and present of (post)colonial entanglement as well as “epistemologies of the South” (Sousa Santos 2009).

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[How Do We Know The World Series] Part V: To Reform or not to – The crescendo of decoloniality within Higher Learning Institutions in Africa

by Gift Mwonzora

There has emerged a growing chorus for a need to decolonize the African higher education system. This chorus for reform has been widely pronounced within the Global South, especially in African countries. Countries that have witnessed the crescendo of such demands include South Africa, but others are also beginning to reconsider such within this growing wave of decoloniality. Notwithstanding the fact that there have been many strides in the higher education literature and in African studies scholarship to tackle issues of decoloniality, through calls for reforms for the curricula and syllabus, it remains poorly understood why academe should be decolonized. Hence, intense debates and polarity on the discourse of decoloniality have emerged, revealing silences that underpin how we ‘know’ the world.
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