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Blyden, Edward Wilmot. Christianity, Islam, and the Negro Race
1887, Black Classic Press
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, Contributed by: Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note: A native of St. Thomas, West Indies, Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912) lived most of his life on the African continent. He was an accomplished educator, linguist, writer, and world traveler, who strongly defended the unique character of Africa and its people. Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race is an essential collection of his writings on race, culture, and the African personality.

Comment: This collection of essays is seminal in the intellectual foundations of Pan-Africanism, African Islamism, African Anti-colonialism, the Back-to-Africa Movement, and the educational revival in Liberia/West Africa. The essays are great for courses on African thought, or African anti-colonialism/postcolonialism. They would also be excellent companion texts for reading Marcus Garvey or Kwame Nkrumah, or vice versa.

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Burkhart, Brian. Indigenizing Philosophy through the Land: A Trickster Methodology of Decolonising Environmental Ethics and Indigenous Futures
2019, Michigan State University Press.
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Publisher’s Note: Land is key to the operations of coloniality, but the power of the land is also the key anticolonial force that grounds Indigenous liberation. This work is an attempt to articulate the nature of land as a material, conceptual, and ontological foundation for Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and valuing. As a foundation of valuing, land forms the framework for a conceptualization of Indigenous environmental ethics as an anticolonial force for sovereign Indigenous futures. This text is an important contribution in the efforts to Indigenize Western philosophy, particularly in the context of settler colonialism in the United States. It breaks significant ground in articulating Indigenous ways of knowing and valuing to Western philosophy—not as artifact that Western philosophy can incorporate into its canon, but rather as a force of anticolonial Indigenous liberation. Ultimately, Indigenizing Philosophy through the Land shines light on a possible road for epistemically, ontologically, and morally sovereign Indigenous futures.

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Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism
2000, NYU Press
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Publisher's Note: This classic work, first published in France in 1955, profoundly influenced the generation of scholars and activists at the forefront of liberation struggles in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Nearly twenty years later, when published for the first time in English, Discourse on Colonialism inspired a new generation engaged in the Civil Rights, Black Power, and anti-war movements and has sold more than 75,000 copies to date.

Aimé Césaire eloquently describes the brutal impact of capitalism and colonialism on both the colonizer and colonized, exposing the contradictions and hypocrisy implicit in western notions of "progress" and "civilization" upon encountering the "savage," "uncultured," or "primitive." Here, Césaire reaffirms African values, identity, and culture, and their relevance, reminding us that "the relationship between consciousness and reality are extremely complex. . . . It is equally necessary to decolonize our minds, our inner life, at the same time that we decolonize society."

Comment (from this Blueprint): Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism is a foundational text in postcolonial theory, which provides an excoriating critique of not only European practices of colonialism, but also the underlying theories and logics used to justify them. Specifically, Césaire takes aim at the view of colonialism as a ‘civilising mission’, where benevolent Europeans would provide non-white non- Europeans with the tools necessary for modernisation. Instead, he argued that colonialism wrought destruction everywhere it went, killing people, eradicating civilisations, and obliterating any alternative cultural ideas that contrasted European values. Crucially, Césaire explores the psychological effects of colonialism on both the colonised and the coloniser – a theme that would be taken further by Frantz Fanon (a student of Césaire’s) in his writings.

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Chakrabarty, Dipesh. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference
2007, New Edition. Princeton University Press.
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Publisher’s Note: First published in 2000, Dipesh Chakrabarty's influential Provincializing Europe addresses the mythical figure of Europe that is often taken to be the original site of modernity in many histories of capitalist transition in non-Western countries. This imaginary Europe, Dipesh Chakrabarty argues, is built into the social sciences. The very idea of historicizing carries with it some peculiarly European assumptions about disenchanted space, secular time, and sovereignty. Measured against such mythical standards, capitalist transition in the third world has often seemed either incomplete or lacking. Provincializing Europe proposes that every case of transition to capitalism is a case of translation as well - a translation of existing worlds and their thought-categories into the categories and self-understandings of capitalist modernity. Now featuring a new preface in which Chakrabarty responds to his critics, this book globalizes European thought by exploring how it may be renewed both for and from the margins.

