Encounters of Creolizing Conviviality in a Context of Critical Diversity Awareness
by Sarah Van Ruyskensvelde and Mieke Berghmans*
From periphery to center: Belgium’s decolonization debate
Over the last decades, the Belgian public has, on many occasions, been confronted with the problematic nature of its colonial past. A secretive activist organization for instance cut of the hand of a King Leopold II monument in Ostend. Media regularly covered the works of a commission of inquiry that investigated the murder on Patrice Lumumba. The debates on Saint Nicholas and Black Pete – a holiday tradition in which Saint Nicholas’ helper is depicted as a blackface stereotype- flew over from the Netherlands to the Belgian public every year, and so on. These events appeared on and disappeared from the media scene and contributed to some public debate about (the effects of) the Belgian colonial period. These discussions however remained at the periphery of the public debate. They touched upon matters that were controversial and contested, but only concerned a specific historical event, a specific institution, or a specific cultural phenomenon and as such did not require a general moral response.
Continue reading “POLYLOGUES AT THE INTERSECTION(S) SERIES: In Pursuit of Decolonization in Belgium”
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”
As you know we, as Convivial Thinkers, are continously exploring new formats of learning and engagaging with knowledges and especially with communities of knowledge. For that reason, we are extremely happy to host and feature Parinita Shetty and her work by way of text (- this transcript ) and audio (-the podcast conversation between Parinita Shetty, Sayan Dey and Lata Narayanaswamy). When she is not guest podcasting for us, Parinita is exploring how fan podcasts act as sites of public pedagogy by providing a social learning context in informal digital spaces. With her project Marginally Fannish she takes an intersectional lens at online fandom.
In their conversation, Parinita, Sayan and Lata exchange about how collaboratively engaging with knowledge and activism with a wide range of people both within and outside institutionalised academic spaces is crucial. The world we inhabit offers us several different learning opportunities. However, academic structures frequently end up valuing a limited kind of expertise.
Whose cultures, languages, and experiences are considered the default? What kind of knowledge matters? How do you seek alternative communities of knowledge beyond the restrictions of the structure you work in?
Continue reading “How do we learn? Engaging with communities of knowledge and culture beyond academic spaces”
by Héctor López Terán
The SARS Cov-2 virus pandemic emerges from the multidimensional crisis resulting from our daily destructive behavior with nature, not as a cause of the setbacks in our current society. Control measures to curb the spread of the virus were proposed to solve a life-threatening problem and a “new normal” without questioning the underlying problem.
Continue reading “Conviviality for a new normality”
…from my place in and beyond Extinction Rebellion Netherlands
by Fleur Zantvoort
The past months I’ve spent so much time, too much time, sitting inside, looking outside. What the pandemic is leaving me with is a sense of deep discrepancy. I just haven’t been able to match up the view from my window with what I know reality to be in my head. As if my eyes were deceiving me.
Continue reading “[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Caring for earth in times of COVID-19”
by Daimys E. García
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.
Continue reading “[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Mi Vida”
by Ashish Kothari
Can you imagine Dalit women farmers in Telangana, once facing hunger and deprivation, contributing 20,000 kgs of foodgrains for COVID19-related relief? Farmers on the Tamil Nadu – Karnataka border continuing to send organic food to Bengaluru consumers even during the lockdown? Villages in Kachchh and Tamil Nadu handling anti-COVID19 health measures, with minimal outside help? And adivasis (indigenous people) in central India with community funds able to take care of migrant workers who have had to come back to their villages?
Continue reading “[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] What does self-reliance really mean? Amazing stories from India’s margins”
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.
Continue reading “News from the Convivial Thinking Writing Collective: Engagements with the (de)coloniality of development research and teaching”
The Barricade is a volunteer-run collective inspired by raccoons and anarchism, active as a public library and an anti-foodwaste kitchen. Our* library has a variety of radical left wing books and zines that can be loaned for free. We believe that self-education is a crucial element in the struggle for social change and therefore we aim to provide a space for collective learning. We organize discussions, reading groups and workshops that are free and open to anyone interested. Our vegan dinners are for donation and made out of what would have been otherwise trash. By fighting foodwaste we make it possible for people to eat a decent meal without having to pay a fortune.
* The I of this story is actually a we, collecting the experiences of more people part of The Barricade collective.
Continue reading “[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Between solidarity and charity: a dialogue from the kitchen”
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.
Continue reading “[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Eating my Food Politics; Reflections During COVID-19”