Killing in the name of…

by Aram Ziai

Throughout human history, human beings have been killed with various legitimations: in the name of religion, in the name of nationalism, in the name of justice and freedom. Whatever the legitimation, it boils down to taking lives of others and feeling justified in doing that. After the deadly attacks of Hamas on unarmed Israeli civilians, a number of people subscribing to postcolonial and decolonial perspectives have been appreciating the violence, calling it “a war of liberation” or claiming “This is what decolonization means”. All the while, the mainstream media seem united in describing it as terrorism and in proving once more that some victims of the conflict in Israel and Palestine are more equal than others. So who is right?

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POLYLOGUES AT THE INTERSECTION(S) SERIES: The Construction of Tribal Identity in India

by Vrishali

A tribe in India is an administrative concept. The tribal identity plays an important part in the claims of around 84 million people in India. ‘Tribe’ as a category historically emerged in the colonial period and was used to describe the communities who did not form a apart of the so-called mainstream Hindu caste society and lived in remote, isolated and forested areas with difficult terrain. The tribal identity plays a crucial role in tribal socio-political movements in different parts of India by consolidating and mobilizing people. Organisations representing these communities unite as adivasis (‘first people’) and claim that they are ‘indigenous’ to India.[1]

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POLYLOGUES AT THE INTERSECTION(S) SERIES: Michel Tremblay and Tomson Highway: Decolonizing Dialects and Languages

by Shannon King


This paper argues that the plays Les Belles-Soeurs and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing tackle the classism associated with languages, and particularly regional dialects of Canada. The plot of Les Belles-Soeurs is about a housewife who wins a large prize of stamps that can be exchanged for products at certain stores if they are glued into booklets. The housewife Germaine invites the women in her neighbourhood to a get-together where they sit and glue stamps while they chat. Germaine’s neighbours were not fond of doing free labour and stole some stamps for themselves. Dry Lips is about a group of men from a First Nations reservation in Ontario protesting a local women’s hockey league and trying to find their place on the reservation. The plot’s momentum comes from Dickie Bird Halked: an Indigenous young man with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and mutism who commits a violent sexual assault on a woman. When the victim’s fiancé comes to confront Dickie Bird with a gun, Dickie Bird’s father who had been absent his entire life suddenly decides to protect him. These plays are commentary that attempts to decolonize Canadian language, while satirizing, entertaining and giving a sense of self to the country.

This paper will be analyzing the language of marginalized groups versus the hegemonic western European Canada.

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POLYLOGUES AT THE INTERSECTION(S) SERIES: In Pursuit of Decolonization in Belgium

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.

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POLYLOGUES AT THE INTERSECTION(S) SERIES: (Re)imagining a ‘Good Life’ as a Settler Scholar: How Can We Decolonize and Indigenize European Studies through Indigenous Storywork?

by Markus Hallensleben

Being aware that colonization is still ongoing, with my very own presence as a white, privileged settler on the Indigenous lands of the Coast Salish people[1] perpetuating the problem, I have begun to reframe my own teaching and research in literary and cultural studies by decentering discourses of Eurocentric identity and diversity politics. What might be more fruitful instead of taking decolonialization just as a metaphor (Tuck/Yang 2012) within a solely academic social justice approach (Pluckrose/Lindsay 2020), could be an interactive and relational method of knowledge sharing (Baldy 2015; Christensen et al. 2018; Ladner 2018; Smith/Thorson 2019; Watchman et al. 2019) that aims to create an allyship built on reciprocal, responsible, relevant and respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples, their stories and their lands (Kirkness/Barnhardt 1991). Rather than reiterating Eurocentric notions of artwork, authorship, culture, education, text, literature, media, theatre, society and politics, I am looking at Indigenous “Storywork” (Archibald 2008; Archibald et al. 2019) as a collaborative narrative approach to decolonizing knowledge transfer within European Studies.

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To crash or not to crash the canon? Seeking to address coloniality in a one-year social science programme in Norway

by Maren Seehawer

The decolonising academia movement came to Norway not in form of student protests, but as a – pretty heated – feuilleton debate between academics. During summer 2018, there was strong disagreement between those for whom the inclusion of multiple voices violates the principle of professionalism and is contrary to the whole idea of ​​academia and those who argue that decolonisation, will bring about more complex and nuanced perspectives about the world and thereby, in fact, lead to more robust knowledge generation. Last year, I was asked by a colleague to teach two classes on this debate in one of my institution’s social science bachelor programmes. As part of my classes, the students discussed whether and, if so, how, coloniality found expression in the courses they attended. From this exercise, it was a short way to reflecting on, and introducing some first tentative changes to, the courses which I am responsible for myself.

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Decolonisation on a T-shirt : On cooptation and academic careers

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.

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The Case for Inter-Philosophical Dialogue: An African Philosophical Perspective

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.”

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Decolonial Praxis, Education and COVID-19: Perspectives from India

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).

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