Decolonial Reading Circle on C.K. Raju

Synopsis by Sayan Dey

Our discussion started with a brief recapitulation of our Ist Decolonial meet where we discussed one of the chapters from Frantz Fanon’s “The Wretched of the Earth.” We continued with our discussion by making a shift towards the arguments made by Prof. C.K. Raju in his works.
The discussion was powerfully initiated by Adam Short who commented on the ongoing practice of racial purity within the various systems of knowledge production across the globe (with a special focus on US) and what challenges it creates.
The discussion was well taken over by Anique Vered who put forward some very crucial questions that we should all think about: Who is an expert? How is one’s expertise ‘recognized’? What are possibilities of decentralizing, decolonizing and pluriversalizing collective intelligence?
After Anique’s reflection, Jose Bustillo, with very categorical examples from Dr. C.K. Raju’s text, pointed out the epistemological and ontological differences between the attitudes of decolonization in Global North and Global South. Jose argued that the process of decolonization in the Global North is more theory oriented whereas in Global South it is more focused on praxis. He also expressed his views on how Western science has always functioned as a colonial/dictatorial project.
Then, Prof. Su-Ming Khoo pushed our discussion into a wider argumentative framework: What are the parameters of analyzing the terms – disciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, inter-disciplinarity. Is transdisciplinarity a solution? Or we should think beyond these compartments and embrace multidisciplinarity? In support of her argument she said that in case of transdisciplinary practices we often experience the problems of reduction (reduction to one discipline, who decides the inclusion/exclusion of other disciplines within inter-disciplinary discourses), convergence (during which the colonially designated ‘other’ is deliberately kept outside the frame), emergence, etc. In this process the colonized ‘other’ continue to be remain ignored.
With some more arguments and counter-arguments the discussion was taken over by Sarah Penteado, who put forward the problem of visibility and invisibility of knowledges in the academia. Who decides what is authentic knowledge and inauthentic knowledge? What are the various ways in which these decisions are made?
And some of these questions quite naturally lead us to the conflict between corrosive identities and healing identities which was pointed out by Mihir Sharma. Altogether, we talked about the various possibilities of de-institutionalizing the academic discourse, preserving our respective socio-cultural identities and making it as de-hierarchical and as inclusive as possible.