Comment (from this Blueprint): This book is a watershed in Indian history, labour theory and postcolonial theory. Chakrabarty begins by accepting the idea that history has already provincialized Europe. However, time and again we find the author acknowledging that the categories and ideals that European thought and the Enlightenment produced are both indispensable and at the same time inadequate to understand the modern political relations of non-European, ex-colonial lands. On the one hand, the familiar theories we use to understand the lives of the proletariat or bourgeois political relations were inadequate to explain their postcolonial existence in Bengal and India. Yet, on the other, these frameworks are simultaneously indispensable for theories about the proletariat in postcolonial Bengal to be accepted as knowledge. A quest, therefore, ensued to interpret the lives of the working class and bourgeoisie political relations in parts of the world that did not replicate the historical transition of Europe. This book challenges the monolithic understanding of historical progression and attempts to follow a different historiography (using Marxist insights) to understand political modernity in places with different histories.

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Chen, Kuan-hsing. Asia as Method: Toward Deimperialization
2010, Duke University Press.
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Publisher’s Note:

Centering his analysis in the dynamic forces of modern East Asian history, Kuan-Hsing Chen recasts cultural studies as a politically urgent global endeavor. He argues that the intellectual and subjective work of decolonization begun across East Asia after the Second World War was stalled by the cold war. At the same time, the work of deimperialization became impossible to imagine in imperial centers such as Japan and the United States. Chen contends that it is now necessary to resume those tasks, and that decolonization, deimperialization, and an intellectual undoing of the cold war must proceed simultaneously. Combining postcolonial studies, globalization studies, and the emerging field of “Asian studies in Asia,” he insists that those on both sides of the imperial divide must assess the conduct, motives, and consequences of imperial histories.

Chen is one of the most important intellectuals working in East Asia today; his writing has been influential in Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and mainland China for the past fifteen years. As a founding member of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society and its journal, he has helped to initiate change in the dynamics and intellectual orientation of the region, building a network that has facilitated inter-Asian connections. Asia as Method encapsulates Chen’s vision and activities within the increasingly “inter-referencing” East Asian intellectual community and charts necessary new directions for cultural studies.

Comment (from this Blueprint): Chen Kuan-hsing’s book Asia as Method theorises what deimperialization efforts might look like, in order to begin imagining new possibilities and new futures that have been foreclosed by the entanglement of imperialization, colonisation, and the cold war in the Asian context. In this chapter, Chen puts forward his idea of “Asia as method”, which he sees as being able to “move forward on the tripartite problematic of decolonisation, deimperialization, and de-cold war” (p.212) by pushing back against the universalism of Western ideas. Thus, Chen suggests the need for “shifting [the] points of reference toward Asia”, thereby enabling Asian societies to learn from each other when faced with similar problems rather than engage in a dialogue mediated through Western theories and forms of knowledge production.

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Coulthard, Glen. Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition
2014, University of Minnesota Press.
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Publisher’s Note: Over the past forty years, recognition has become the dominant mode of negotiation and decolonization between the nation-state and Indigenous nations in North America. The term “recognition” shapes debates over Indigenous cultural distinctiveness, Indigenous rights to land and self-government, and Indigenous peoples’ right to benefit from the development of their lands and resources. In a work of critically engaged political theory, Glen Sean Coulthard challenges recognition as a method of organizing difference and identity in liberal politics, questioning the assumption that contemporary difference and past histories of destructive colonialism between the state and Indigenous peoples can be reconciled through a process of acknowledgment. Beyond this, Coulthard examines an alternative politics—one that seeks to revalue, reconstruct, and redeploy Indigenous cultural practices based on self-recognition rather than on seeking appreciation from the very agents of colonialism. Coulthard demonstrates how a “place-based” modification of Karl Marx’s theory of “primitive accumulation” throws light on Indigenous–state relations in settler-colonial contexts and how Frantz Fanon’s critique of colonial recognition shows that this relationship reproduces itself over time. This framework strengthens his exploration of the ways that the politics of recognition has come to serve the interests of settler-colonial power. In addressing the core tenets of Indigenous resistance movements, like Red Power and Idle No More, Coulthard offers fresh insights into the politics of active decolonization.

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Dhanda, Meena. Philosophical Foundations of Anti-Casteism
2020, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. 120 (1): 71-96.
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Abstract:

