DRL Seminar Series 2021

The Diversity Reading List, in partnership with the British Philosophical Association, presents

Decolonising Knowledge: An online seminar series across four continents

All the talks will be hosted on Zoom, in UK time, and will last 1h30. This Time Zone Calculator will help you find out what time the talk is in your area.

To register, write your name and email address below, or email events@diversityreadinglist.org directly, and you will receive the Zoom links for each talk. 

 

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Programme

Event Link
Linda Tuhiwai Smith: Title TBC
September 28, 2021 7:00 pm UK time
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Abstract

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Biography

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Veli Mitova: Epistemic Decolonisation for Today’s Africa
October 6, 2021 5:00 pm UK time

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Abstract

The call to decolonise knowledge is finally gaining deserved attention worldwide, in both academia and society more generally. But as the call’s popularity rises, so does scepticism about its benefits. In this talk, I develop a conception of epistemic decolonisation that is geared to withstanding such scepticism in the contemporary African context, rather than to engaging better established, more theoretical scholarship. I focus, in particular, on African philosopher Bernard Matolino’s recent paper ‘Whither Epistemic Decolonization?’. Matolino issues three challenges to the continued theorising epistemic decolonisation. First, it politicises the knowledge enterprise in an unacceptable way. Second, it seems to leave the black African forever stuck in a negative project of trying to define herself in contrast to the coloniser. Finally, dwelling on the epistemic wrongs of colonialism obscures important aspects of the African’s condition, such as her continued political and material disempowerment. If these challenges are on the right track, they threaten to derail the whole project of epistemic decolonisation. But I argue here that such pessimism is premature. I first offer a sketch of what I take epistemic decolonisation to involve. I then show how this sketch can help us defuse Matolino’s challenges.

Biography

Veli is Professor in Philosophy and Director of the African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science, at the University of Johannesburg. She is also the South African team leader for The Geography of Philosophy Project, and a PI for the Epistemic Injustice, Reasons, and Agency project funded by a Newton Advanced Fellowship.

Veli works at the intersection of epistemology, metaethics and the philosophy of action. At the moment, she is thinking about epistemic injustice and decolonising knowledge. She is the author of Believable Evidence (CUP 2017), and the editor of Epistemic Decolonisation (2020) and of The Factive Turn in Epistemology (CUP 2018).

Before joining the University of Johannesburg in 2015, Veli taught and researched at Universität Wien, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, Rhodes University (her alma mater), and Cambridge (where she obtained her PhD).

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Murad Idris: Re-Framing Islam: Submission, Reformation, Pacification
October 13, 2021 5:00 pm UK time

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Abstract

The definition of Islam as submission, the claim that Islam needs a Luther, and the desire to identify jihād with private and spiritual struggle, all reflect a series of compulsions and elisions. The three idioms are fundamental to how Islam has been constituted in language as a subject and as a problem. They each also have forgotten genealogies. This project outlines these genealogies and their intersection through the politics of translating Islam as submission, peace, or salvation; of narrating its place and temporality in modernity; and of reinterpreting historical texts and exemplars through the prism of liberalism and toleration. These three moves take Islam out of history. The dislocation of Islam winds through three disciplinary moments that track political theory’s investments in philology, teleology, and philosophy. The seminar concludes by pointing toward critical possibilities and resources that emerge out of alternative discursive formations—formations that dwell alongside or behind the three idioms and that remain suppressed in them.

Biography

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Leigh Jenco: Is “Decolonizing” Enough? Premodern Chinese Thought and the Challenges of Disciplinary Inclusion
October 19, 2021 5:00 pm UK time

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Abstract

TBC

Biography

Leigh is Professor of Political Theory at the London School of Economics’ Department of Government. Before joining the LSE in 2012, Leigh taught and researched at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan; the Department of History, National Taiwan University; and the University of Heidelberg. She obtained her PhD from the University of Chicago. 

Leigh’s scholarship is focused on Chinese political thought, Taiwan studies, global intellectual history, comparative political theory, epistemology, and metahistory. One of her current research projects focuses on articulations of otherness and equality within late Ming neo-Confucian scholars including Jiao Hong and Chen Di. 
Leigh is the author of Making the Political: Founding and Action in the Political Theory of Zhang Shizhao (2010) and Changing Referents: Learning Across Space and Time in China and the West (2015). Leigh also co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Political Theory which compiles a series of articles paving the way towards establishing comparative political theory’s guiding principles and methodologies.

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Contact details

Please contact the event organisers at events@diversityreadinglist.org.

Patronage

This event series is supported by:

  • British Philosophical Association
  • WRoCAH: the Universities of Leeds, Sheffiend and York