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Workshop | Academic research in a decolonizing world: towards new ways of thinking and acting critically?

October 8 - October 9

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What do concepts of ‘de/coloniality’ and ‘postcolonial’ mean for current critical scholarship? During this two-day workshop, organized by the KITLV and Leiden University, we will explore why and how this question matters to scholars today. Together with two internationally renowned  keynote speakers; dr. Priyamvada Gopal and prof. dr. Walter Mignolo, and several early career and senior scholars, we aim to reflect upon and deepen critical awareness of our past and present academic positions and practices in relation to the call to decolonize academia that has recently intensified inside and outside of academic institutes worldwide.

The workshop will consist of two interconnected parts, including semi-closed panel sessions and open keynote lectures and roundtable sessions, divided over two days. On the first day we will engage with research and teaching practices through the lenses of decolonial and postcolonial thought. Two panels (Postcolonial & Decolonial Thought in Dialogue and Education & Decoloniality) will be followed by the two keynotes and a roundtable discussion in which we will reflect upon (post)colonialism and decoloniality in the Dutch context by comparing with earlier moments of critical thinking, and their impact, on practices of teaching, research and publishing in Academia. What is new in the discussions today and why? How can we go forward? On the second day, we will discuss concrete case studies in interaction with theory, divided over three panels (Citizenship & Intersectionalities, Mobilities & Heritage, and Alternative Ecologies). In the afternoon, we will engage in a roundtable public debate on the implications in and beyond academia of insights shared during the workshop that will follow the perspectives of scholars, curators, and activists.

Keynote speakers
Dr. Priyamvada Gopal is a senior lecturer at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of English. Her primary interests are in colonial and postcolonial literature and theory (overview). She is currently finishing a book entitled ‘Insurgent Empire: Anticolonialism and British Dissent’ (Verso, 2018). Her work is frequently discussed in Indian, British, and international news media.
Prof. dr. Walter Mignolo is a semiotician (École des Hautes Études) and professor of literature at Duke University. He has published extensively (overview) on different aspects of the modern and colonial world, exploring concepts such as global coloniality, the geopolitics of knowledge, transmodernity, border thinking, and pluriversality.

Save the date
Seats for the public parts of the conference are limited. If you want to attend, please save the date. Further details about the programme, participants, locations, and the registration will follow by the end of August. This workshop is co-funded by LU research profile ‘Asian Modernities and Traditions’ (AMT), KITLV Research, KITLV Vereniging.

Hosts: Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) & Leiden University/Global Interactions
Organizers: Sanne Rotmeijer (KITLV), Marieke Bloembergen (KITLV), Priya Swamy (National Museum of World Cultures)

Photo: ‘Love burns’ by Giovani Zanolino


October 8
October 9
Event Category:


Leiden University