The paper begins from a working definition of caste as a contentious form of social belonging and a consideration of casteism as a form of inferiorization. It takes anti-casteism as an ideological critique aimed at unmasking the unethical operations of caste, drawing upon B. R. Ambedkar’s notion of caste as ‘graded inequality’. The politico-legal context of the unfinished trajectory of instituting protection against caste discrimination in Britain provides the backdrop for thinking through the philosophical foundations of anti-casteism. The peculiar religio-discursive aspect of ‘emergent vulnerability’ is noted, which explains the recent introduction of the trope of ‘institutional casteism’ used as a shield by deniers of caste against accusations of casteism. The language of protest historically introduced by anti-racists is thus usurped and inverted in a simulated language of anti-colonialism. It is suggested that the stymieing of the UK legislation on caste is an effect of collective hypocrisies, the refusal to acknowledge caste privilege, and the continuity of an agonistic intellectual inheritance, exemplified in the deep differences between Ambedkar and Gandhi in the Indian nationalist discourse on caste. The paper argues that for a modern anti-casteism to develop, at stake is the possibility of an ethical social solidarity. Following Ambedkar, this expansive solidarity can only be found through our willingness to subject received opinions and traditions to critical scrutiny. Since opposed groups ‘make sense’ of their worlds in ways that might generate collective hypocrisies of denial of caste effects, anti-casteism must be geared to expose the lie that caste as the system of graded inequality is benign and seamlessly self-perpetuating, when it is everywhere enforced through penalties for transgression of local caste norms with the complicity of the privileged castes. The ideal for modern anti-casteism is Maitri formed through praxis, eschewing birth-ascribed caste status and loyalties.

Comment (from this Blueprint): This is a brilliant introductory essay to the problem of casteism which plagues not only Indian societies in India, but also the diaspora abroad. The essay provides a nuanced perspective of how we must understand caste (both in its concept and its practice), introduces us to the 20th century debates which were ongoing alongside the freedom struggle against the Raj, and links the caste debate to the debates around it in contemporary British politics. It is a novel attempt to unearth the philosophical underpinnings of the movement against caste oppression. The timing of the essay seems apposite, given the current political situation in India and its impact in the politics of the countries where Indians constitute a sizeable population.

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Egbunu, Fidelis Eleojo. Language Problem in African Philosophy: The Igala Case
2014, Journal of Educational and Social Research. 4 (3): 363-371.
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Added by: Sara Peppe and Björn Freter
Abstract: The Language Question is a very central subject of discourse in African Philosophy. This is consequent upon the fact that the essence of language in philosophy cannot be gainsaid. Language, as it were, is culture bound. As such, to deny a people of their language is to deny them their cultural heritage. While applying the descriptive and analytic method in this work, it is contended that language plays not only a catalyzing role in the art of philosophizing but that it occupies an inalienable place in philosophy. Again, that since philosophy is more or less about resolving “conceptual cramps” or “bottle-necks”, indigenous languages should be given a pride of place over and against their foreign counterparts because of the obvious epistemological advantages embedded therein (especially in mother-tongues). It is submitted here that a lot of homework need to be done in terms of advocacy and development on the low status of such languages so as to meet up with the international standard and nature of the discipline. Meanwhile, the need for using a language that engenders understanding across ethnic barriers alongside the language of the environment is being advocated as a short-term measure. This is not without sounding a caveat that such a transfer of knowledge which is often fraught with some degree of adulteration via the instrument of translation, though practicable, is far from being the ideal. It is on this token the opinions of experts such as Barry Hallen, Quine and a host of others on Methods of Ordinary Language Philosophy and Indeterminacy, respectively are being advanced as plausible means of meeting the challenges before us. In this manner, while using the Igala language of Central Nigeria as a case study, it is finally submitted that it is possible to have what we might term authentic African Philosophy emerging from a systematic analysis of our traditional worldviews.

Comment (from this Blueprint): This paper examines the issue of language in African Philosophy and highlights that language and culture are closely linked. Indeed, in paragraph 2, Egbonu studies the term “language”, underlining that language has to do with people’s identity and culture. Also, the author explains that language has a crucial role in philosophising, with African indigenous languages that should have a major role in African philosophy since it expresses the cultural heritage of African people. Egbunu focuses on the case of Igala people, where the meaning of the words they use is not the same when we translate them. But, Egbunu also underlines that language is not the only way to determine what should be considered authentic African philosophy. Indeed, it is argued that language does not determine whether African philosophy is authentic or not. Instead, authentic African philosophy is the philosophy applied to the conceptual issues of the African experience.

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Frowe, Helen. The Duty to Remove Statues of Wrongdoers
2019, Journal of Practical Ethics 7(3):1-31
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Abstract: This paper argues that public statues of persons typically express a positive evaluative attitude towards the subject. It also argues that states have duties to repudiate their own historical wrongdoing, and to condemn other people’s serious wrongdoing. Both duties are incompatible with retaining public statues of people who perpetrated serious rights violations. Hence, a person’s being a serious rights violator is a sufficient condition for a state’s having a duty to remove a public statue of that person. I argue that this applies no less in the case of the ‘morally ambiguous’ wrongdoer, who both accomplishes significant goods and perpetrates serious rights violations. The duty to remove a statue is a defeasible duty: like most duties, it can be defeated by lesser-evil considerations. If removing a statue would, for example, spark a violent riot that would risk unjust harm to lots of people, the duty to remove could be outweighed by the duty not to foreseeably cause unjust harm. This would provide a lesser-evil justification for keeping the statue. But it matters that the duty to remove is outweighed, rather than negated, by these consequences. Unlike when a duty is negated, one still owes something in cases of outweighing. And it especially matters that it is outweighed by the predicted consequences of wrongful behaviour by others.

