Call for Participation: Decoloniality in the Social Sciences – A Textbook on Theory and Practice

Planning Convergence

March 14-16, 2017 – The Hague, Netherlands

With the emergence of colonialism, Eurocentrism and white supremacy, came genocides and epistemicides against all other forms of social organization and ways of knowing.  The twentieth century bore witness to developing ruptures in this global structure and world view with social movements everywhere including the national liberation struggles of mid-century and activism within, intensifying through the mobilization of grassroots forces fighting for a new world order.  Correspondingly, in the academy both in the west and around the globe, Eurocentric ideas about the social world have been increasingly contested.  Increasingly, such contestation realized that similar logics are at play throughout the globe and are part of a global colonial process.

As these forces gain momentum at this moment of historic crisis, it is time to canonize these ideas in a textbook speaking to a critique of coloniality and the colonial bias in both theory and practice.  The symbiotic relationship intrinsic to praxis is put into sharp relief particularly in patterns of social relation and social organization asserting other ways that the social world can be and is understood and engaged.

The very issue of how humans relate to each other, and to the environment outside the clutches of coloniality is being tested.

Goals and purpose

This textbook seeks to highlight ways-of-being-in-this world currently marginalized, denied, and/or exoticized in the Eurocentric canon. As such, the textbook will highlight ways-of-being-in-the-world that do not follow a Eurocentric template that emphasizes dualisms between aspects of being, and related entities. It thereby reconciles the heretofore contradicting entities.

The textbook seeks to excavate such hidden ways of being and relating to the world.  Importantly, the concepts which will be used to understand the social world will be deliberately and systematically decolonial. That is, decentered from Eurocentrism and away from colonial ways of comprehending the world.  This will necessarily inform the questions posed in research such as Eurocentric concepts e.g. of gender, race, nation, and personhood that have become normative.  When we examine these ideas through other perspectives, and not solely seek to justify the status quo, new forms of social relations emerge.

This is a critical venture as the contemporary moment holds both the trauma and violence of the modern world system and the intense resistance to coloniality on all levels. Our overall goal is to bring visibility to ways of thinking that have been marginalized, silenced, undermined, and ignored fostering engagement with pluriversal ways of being, knowing, thinking and relating. We work toward developing a multiversity = multiple perspectives in knowledge production and with grassroots movements in recognition of the relationship between theory and practice.

We hope the textbook will be adopted in universities in courses on social relations (sociology, anthropology, cultural studies) and to develop research projects on specific topics to further develop decolonial theory and practice.

Convergence to plan out the content and format of the text

A small group of interested parties will meet March 14-16, 2017 in The Hague, Netherlands on to discuss and plan both the content and the format for this undergraduate textbook.

As this textbook is a deliberate move away from Eurocentric normativity in terms of theory, concepts and policy, the focus on alternative theories, concepts and policies is the central objective. The emphasis will be on pluriversal theory and application.

What topics, frameworks, concepts, models should be covered?

How can this textbook be firmly rooted in decolonizing theories and practices?

How might we include those involved in projects outside of the academy, from the very formulation of the vision for this text?

What don’t we know, what concepts, what do we critique, what are the alternatives?

What are the foundational concepts and what is wrong with them, how do we critique them?

What concepts address the issues of social sciences?

What are the most significant theoretical frames? What is their relevance?

What practices are important to recognize?

Drawing on this text, we will compile an online course module template to be circulated as a reference and resource at multiple universities globally.  This intensive meeting will provide the basis for creating a course module with a global emphasis, for broader engagement in academic and grassroots communities, and will continue to foster relationships and collaborations with people interested in this subject matter, globally.

Specifics about the Convergence.

We will meet from March 14 – 16, 2017. A minimal participation fee will cover costs (50 euros), and individuals are responsible for their own transportation and housing.

If you would like to participate, click here for registration.

Let us know if you have questions.  Thank you!

Project Initiators

Melanie E L Bush, Adelphi University Melanie.e.l.bush@gmail.com

Nokuthula Hlabangane, University of South Africa;

Sandew Hira International Institute for Scientific Research, The Hague, Netherlands