Decoloniality after Decolonization: The question of knowledge and higher education in Southern Africa and the Global South

“The Knowledge Society” is a common expression nowadays in the Global North and the Global West, were “knowledge” means technological knowledge and training geared towards economic growth, development and modernization. There are two issues that are bypassed: one is the distinction between science and technology; the other is the meaning of “knowledge” in the drastic organization of the world order after the end of the Cold War. The legacies of communism (collapse of the Soviet Union and the death of Mao Tse-tung) mutated into Dewesternization; and Decolonization during the Cold War mutated into Decoloniality. At the same time, Western Civilization had to adapt to these new conditions: The Westernization of the world, as it was between 1500 and 2000, was not longer possible Dewesternization (lead by China and Russia and in certain way India—the BRI countries) put a halt to Western global designs and Decoloniality put a halt to the racial, sexual, epistemic and political “normality.” In this knew configuration of the world order and the socio-economic and subjective expectations, “knowledge” becomes crucial: what knowledge, by whom, what for are the questions to be asked and addressed? “The knowledge society” cannot longer be taken for granted as if “knowledge” was the neutral epistemology of a triumphant globalization of Western “modernity.” “Knowledge” is crossed over daily by the three major conflicting trajectories of our time and new actors are reclaiming their right to know, rejecting the normality of being known. To interrogate “the geo-politic and body-politics of knowledge” in the current world (dis) order is the main orientation of this inter-university and inter-national workshop.

Project leader(s):
  • Walter Mignolo (Center for Global Studies and The Humanities, Duke University)
STIAS fellow(s):
  • Leo Ching (Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University)
  • Roberto Dainotto (Department of Romance Studies, Duke University)
  • Catherine Walsh (Department of Literature and Cultural Studies, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar)

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