Comment (from this Blueprint): This paper highlights several important things. First, statues are blunt tools and express pro-attitudes to the persons they represent as a whole. Second, it sets out a clear standard for removal, and defends the conclusion that we should remove many or even most existing statues. Third, to the question “what if removal incites violence?” this paper provides a good answer. Fourth, a legitimate question is what we should do about statues of wrongdoers of the distant past? The discussion on this here is insightful.

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Hoffmann, Nimi. Involuntary experiments in former colonies: The case for a moratorium
2020, World Development 127, 104805-104808
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Anonymous

Abstract: There is a rich literature on the use of medical trials as a model for designing and evaluating the outcomes of social policy interventions in former colonies. Yet social experimentalists have not engaged in a correspondingly vibrant discussion of medical ethics. A systematic review of social experiments shows that few studies explicitly discuss informed consent, or the serious constraints on securing informed consent from impoverished or child participants, particularly in the context of cluster randomization. The silence on informed consent, and in some cases active denial thereof, suggests that it is often considered less important than other elements of experimental design. This matters since involuntary experimentation on vulnerable people violates their personhood, increases the risk of unintended harm, and establishes continuities with colonial experimentation. There is a need to develop more effective mechanisms for regulating social experiments in former colonies. In the interim, scholars in the South have a responsibility to call for a moratorium on experiments.

Comment: Are useful counterweight to the literature on the randomise control trial is in development economics, shows that they are much more ethically controversial than they're willing to admit, also good for bringing out of the colonial aspect of even contemporary economics.

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Lodhi, Abdulaziz Y.. The Language Situation in Africa Today
1993, Nordic Journal of African Studies. 2 (1): 79–86.
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Added by: Sara Peppe and Björn Freter
Abstract: The African continent and the nearby islands constitute one-fourth of the land surface of the earth. Approximately 460 million people live in Africa which is about 11% of the world's population. Of the estimated 6,200 languages and dialects in the world, 2,582 languages and 1,382 dialects are found in Africa. Some languages in Africa are spoken by more than 20 or 30 million people, e.g. Hausa-Fulani, Oromo/Galla and Swahili. Arabic is the most widely spread language on the continent and it is the mothertongue of more than 110 million Africans, whereas in Asia there are only half as many native speakers of Arabic. More than 50 languages are spoken by more than one million speakers each; and a couple of hundred languages are spoken by small groups of a few thousand, or a few hundred people. These small languages are disappearing at a fast rate. Altogether only 146 vernaculars are used as "operative languages" in different situations, and 82 of them are classified by linguists as "highest priority languages", i.e. they are used as "local languages" in different contexts by various authorities, aid organisations and non- governmental organisations (NGOs) in their projects and campaigns. Of the latter, 41 languages are widely used as "lingua franca" for inter-ethnic, regional and/or international communication. All African languages compete with metropolitan/colonial languages, as well as with pidgin and creoles. However, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) has recommended 50 languages to be supported along with Arabic and Swahili as the only native African working languages. The lingua francas in Africa are of two types: Type A is spread by Africans, e.g. Amharic, Hausa, Swahili and Wolof; while Type B is spread through foreign influence, e.g. Lingala and Swahili during the colonial period. Most lingua francas have both Type A and B features, and the common denominator for them all is that they have been, and many of them are today, languages which were used by soldiers and warrior groups and African conquerors, languages which were later employed by European colonialists in their African armies.

Comment (from this Blueprint): This article provides an outlook on the languages of Africa, highlighting that the African continent is multi-lingual since there is a huge number of languages and dialects. Plus, the paper clarifies that together with the autochthonous languages, colonialism introduced European languages, increasing the number of languages used. The importance of this article is that it elucidates the impact of the acquis of languages in Africa on politics, education and development. This is linked with the issue of African languages in African philosophy too.

