Call for Participation: Critical academic perspectives on scholarship in the social sciences – How do we “know” the world?

In the last few years we have witnessed a ‘postcolonial turn’ in relation to questions about the historical bases for how we approach issues of knowledge (co-)production, expertise and representation and which have gained significant momentum in academic discussions. Whilst debates about ‘whose knowledge counts’ have and continue to rage in areas such as Development or Gender Studies (which in themselves are diverse academic fields rather than homogenous disciplines), questions about prevailing power and knowledge divides, represented by their respective ‘canons’, have only recently come to the fore in the wider social sciences. Disciplines such as International Relations, Cultural and Regional Studies and Politics are being challenged by movements such as ‘Why is my curriculum white?’ to confront rather than overlook colonial genealogies of contemporary politics, society and economy and thus acknowledge the way hegemonic discourses create only particular types of knowledge.

Our one-day workshop aims to bridge academic “silos” and connect scholars from diverse fields in the social sciences struggling with any, some or all of the following questions:

  • What does a truly transformative agenda on producing knowledge for a more just world look like?
  • How do we tackle epistemic asymmetries and practice alternative models of conducting
    • Research
    • Conceptualising teaching and
    • Building collaborations?
  • What are the liberations and/or limitations in our efforts to decolonise the curriculum? How do we address limitations in practice?
  • What are the roles of representation and identity within knowledge production, creation and/or sharing?
  • What are the implications of a culture and politics of expertise?

We invite contributions of 100-150 word abstracts from scholars working within and across disciplines in teaching, research and scholarship who are interested in sharing their own concerns and experiences of how they have approached both theoretical and practical challenges in tackling any or all of the questions above in their disciplinary field. We are keen to use this workshop opportunity to come up with some practical action points, guidance and feedback on ways forward in tackling these challenges. We are proposing to publish workshop proceedings both as documentation on the Working Group’s Website as well as an EADI working paper. Other options can be jointly developed further.

The call closes at midnight (GMT) on Tuesday, 27 November 2018. We will notify successful applicants as soon as possible after this date. We then ask successful applicants to prepare a blog-style reflection paper of 800-1000 words to be circulated 2 weeks prior to the workshop in order to maximise discussion and learning opportunities on the day.

We are keen to encourage a diversity of participants, and to this end we have a small fund to support travel costs for any applicants who might not be able to cover these costs.

We greatly appreciate the financial support of this event by the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes.

Date/Time: 17 January 2019

Venue: EADI, Kaiser-Friedrich-Str. 13, 53113 Bonn

For any questions, and for the submission of abstracts, please write to:

Lata Narayanaswamy (University of Leeds)

Julia Schöneberg (University of Kassel)

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