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Decolonising Social Research Series: Decolonising Epistemologies

November 26, 2020 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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This roundtable will engage with the active process of decolonising knowledges, by presenting alternative epistemologies and praxis emanating from the global South. We will commence by offering a critique of established Western epistemologies, showing how they contribute to forms of colonisation, past and present, and limit possibilities for research. The discussion will then look at examples of non-dominant and non-dominating ways of knowing which are slowly gaining presence in contemporary research. We will engage with the pluriverse, forging links between theorising and activism, and acknowledging the possibilities for knowledge production and solidarity which emerge from building decolonial epistemology. Focussing on the categories of race, gender, caste, and sexuality, this conversation will offer alternative visions/futures not just of relations between people but of people within the beyond-human world.



Samson O. Opondo, Vassar College:

Samson O. Opondo’s research is guided by an interest in colonialism, race and the mediation of estrangement. With an emphasis on violence, ethics, and diplomacies of everyday life, he engages the problematics of humanitarianism, the politics of redemption and the popular culture in urban Africa. He teaches courses on comparative politics, settler colonialism, postcolonial diplomatic cultures and African cities at Vassar College.


Gajendran Ayyathurai, Göttingen University:

Gajendran Ayyathurai studies the history and anthropology of modern India. The problem of caste and why, how, and in what ways privileged castes hegemonize and perpetuate marginality, and the anticaste cultural and political histories of the marginalized animates his research, publishing, and teaching interests. The historical anthropology of indentured labor from South Asia during colonialism and the Indian diaspora in colonial and postcolonial times are also part of his present and future projects. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (Göttingen University, Germany), he is engaged in the study of Tamil Buddhism in South Indian cities.


Sabiha Allouche, University of Exeter:

Sabiha Allouche works in the fields of Gender and Sexuality Studies and Middle East politics. She is an interdisciplinary researcher whose work bridges the gap between political analysis and anthropological writing. Methodologically, she privileges empirically grounded analysis, including ethnographic work, story-telling and life histories, in order to prioritize the lived reality, alongside discourse analysis. While being primarily situated within feminist and queer studies, her work engages with feminist approaches to violence, conflict, migration, and social mobility. Dedicated to producing decolonised knowledge, she is particularly interested in the racialised, sexed and gendered logics that construe international relations both as discipline and practice.


Esmeralda Mariel Martínez Gutiérrez, Autonomous University of Mexico City:

Esmeralda graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico with a Degree in Communication Sciences with a specialty in Audiovisual Production. She is the co-founder of Insubordinadas, a hack feminist collective that seeks to decentralize knowledge around the internet and the use of technologies for information, communication and art; generating processes of feminist popular pedagogy and unschooling in the outskirts of Mexico City since 2016. Esmeralda is also the co-founder of “Reynx Rata”, a trans-peripheral collective that works in the teaching and virtual dissemination of transfeminist activism and philosophy from a community, anti-capitalist and decolonial approach; conducting open study circles and sharing readings, visual and audiovisual content around and with sectors that are less visible or denied by hegemonic feminism (that is, sex workers, the trans community, migrants, indigenous communities, domestic workers, among others) from a critique of identity and intersectionality politics as uncritical, colonial places of systemic co-optation and reinforcement of differences. Esmeralda works as the Dissemination and Continuing Education coordinator of the lecture series in Human Trafficking at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.


The Decolonising Social Research seminar series is for doctoral researchers (and their supervisors) at any and every stage of the doctoral journey, who aspire for their research to contribute towards decolonisation in any space or form. Through the short series of events, we aim to stimulate debate around the tough questions that decolonisation poses for social research, to forge supportive networks across universities of the South West and to signpost readings and resources. Across the series, we will engage with the work of established scholars who have published on different aspects of decolonising research, the ideas and experiences of early career researchers, as well as representatives of marginalised groups, whose knowledge has historically been excluded from the academy.


For each seminar, we will provide recommended reading for those wishing to explore the issues raised further. The seminars will take place as a webinar via Zoom. On registration, participants will receive an email with the Zoom link and recommended reading for the seminar.

Forthcoming seminars in the series:

Decolonising research ethics 17th December 2020 2-4pm

Decolonising methodology 14th January 2021 2-4pm

Decolonising writing and representation – 21st January 2020 2-4pm


November 26, 2020
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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