Decolonial Theory: an Introduction
Too often, colonization is understood as a thing of the past, the work of decolonization having been completed in the wave of anti-colonial revolutions that shook the mid-20th century. But colonization and the work of decolonization are far from over. The long-term legacies of colonial domination, or what’s sometimes called coloniality, have outlived and outlasted formal colonial rule, seeping into every fissure of our world and shaping everything from racial hierarchies to gender norms, family structures, land use, and even the geographical arrangement of territory. Given colonialism’s all-encompassing legacy, what does it mean to decolonize, politically, culturally, intellectually? How can we understand decolonization as a movement not only for long-overdue reparations and the return of land, but also for the fundamental transformation of every aspect of our contemporary world?
In this course, we will explore the broad sweep of decolonial theory and practice. Anchoring our approach in theorizations of the midcentury revolts by Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon, we’ll then turn to contemporary Latin American decolonial theorists including Aníbal Quijano, Walter Mignolo, María Lugones, and Nelson Maldonado-Torres, before concluding with the theoretical and concrete programmatic contribution offered by The Red Nation in The Red Deal. As we read, we will ask: Why does coloniality persist, even in the absence of overt colonial rule? How is it felt, not only by the colonized, but also by the racialized, gendered populations of the so-called global north? Is there a pre-colonial past to recover? What does a decolonial future look like?
Course ScheduleWednesday, 6:30-9:30pm EST
October 18 — November 08, 2023