Countering the Colonial Project

We still live and die in a colonial world. Yet we have been ensnared into thinking otherwise by dominant, imperial, western-centric and euro-modern modes of relations and reasonings. The colonial status quo has remained intact since 1492. For us, this is a non-negotiable starting point for rendering other ways of being-knowing-living more legible and politically possible.

As south/south, we are initiating the ‘countering the colonial’ project by taking seriously knowledges and praxes for and from the global souths (interpreted as widely as possible and in transnational terms). Through this project, we (cl)aim to create an autonomous, community-serving space, strategically delinked from the metropolitan university, to help normalise interrogating the ‘colonial’ in the past, present and future tenses. We stress the urgency of this space-making since the global academy gags, belittles, caricatures, makes unintelligible, systematically bypasses, enfolds into (neo)liberal logics, and—perhaps worst of all—co-opts ‘untidy’ and ‘unruly’ undertakings of this nature. In our own small ways, we rebel against these tendencies and join the ranks of many fellow travellers today and well before our time, across distinct disciplines and geographies, in questioning the ‘colonial’. 

In doing so, we harbour no facile illusions of ‘decolonising’ this thing or that thing through our scholarly and activist pursuits. Here, we strongly caution against metaphorising decolonisation and hollowing out its political intent in the process. At the same time, colonial/modern orders across the world have erected different modes of power relations and reincarnated themselves to suit their particularities. In other words, there can be no single master discourse or mode of politics against the colonial. Contexts matter. In this sense, we have a responsibility to (historically) locate the political significance of countering the colonial, as anchored in specific struggles. We must work through the theoretical nuances and material stakes of our prefixes (anti-, de-, neo-, post-) and suffixes (-ism, -isms, -ity and -ities) as well as the distinct qualifiers we fasten to the concept (e.g., settler, internal, external, western, nonwestern). Yes: nonwestern. None of that campist ‘anti-imperialism of idiots’ here, please. We are not partial to solely scrutinising the usual western colonial suspects, which dangerously forecloses critiquing other colonial powers outside the ‘west’. 

In creating this space, we have in mind graduate students and early career researchers like ourselves who are wrestling with questions about the colonial. We envision critically moving beyond disciplinary silos and across (geo)political contexts to learn together about themes of common interest, including but not limited to:

  • Indigenous struggles for sovereignty across the world
  • Decolonial thought and praxis in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Anticolonial resistance in s.e.a. and Pasifika
  • Pan-Africanism and Africana theory
  • Afro-Asian anticolonial solidarities
  • Black Radical Tradition
  • Decolonial feminisms
  • Queer liberation as anticolonial liberation
  • Racism and global capitalism
  • Coloniality of climate, colonial ecosystems, and biocoloniality
  • Post(-)colonial thought 
  • Colonialism and the international legal order
  • Pluriversal worlds and reworlding
  • Settler colonialisms
  • The european project as a colonial project
  • The global east(s) 
  • (Im)possibilities for post-socialist and post-colonial intimacies
  • (De)coloniality and the university

This project aspires to:

  • Congregate members of the collective working on questions around the colonial, given that we are often/always tokenised and underserved by our own departments, universities, and academic associations.
  • Prioritise southern knowledges forged in concrete sites of struggles, especially those sidelined by the (anglophone) global academy.
  • Bust foundational myths about the global souths.
  • Amplify global colonial struggles and resistance movements that mainstream media tend to misrepresent, if not wholly overlook.
  • Organise community events like reading groups, writing workshops, seminars, and so on.
  • Collaborate on (anti-)conference panels.
  • Co-write scholarly and public-facing texts.
  • Run fundraisers for/with activists and organisers in the global souths.
  • Work with graduate school applicants seeking peer feedback on research proposals.

As diasporic, exoticised, minoritised, marginalised, racialised academics and activists working our way through western universities across colonial heartlands, we want to further engage and learn with fellow academics and activists outside north american and (western) european contexts. As always, we are open to solidarise and labour with everyone ethically committed to redefining ‘expertise’ and generating knowledges with/for/from the global souths.

This initiative is convened by Antonio Salvador M. Alcazar III.

If you would like to contribute as co-organiser or follow our activities, please sign up here.


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