This event marks the official launch of the new pop-up research cluster ‘Decolonising Knowledge in theory and practice' (DECkNO), Department of Social and Policy Sciences, with talks by Dr Ana Cecilia Dinerstein, Dr Luisa Enria and María José Ventura Alfaro (ESRC MPhil/PhD Candidate). The event will be held as part of the SPS Research Seminar Series and is sponsored by the Standing Seminary in Critical Theory (SSCT).
The term decolonising is rapidly conquering several academic as well as practitioner and activist domains, acquiring new meanings that depart from those identified with anti-colonial political struggles for liberation. While there is a risk of using the term decolonial as a ‘metaphor for the things we want to do to improve our societies’ (Tuck and Yang 2012), decolonial discourses are exposing the limitations of social sciences to understand the Eurocentrism that prevails in social sciences. We are witnessing the growing importance of a plural movement that demands the decolonisation of knowledge in the modern University for it can have a positive impact on the learning process as well as on other spheres of society, leading to social transformation.
DECkNO aims to open a space to deconstruct and unlearn the Eurocentric episteme of social sciences and to enrich sociological theory and research practice by means of the creation of what Professor Boaventura de Sousa Santos calls an ‘ecology of knowledges’ that exist in the world.
The speakers will present the main ideas behind the creation of DECkNO pop-up cluster, including aims, objectives, networks and plans and will discuss in what ways the idea of decolonising knowledge informs their theoretical and empirical research (work in progress).
Ana C Dinerstein is a Reader in Sociology at the University of Bath. She is a critical theorist and a feminist decolonial open Marxist and has created the field of research called the ‘global politics of hope’ to analyse the contemporary contradictory and creative processes of social political economic and cultural transformation led by social movements today. She writes about work and post work, social resistance, utopia, and critical theory based on Ernst Bloch’s principle of hope (contemporary uses of Ernst Bloch’s principle of hope). Her publications include The Labour Debate (2002, co-editor and author); The Politics of Autonomy in Latin America: The Art of Organising Hope (Palgrave, 2015) and Social Sciences for An Other Politics: Women Theorising without Parachutes (editor and author, 2016). She is co-editor (with John Holloway) of Open Marxism 4: Against a Closing World (Pluto Press, 2019).
María José Ventura Alfaro (MPhil/PhD Candidate) is an ESRC-funded PhD student in the field of Development Studies, Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath. Her research offers a feminist analysis of the contemporary violence against women or Feminicide and social movements’ action in contemporary Mexico.
Luisa Enria is a Lecturer in International Development at the University of Bath, where her research focuses on Sierra Leone and aims to produce ethnographic accounts of how people experience, engage with and resist development and humanitarian interventions in their daily lives. Informed by her research during and after the West African Ebola outbreak, Luisa’s work also engages with the possibilities and tensions at the interface between anthropology and global health during emergencies. Her recent ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellowship, States of Emergency: Citizenship in Crisis in Sierra Leone, explored the effects of crisis management, including militarisation, on state-society relations in the aftermath of Ebola. Her book, The Politics of Work in a Post-Conflict State: Youth, Labour and Violence in Sierra Leone was published with James Currey 2018. Her current projects focus on emergency preparedness and social science engagement in outbreak response.