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Mariátegui, José Carlos. Seven Interpretative Essays on Peruvian Reality
1971, Marjory Urquidi (ed.). University of Texas Press
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Added by: Adriana Clavel-Vázquez
Publisher’s Note: In this essay, Mariátegui offers an analysis of Peruvian literary practices and a criticism of some of its central figures. He argues that what has been construed as a “national literature” erases the contributions of Indigenous cultures to Peruvian identity, and, in doing so, it partly contributes to the marginalization of Indigenous Peruvians.

Comment (from this Blueprint): Mariátegui’s criticism of the Latin American literary canon is interesting because he brings forward the way in which Eurocentric mestizaje has shaped the aesthetic practices that are regarded as constitutive of Latin American identity. Much like Adrian Piper’s criticism of critical hegemony in the arts, Mariátegui argues that the Latin American literary canon is built on “Hispanism, colonialism, and social privilege” that is passed as a neutral academic spirit. Mariátegui shows, therefore, how even in mestizaje taste remains racialized.

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Miranda, Dana Francisco. Critical commemorations
2020, Journal of Global Ethics 16(3): 422-430
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Abstract: Drawing on the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, this contribution will examine commemorative practices alongside critical modes of historical engagement. In Untimely Meditations, Friedrich Nietzsche documents three historical methodologies—the monumental, antiquarian and critical—which purposely use history in non-objective ways. In particular, critical history desires to judge and reject historical figures rather than repeat the past or venerate the dead. For instance, in recent protests against racism there have also been calls to decolonize public space through the defacement, destruction, and removal of monuments. There is thus much potential in critical history being used to address ongoing harms.

Comment (from this Blueprint): This paper brings out nicely doubts on the objectivity of history as it is presented to us. The pretence of objective history can be used as an oppressive tool to delegitimise the critical reflection of the history of the marginalised. A particular point of interest is objecting to the standards of "greatness," which could be found very plausible. It seems that we have indeed been honouring people who have done great (from a certain point of view) but terrible things.

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Olko, Justyna, Madajczak, Julia. An Animating Principle in Confrontation with Christianity? De(re)constructing the Nahua ‘Soul’
2019, Ancient Mesoamerica, 30: 75-88
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Added by: M. Jimena Clavel Vázquez and Andrés Hernández Villarreal
Abstract:

-Yolia is one of the principal indigenous terms present in Christian Nahua terminology in the first decades of European contact. It is employed for “soul” or “spirit” and often forms a doublet with ánima in Nahuatl texts of an ecclesiastical, devotional, or secular nature. the term -Yolia/teyolia has also lived a rich and fascinating life in scholarly literature. Its etymology (“the means for one’s living”) is strikingly similar to that of the Spanish word “ánima”, or “soul.” Taking into account the possibility that attestations of the seemingly pre-Hispanic -Yolia can be identified in some of the written sources, we have reviewed historical, linguistic, and anthropological evidence concerning this term in order to revisit the Nahua concept of the “soul.” we also scrutinize the very origin of -Yolia in academic discourse. this analysis, based on broader historical and linguistic evidence referring to both pre-Conquest beliefs and Christianization in sixteenth-century central Mexico, is the point of departure for proposing and substantiating an alternative hypothesis about the origin of -yolia. Our precise focus has been to trace and pinpoint a pervasive Christian influence, manifest both in indigenous Colonial texts and conceptual frameworks of modern scholars interpreting them. we conclude that -Yolia is a neologism created in the early Colonial period.

Comment (from this Blueprint): Offers a critical discussion of López Austin’s 'The Human Body in the Mexica Worldview'. They propose to consider tonalli as the animistic entity that was most likely to be present in pre-Hispanic thought.

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Quijano, Aníbal. Coloniality of Power and Eurocentrism in Latin America
2000, International Sociology, 15 (2): 215-232
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Added by: Adriana Clavel-Vázquez
Abstract: The globalization of the world is, in the first place, the culmination of a process that began with the constitution of America and world capitalism as a Euro-centered colonial/modern world power. One of the foundations of that pattern of power was the social classification of the world population upon the base of the idea of race, a mental construct that expresses colonial experience and that pervades the most important dimensions of world power, including its specific rationality: Eurocentrism. This article discusses some implications of that coloniality of power in Latin American history.

Comment (from this Blueprint): The coloniality of power at the centre of Latin American societies as analysed by Quijano is key to understanding why a notion like mestizaje is problematic when building national identities in multicultural States. Quijano’s notion of the coloniality of power helps explain why even when Latin American identities are purported to include Indigenous and Black culture, mestizaje often involves the “civilizing” force of European rationality. Quijano, therefore, helps in bringing forward the dangers of mestizophilia: the pseudo-integrative spirit of mestizaje into multiethnic, multicultural, multiracial society risks becoming a homogenization under whiteness.

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