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]

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

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

by Shannon King

Introduction

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.

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

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.

Continue reading “POLYLOGUES AT THE INTERSECTION(S) SERIES: In Pursuit of Decolonization in Belgium”

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.

Continue reading “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?”

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.

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

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.

Continue reading “Decolonisation on a T-shirt : On cooptation and academic careers”

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.”

Continue reading “The Case for Inter-Philosophical Dialogue: An African Philosophical Perspective”

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).

Continue reading “Decolonial Praxis, Education and COVID-19: Perspectives from India”

The Zapatistas’ “Journey for Life” and its Implications for a Global Solidarity

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”

Decolonising Development Research: Why it is urgently needed and what steps must be taken

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”