by Julia Schöneberg
Before I share some observations on how I feel ‘decolonising’ is coopted in academia, I want to start by situating the position from which I am arguing. I am a white, well-educated, middle-class, able-bodied woman living in Germany and working in a Western university. Inevitably, my approach to decolonisation is shaped by this positionality. Also, when I talk of ‘we’, I think of people holding similar privileges like myself, living and working in similar spaces, especially in institutions of Higher Education (HE) in the global North.
Continue reading “Decolonisation on a T-shirt : On cooptation and academic careers”
It is difficult to find words of solidarity that do not sound shallow and are not a mere lip service to express our horror and empathy at the suffering of the Ukrainian people in face of Russian invasion. For some practical suggestions on showing solidarity we would like to point you to Olga Burluyk’s list here.
At the same time as we sit glued to TV and smart phone screens to follow news from Ukraine, we are also reminded not only of the fragility of peace but of the erasure of a wide range of ongoing conflicts that are sadly so much a part of ‘normality’, rather than the exception to our collective existence, that they don’t even make it to the news headlines.
Continue reading “On Ukraine”
by Arudra Burra
I teach philosophy at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi. My teaching reflects my training, which is in the Western philosophical tradition: I teach PhD seminars on Plato and Rawls, while Bentham and Mill often figure in my undergraduate courses.
What does it mean to teach these canonical figures of the Western philosophical tradition to students in India? I have often asked myself this question. Similar questions are now being asked by philosophers situated in the West: Anglophone philosophy, at least in the analytic tradition, seems to have arrived at a late moment of post-colonial reckoning.
Continue reading “The Lamps in our House: Reflections on Postcolonial Pedagogy”
by Ompha Tshikhudo Malima
The History of Philosophy: An Injustice to Africa
The practice of philosophy cannot be done with innocence and ignorance while true history and reality shows that “the blurred and dotted picture of the history of Western philosophy is a deformation of the African identity.” This was done through denying humanity and thus philosophy to the African. The use of the Cartesian maxim cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) resonates with what Mogobe Ramose problematized as the abuse of the Aristotelian maxim “man is a rational animal.” The false logic then goes, because the African cannot think, s/he is thus not human. Subairi Nasseem argues that the link between epistemology (the study of knowledge) and ontology (the study of the nature of being) leads to the same thing, and this is why I use the Cartesian and Aristotelian maxims. Emevwo Biakolo categorized these colonial attitudes and plots into “cross-cultural cognition of the African condition” and concluded that they serve no purpose in understanding African philosophy and their purpose is only to derail the discipline. Western philosophy created an imaginary centre which marginalizes other philosophical traditions such as Asian, African and Eastern philosophies. It was founded on “scientific and spiritual racism” which was perpetuated by famous thinkers such as Immanuel Kant and Georg Hegel. This historical injustice to (African) philosophy lacks valid reasoning and should not have a place in Africa. According to Dennis Masaka, the problem of philosophical racism is attributed to, and located “within the context of Western cultural imperialism, which has historically tended to take its own testimony as having transcultural relevance and application” while falsifying the idea of an epistemic centre. A historical injustice was committed by the failure of philosophy in not “understanding different realities differently.”
Continue reading “The Case for Inter-Philosophical Dialogue: An African Philosophical Perspective”
An Interview with Sayan Dey
by Hadje Cresencio Sadje
Background: Since the global outbreak of COVID-19 on December 2019, there have been 271.963.258 confirmed cases, including 5.331.019 deaths, reported to World Health Organisation (WHO, 2021). To address the ongoing challenges of the global pandemic, various governments and non-governmental organisations agreed to continue and strengthen cooperation to address the devastating ripple effects of the COVID-19 (Amaya, 2021). Despite these efforts, the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic have posed unprecedented challenges, especially to the poorest, most vulnerable, and marginalized groups. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected racial, ethnic minority, and marginalized groups (Tai et. Al, 2020). According to recent studies, the poorest, most vulnerable, and marginalized groups are left far behind (IFRC, 2021; Economic Policy Institute, 2020).
Continue reading “Decolonial Praxis, Education and COVID-19: Perspectives from India”
by A.B. Godfreed
put this trite piece
let it loose to go
where you are
Continue reading “Makoma Asεm (Affairs of the Heart)”
by Franca Marquardt
Meeting the Zapatistas
“We have given you the seeds of rebellion against colonialism and capitalism” – this is what the group of Zapatistas that visited us here in Leipzig announced on our last night together. I am still processing this important moment, one that now seems like a dream. But it was quite the opposite, something very real: a coming-together of worlds for the prospect of a global solidarity. The Zapatistas and their resistance against colonial capitalism have been an inspiration to me and to many fellow students and activists. I have never been to Chiapas or studied their political organisation in depth. But when I heard about this “journey for life” and the Zapatistas’ plan to travel to Europe and meet local movements, I was intrigued. As an anthropology student and social activist, I am constantly confronted with the impasse we face in our actions and reflections that are still contained within a limited, Eurocentric framework. Ultimately, a just transition cannot be advanced unless we take into account all voices and perspectives and form alliances between actors across the world. The journey of the Zapatistas, I thought, could be a chance to put these ideas into practice while dealing with socio-ecological issues in a way that considers local fights in a global context and provides the global movement with the most important tool: hope.
Continue reading “The Zapatistas’ “Journey for Life” and its Implications for a Global Solidarity”
by Maleeha Sattar
LIKE ANY OTHER language.
It is not a mere language.
It is the language of my former masters
Still used and cherished by my new rulers.
And I am an insufficiently Englishised subject of my English Sarkar1
Here, I am rendered powerless everyday as a ‘postcolonial being’ unfit ‘to carry colonial baggage’2
Continue reading “LIKE ANY OTHER language”
by Aram Ziai
The endeavour of ‘decolonising’ is very much on vogue (not only, but also) in recent discussions and debates in academia and Higher Education. But what does this claim practically and tangibly entail for academia generally and development research and development studies specifically? In this blog, I want to briefly outline what I see as eurocentric or even colonial structures in development studies in terms of its knowledge basis and its knowledge production before pointing to possible ways of decolonising development research.
Continue reading “Decolonising Development Research: Why it is urgently needed and what steps must be taken”
by Lisa-Marlen Gronemeier
This contribution is situated within the beginning of my un-learning the single feminist story and its underlying violence, which constitute whiteness in German universities’ gender studies departments. I argue that the dominant knowledge politics enforces and normalizes white feminists’ epistemic privilege as well as practices that are “considered ‘unmarked’ – yet unmarked only if viewed from the perspective of normative whiteness”. As white feminists, ‘our’ epistemic privilege is reproduced through specific knowledge politics that has as a referent white, middle-class, cis-female herstory and experience. Insisting on ‘gender’ as isolated meta-category, this politics upholds patriarchy as a universal and transhistorical phenomenon, whilst trivializing the enmeshment of power relations resulting from (neo)colonialism and racial capitalism. Disconnected from ‘other’ (her)stories of struggle, ‘our’ story is not only produced as normative; white feminists are also authorized as ‘natural’ inhabitant of gender studies departments, with the prerogative of speaking for, on behalf, and instead of ‘others’. Thereby, knowledge politics re-produces violence against knowledge holders and knowledges beyond white feminisms’ genealogy. As Audre Lorde diagnosed long ago, white feminists’ self-centeredness and ignorance signify that “only the most narrow parameters of change are possible and allowable”.
Continue reading “On feminist entanglements and white politics of knowledge”