Decolonising the Anthropocene IR/Geography Workshop

Decolonising the Anthropocene

27 November 2015,
Westminster Forum, 5th Floor, 32-38 Wells Street
University of Westminster, London, W1T 3UW.

This event is a collaboration between members of the Race, Culture and Equality Research Group and members of the Colonial/Postcolonial/Decolonial Working Group of the British International Studies Organisation. All welcome!

The concept of the Anthropocene involves the rejection of one of modernity’s most important tenets: the nature/culture divide. Yet from a post-western perspective this can hardly be seen as a ground-breaking discovery. The colonial experience has for long evidenced the destructive nature of this divide while indigenous cosmologies, religious worldviews as well as other (non-western) philosophies have provided alternatives to the nature/culture divide and continue to do so. Does the holistic and relational understanding of reality entailed in the idea of the Anthropocene present an opportunity to rethink the sources of our knowledge production and work towards a more inclusive and sustainable use and distribution of the available planetary resources; or is the ‘discovery’ of the Anthropocene yet another stage of Eurocentric knowledge production?

Who sets the agenda, which voices and topics continue to be silenced and do they consolidate or dissipate existing inequalities? How much space is there for the ‘pluriversality’ Walter Mignolo calls for in the potentially totalising proclamation of the Anthropocene? What does the attention to complexity and non-linearity mean for post- and decolonial understandings and attachment to issues of agency, autonomy and self-determination? This workshop will examine these and other questions, both theoretically and empirically, to explore the merits and challenges of the Anthropocene to decoloniality and vice versa. Understood as a triple invitation to de-mythologise, de-silence and de-colonise, decoloniality combines both a deconstructive toolbox for critique at the epistemological level and a constructive imperative to counter the colonial (material) forms of extreme power inequality.

This event is part of the Living in the Anthropocene Series.

Confirmed speakers and roundtable discussants: Patricia Noxolo (Birmingham), Kathryn Yusoff (Queen Mary), Mark Jackson (Bristol), Olivia Rutazibwa (Portsmouth), Angela Last (Glasgow).

This is a free event. Please register so that we can get an idea of numbers.

For queries, please contact Olivia Rutazibwa or Angela Last.

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