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Postgraduate Courses

Decolonial Thinking and Practice (AXL4206S)

This course is intended to give an introduction to the growing body of thought coming out of Latin America under the heading of decolonial thinking, exemplified in the work of scholars like Walter Mignolo, Arturo Escobar, Enrique Dussel, Santiago Castro-Gomez, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Anibal Quijano, and others. This work has been significant in framing an approach to questions of knowledge, coloniality and globalization. At its most ambitious, it attempts to re-write the script of modernity. In a more immediate way, it provides a rich set of conceptual resources through which to re-think a familiar set of issues.

Course code: AXL4206S
Type of degree: Postgraduate
Course convenor: A/Prof Nick Shepherd
Last updated: Monday, July 25, 2016

Course outline:

The course will take a key word approach, and is divided into two-week blocks. Each block will be given to a new set of key words or concepts and the readings that introduce and discuss them. Key words and concepts include:

  • Coloniality (of power/ knowledge/ being)
  • Geopolitics of knowledge
  • Colonial globality and global designs
  • Border theory and colonial difference
  • Modernity (colonial modernity, peripheral modernity, transmodernity)
  • Global designs and the local
  • The Indigenous Movement and postcolonial ethnicities

A way in for us, will be the notion of reading decoloniality from the Cape: How does a body of thought which frames a critique based on South American/ Latin American historical experiences translate to African contexts of practice? How does it speak to the particularity of histories of knowledge production and colonial engagement in the Cape? How does this body of work connect with contemporary debates in the field of African Studies, which address questions of knowledge and epistemology?

Assessment:

Assessment will be based on two class presentations and a research paper (counting 50%). Each student will be required to prepare two 10-minute presentations, one on an essay/ chapter drawn from the course readings, and one on a practitioner/ body of work/ decolonial intervention/ instance of decolonial practice.

Programme:

Weeks 1 and 2 - Introductory/ programmatic:

Castro-Gomez S. 2008. (Post)Coloniality for Dummies: Latin American Perspectives on Modernity, Coloniality, and the Geopolitics of Knowledge. In Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the Postcolonial Debate, ed. M Morana, E Dussel, CA Jauregui. Durham: Duke University Press

Dussel E. 2008. Philosophy of liberation, the postmodern debate, and Latin American Studies. In Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the postcolonial debate, ed. M Morana, E Dussel, CA Jauregui, pp. 335-49. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Escobar A. 2007. Worlds and Knowledges Otherwise: The Latin American modernity/ coloniality research program. Cultural Studies 21:179-210

Mignolo W. 2006. Epistemic disobedience and the de-colonial option: A manifesto. Decololnial Thinking Mapping the Decolonial Turn:1 – 16

Morana M, E Dussel, CA Jauregui (eds). 2008. Introduction: Colonialism and its replicants. In Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the postcolonial debate, ed., pp. 286-306. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Weeks 3 and 4 - Occidentalism and the Geopolitics of Knowledge:

Dussel E. 1998. Beyond Eurocentrism: The world-system and the limits of modernity. In The Cultures of Globalization, ed. F Jameson, M Miyoshi, pp. 3-31. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press

Dussel E. 2000. Europe, Modernity, and Eurocentrism. Nepantla 1:465-78

Mignolo WD. 2002. The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference. The South Atlantic Quarterly 101:57-96

Quijano A. 2007. Coloniality and modernity/ rationality. Cultural Studies 21:168-78

Comparative reading:

Pratt, ML. 1992. Imperial Eyes: Travel writing and transculturation. London and New York: Routledge.

Weeks 5 and 6 - Coloniality of Power/ Coloniality of Knowledge/ Coloniality of Being:

Grosfoguel R. 2009. The epistemic decolonial turn. Cultural Studies 21:211-23

Maldonado-Torres N. 2007. On the coloniality of being. Cultural Studies 21:240-70

Maldonado-Torres N. 2008. Secularism and religion in the modern/ colonial world-system: from secular postcoloniality to postsecular transmodernity. In Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the postcolonial debate, ed. M Morana, E Dussel, CA Jauregui, pp. 360-87. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Mignolo W. 1999. Local Histories/ Global Designs: Coloniality, subaltern knowledges and border thinking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press

Quijano A. 2008. Coloniality of power, eurocentrism and social classification. In Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the postcolonial debate, ed. M Morana, E Dussel, CA Jauregui, pp. 181-224. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Weeks 7 and 8 - Transmodernity, Border Thinking, Global Coloniality:

Castro-Gomez S. The Missing Chapter of Empire; Postmodern reorganization of coloniality and post-Fordist capitalism. Cultural Studies 21:428-48

Dussel E. 2002. World Systems and "Trans"-modernity. Nepantla 3:221-44

Grosfoguel R. 2008b. Transmodernity, border thinking, and global coloniality. Eurozine

Mignolo WD. 2007. Delinking: the rhetoric of modernity, the logic of coloniality and the grammar of de-coloniality. Cultural Studies 21

Contexts:

The thought, practice and career of Guillermo Gómez-Peña

http://www.pochanostra.com/#Scene_1

Weeks 9 and 10: Postcolonial Ethnicities/ Decolonial Struggles:

Arias A. 2008. The Maya Movement: poscolonialism and cultural agency. In Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the postcolonial debate, ed. M Morana, E Dussel, CA Jauregui, pp. 519-38. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Escobar A. 1999. After Nature: Steps to an Antiessentialist Political Economy. Current Anthropology 40:1-30

Escobar A. 2001. Culture sits in places: reflections on globalism and subaltern strategies of localization. Political Geography 20:139-74

Escobar A. 2008. Territories of Difference: Place, movements, life, redes. Durham, NC: Duke University Press

Escobar A. 2010. Latin America at a crossroads. Cultural Studies 24:1-65

Walsh CE. 2008. (Post)Coloniality in Ecuador: the Indigenous Movement's practices and politics of (re)signification and decolonization. In Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the postcolonial debate, ed. M Morana, E Dussel, CA Jauregui, pp. 506-18. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Comparative reading:

Comaroff JL and J Comaroff. 2009. Ethnicity Inc. Scottsville: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.

Weeks 11 and 12 - Comparative Postcolonialisms:

Chanady A. 2008. The Latin American postcolonialism debate in comparative context. In Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the postcolonial debate, ed. M Morana, E Dussel, CA Jauregui, pp. 417-34. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Grosfoguel R. 2008a. Developmentalism, Modernity and Dependency Theory in Latin America. In Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the postcolonial debate, ed. M Morana, E Dussel, CA Jauregui, pp. 307-34. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Mendieta E. 2008. Remapping Latin American Studies: Postcolonialism, subaltern studies, post-occidentalism and globalization theory. In Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the postcolonial debate, ed. M Morana, E Dussel, CA Jauregui, pp. 286-306. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Pratt ML. 2008. In the neocolony: destiny, destination, and the traffic in meaning. In Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the postcolonial debate, ed. M Morana, E Dussel, CA Jauregui, pp. 459-78. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Lecture Times:

Fridays 10:00-12:00

Lecture Venue:

CAS Seminar Room

Course convenor:

Nick Shepherd (nick.shepherd@uct.ac.za)