By Marketta Vuola and Aina Brias Guinart
“How do we lift the words on a page that describe how we ought to conduct ourselves, to connect more directly with the intention of those ethical principles and practices in concrete, meaningful ways?”. Bannister (2018)
As PhD students in the early phase of our academic careers we are struggling to address this type of questions in our research projects. Seeking guidance we are reading formal codes of ethics such as the Code of Ethics of the International Society of Ethnobiology. Much has been written on this area particularly on the application of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (e.g. Medinaceli 2018). Even so, ethical research is much more than a set of rules and codes, and it not restricted to specific practices such as consent forms (Wilmé, at al., 2016). We believe that, if we aim to do research that truly breaks the colonial power dynamics, we need to do it from the earliest steps of the research process. We should carefully consider the power structures that we are producing and reproducing in the decisions we make about our approach, research questions and methods.
Continue reading “Dealing with discomfort: how to move from theory to action in research ethics?”
by Sayan Dey
As the physically visible empires of colonialism receded, the metaphysical, invisible empires of coloniality gradually came to the forefront and ideally replaced their predecessors. With the ‘official’ end of colonialism by the end of 20th century, across the Global South and Far East, the colonial subjects (mis)interpreted it as the ultimate end of Euro-centric (or widely West-centric) dominations and the appropriate moment for recuperating their degenerated systems of traditional knowledge production.
Continue reading “Voicing Decoloniality”
by Rachel Huber
In postcolonial historical research conducted from a Eurocentric perspective, a contradiction has prevailed so far: the majority of research projects are conducted in colonial language and follow partial colonial logic.
Continue reading “[How Do We “Know” The World Series] The Problem of Postcolonial Historical Research within Colonial Epistemologies and Methodologies”
by Budd L Hall
This is the name of a ‘headphone verbatim show’ capturing campus conversations at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. It will be the third interaction with discourses of decolonisation and epistemic justice that I will have within two weeks. The first interaction was with Florence Piron, a scholar of epistemic justice at Laval University. I spent three days with her and her colleagues in Quebec City, Quebec. She shared with me the special issue of the journal Sociologie et Societes on epistemic injustice edited by Baptise Godrie and Marie Dos Santos of the University of Montreal. In that journal she shares an article, Haitian Meditation where she recounts a visit to Haiti to teach about epistemic justice (2017). She reminds us of the words of Frantz Fanon written in 1992, speaking about the dominance of European thought in the colonial world, “my friends, the European game is definitely over…if we want to see humanity advance, for Africa and for the world, we need to invent and discover a new way of thinking”.
Continue reading “Decolonization: not just a buzzword…”
by Grace Ese-osa Idahosa
This short piece addresses the issue of the limiting role of identity and positionality on the extent of individuals’ contribution to the decolonisation process in institutions. Focusing on universities in South Africa (SA), it interrogates the role of identity and social positions in the decolonisation and knowledge production process. It asks to what extent factors like race, class, gender and sexuality affect an individual’s commitment and contributions to the decolonisation process?
Continue reading “[How Do We Know the World Series] What are the limits of identity and positionality in the decolonisation debate?”
by Vanessa Bradbury
Aotearoa, the long white cloud. A vast country secluded by ocean; a depth of ecological beauty with rolling hills of green, empowering mountains that cut through soft white clouds; rivers, lakes and oceans that flow with the crisp, clean air; sunsets that radiate the surroundings with a peachy gentleness; long roads and vast land; a silence that fills the void with reflection.
Continue reading “[How Do We “Know” the World Series] Looking Back to Walk Forward: Decolonisation as Self-Determination”
by Lata Narayanaswamy and Julia Schöneberg
In our one-day workshop we aimed to overcome academic “silos” and connect scholars from diverse fields in the social and natural sciences. Surprisingly, or probably not so, we quickly realized that struggles, discomforts and contestations were very similar among us regardless of whether our discipline is Peace Studies, Agro-Forestry, History, International Relations, Development or Political Studies or Educational Sciences. The true challenge for our workshop was to reflect not only on how we “know” the world, but also why this question matters and what are the implications for us as teachers, researchers and practitioners, committed to challenging entrenched power imbalances or fighting for social justice.
Continue reading “[How Do We “Know” the World Series] Why does the question matter? – Reflections from the Workshop”
by Sayan Dey
With the arrival of the postcolonial era in India, the nation faced the gargantuan task of wiping out the toxic remnants of colonization that the British dumped on the indigenous natives before leaving India. The colonially structured education system was one of them. In the year 1835, Thomas Babington Macaulay’s ‘sincere’ efforts to revive literature in India and promote the knowledge of sciences among the inhabitants have borne innumerable fruits in the post-independent era through hierarchizing and diminishing several socio-cultural components of indigenous epistemologies – languages, dialects, cosmic beliefs, religious practices, mythologies, education systems, etc.
How has the academic system in postcolonial India made efforts to dismantle the colonial frameworks of knowledge production? And how have they failed in the process?
Continue reading “The Decolonial ‘Wrong Turn’ in Indian Academia”
by Aftab Nasir
How ought we to live? The question is multi-faceted and janus-faced. The disciplinary boundaries disappear when one wants to address this question. Is it a philosophical debate, a political discussion, a psychological model, or a historical perspective that is under investigation in this question? The answer is all and none. Yes, these disciplines try to grasp the concept of life in their own institutionalized mandates yet they end up dividing the whole in to parts that do not add up once they are combined back. There is something specific to the inner workings of these disciplines that make these parts look alien to each other once they are filtered through the methodological lenses of disciplines.
Continue reading “Why post-/decolonial perspectives matter”
This summer I attended several academic conferences, and while I was initially extremely enthusiastic to be given the chance to put my work out for discussion, exchange with and learn from colleagues, by early autumn I am fatigued and disenchanted.
Maybe the reason for this is that several of these events where claiming to be “rethinking development”, yet by the end I fail to recognize what was essentially new in the arguments exchanged and the discussions led and what will move us forward.
Continue reading “Why I refuse to rethink development – again (and again, and again…)”