[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Mi Vida

by Daimys E. García

Mi Vida,

Writing does not come easily to me; writing during this time has been especially excruciating. A close friend once described me and my process as a ‘mortar and pestle.’ A grinding effort that may produce beautiful results, but does so only through a series of meticulous, painful, relentless breakings apart. ‘It would be easier,’ he explained, ‘if you just channeled a food processor instead—dump all the ingredients and out it comes: same results, a lot less suffering.’ At first defensive and annoyed by the description, I now hold a deep tenderness for it. The way of the food processor removes all of the knowledge-building. This labored process I learned in the kitchen with my grandmother who still, at 90 years old, uses a mortar and pestle to grind garlic. Through it, she taught me how to feel food, taught me how to smell for readiness, taught me patience and rhythm through pain. I think of how her grandmother taught her how to tolerate that pain for the knowledge it brings, and I take comfort in that ancestry.

And so… I write to you bleeding: this labor an expression of pain and tenderness.

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[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Relinking as healing: Ruminations on crises and the radical transformation of an antisocial and antirelational world

by Julia Suárez-Krabbe 

Relinking

My dear friend, mentor and guide among the spiritual authorities of the four peoples that inhabit Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia (from now on: Mamos), Saúl Martínez, once told me that he was sometimes asked if he was religious, and that his answer was yes – in the etymological sense of the word: re-ligare (Latin), re-link. And Saúl also emphasized that it is important that I relink in/to Denmark too, inasmuch my roots lie here as much as they lie in Colombia. This re-linking with the Mother as we have used it with Saul not only complements Walter Mignolo’s notion of delinking from modernity-coloniality,[i] it also involves a movement into decolonial healing. Indeed, while delinking is an important move, it appears incomplete if it is not accompanied by relinking, a continued practice of deep reconnection. As we will see, relinking is crucial to these reflections.

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News from the Convivial Thinking Writing Collective: Engagements with the (de)coloniality of development research and teaching

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.

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[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Eating my Food Politics; Reflections During COVID-19

by Rosa de Nooijer

Image 1 – Quince by Paul de Nooijer

My ways of eating have become fundamental to the way I want to be in the world. Food has always played an important role in my life, as we need food to stay alive, but it also connects us to those around us, whether that is when we are growing food, eating food or when we are caring for the earth and the other-than-humans on and in it. However, over the past years, I have come to understand that much of the food we buy and eat is produced in agricultural landscapes that are highly industrialized and mechanized. Not just that, but the bigger food systems, of which the growing of crops is only a small part, are de-humanizing and exploiting workers all over the world to ‘please the needs of consumers’ and destroying bio-cultural diversities to sustain capitalism and other oppressive systems. Also, the inequalities that are reproduced in these food systems result in the majority of the world population relying on cheap and unhealthy food, which increases their risks to a variety of diseases, one of which is COVID-19 which has been linked to different food-related diseases, for example diabetes, obesity and malnourishment.

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The ‘Naked’ Researcher

by Jeevika Vivekananthan

Vankkam. Wominjeka.

I am a Tamil diaspora woman living on the land of Wurundjeri people. I acknowledge the elders past, present and emerging for their wisdom and the resistance against all forms of oppression. Even though I come from a war-and-conflict-affected Tamil community in the North of Sri Lanka, I acknowledge my positionality as someone exposed to both the Global South and the Global North, using North and South labels in a metaphorical distinction to denote an entire history of colonialism, neo-imperialism and geopolitics. I am not an academic nor an expert. As a toddler researcher, I recently presented a reflection piece at a conference hosted by the Development Studies Association of Australia in Melbourne, reflecting on my journey from a student researcher to a researcher. This is the written script of my presentation, slightly modified for the purpose of publication at Convivial Thinking, encouraging the readers to contest and reflect on the concept/ practice- the ‘naked’ researcher.

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Torpor and Awakening

by Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti

I am from a family with Indigenous Latin American and German ancestry. I have been to many different countries and lived in different places. I believe this is partly because the Indigenous tradition my family comes from is nomadic. They see the earth as a living entity, and if they stay in one place they believe the land gets sick. They travel to where their ancestors send them, and this and other important messages are conveyed through their dreams. I married into a Cree and Blackfoot family where ceremonies are performed with the Blackfoot in Alberta. My son also married into a Maori whanau (family) in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

This inter-weaving of bloodlines gives me a perspective of many different Indigenous communities. I am no expert in any of them, and I do not speak for any of them. I also find it difficult to pinpoint only one place where I “come from.” In part, this is because I believe that the earth is alive and upset about fences and divisions. It is also because the tradition of being always on the road, crossing many different types of borders means one has to feel the pathway itself as a place too: one that enables you to see different patterns, different connections, as well as many similarities, and that offers a different kind of contribution to the whole. From this place, I would like to offer a story that speaks to the crossroads and the in-betweens.

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