Decolonizing Disciplines and Structures of Inequality 

The Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President Research (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) invites you to the Winter 2022 Courageous Conversations Speaker Series, which will commence with two internationally renowned scholars, Dr. Gurminder K. Bhambra (University of Sussex) and Dr. Yolande Bouka (Queen’s University), speaking on the topic of Decolonizing Disciplines and Structures of Inequality.

For a Reparatory Social Science - Dr. Gurminder K. Bhambra

The social sciences are implicated in the reproduction of the very structures of inequality that are also, ostensibly, their objects of concern. This is, in part, a consequence of their failure to acknowledge the 'connected histories' from which they abstract one of their primary units of analysis - that is, the modern nation-state. In this talk, Dr. Bhambra argues for the need to account for colonial histories as central to national imaginaries and to the social structures through which inequalities are legitimated and reproduced. In the process, she puts forward a framework for a reparatory social science, one that is oriented to global justices as a reconstructive project of the present.

A Manifesto of Decolonial Justice in African Studies - Dr. Yolande Bouka

The paradox of decolonizing institutions and disciplines whose main function has been to perpetuate hierarchies between "producers" and "subjects" of knowledge is one of the reasons why decolonizing the academy continues to be challenging. In the case of African Studies, in addition to deconstructing colonial ideologies of Western superiority in a field of academic inquiry that was mainly created to subjugate the Black Other for imperial purposes, we are also asked to reimagine approaches to studying Africa, a place and idea that is radically different from how it was "invented" and imagined, which seems to be an antithesis between the object and the objective. Yet, the decolonial project remains necessary given the continued prevalence of colonial thoughts and practices in the discipline. This presentation first aims to take stock of the struggle that scholars of African descent and intellectual comrades have waged to reclaim African Studies. Then, in the footsteps of scholars who have tackled issues of coloniality, Dr. Bouka takes aim at descriptive decolonization and explain the injustices of colonialism in social sciences as a result of brutal ontological and epistemological violence. Finally, she offers a manifesto of decolonial justice which offers potential pathways towards a sustained decolonial praxis.

Thursday, January 20
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (Mountain Time) - Online

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