2015 – Decolonizing Knowledge


 goldsmiths_blackLinnaeus

Invitation to participate in workshop

November 2-3, 2015

For at least two centuries, the only knowledge which has been accorded the status “respectable”, whether the site of its production is in the “West” (understood as a region, or as the origin of modernity) or elsewhere, is the knowledge created within the modern human and natural sciences; sciences associated with the European Enlightenment and its attendant site of production and dissemination – the modern university. The cultural and historical specificity, as well as the assumed truth and universality, of this knowledge are rarely questioned. Skills, crafts, popular knowledges, tacit, non-systematic, embodied, and gendered knowledges, whether indigenous or not, hold little claim in the face of the ‘expert’ knowledges produced in the university as well as other privileged sites such as think tanks, governmental agencies, media outlets, and corporations – expertises that are subsequently exported through systems of commerce, trade, development and aid to the rest of the world. More than this, even if other forms of knowledge are recognized, invariably they are domesticated as ‘content’ to be studied and ‘explained’.

The Centre for Postcolonial Studies, Goldsmiths, together with the Linnaeus Centre for Concurrences, Linnaeus University, is proposing a workshop and a special issue of the journal Postcolonial Studies which seek to enquire into the epistemological superiority accorded to modern, Western knowledge, asking whether this is warranted, and what effects it has. To this end, we welcome participants who are engaging in their own work with this theme, either by addressing this knowledge in general, or any of the particular disciplinary manifestations of it, eg, sociology, anthropology, international relations, history and so on. The workshop will be a mix of presentations and of discussion, so rather than ask for abstracts, we ask those interested in participating to send, by September 1, an outline of their research, of 1000-1500 words, and how it speaks to the theme of the workshop. These outlines will be pre-circulated but because space is limited and also because we wish to keep this workshop intimate, so that sustained conversation is possible, only a small number of those who respond to this call will be asked to present a paper, or provide specific commentary. Participation will be confirmed by September 30.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • connections between the global distribution of modern western knowledge and a global, economic, geographic, and medialized dominance of the “West”
  • whether and how different knowledge traditions can relate to one another and with what consequences
  • the entanglement between different and rival knowledge traditions
  • indigenous knowledge traditions

The workshop is hosted by Linnaeus University Centre: Concurrences and held at Teleborg Castle in Växjö, Sweden, on November 2-3, 2015. Participants are expected to pay their own travel costs, while the Centre covers accommodation and other workshop costs.

For further information or submission of interest to participate:       s.seth@gold.ac.uk