The Culture of Coloniality

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by Daniela Ortiz
published in Decolonizing Museums, edited by Internationale Online

In a context of extreme colonial violence which the migrant and refugee populations are currently experiencing in Europe, it can be useful and necessary to think about decolonising the museum. But there is a danger that it may become a matter that is totally out of context and even insulting if it does not place at its centre a discussion concerning the situation that is currently imposed by Europe’s migratory control system on which people come from the former colonies. Decolonising a cultural institution does not just mean considering the matter and organising exhibitions and seminars. In the current context, decolonising a museum requires a constant effort to take a position in regard to the migratory control system; it requires accepting that it is impossible to continue programming activities and events while there is a total normalisation of the existence of Migrant Detention Centres, forced deportation flights on a mass and individual scale, individuals with semi-rights and anti-rights, and situations of extreme violence in border zones which are the local contexts where these projects are presented. Decolonising a museum means sending letters to the Ministry of Interior, organising press conferences to condemn the use of culture in the discourse of integration, making the legal apparatus of the museum available to persecuted people; it means acknowledging the level of urgency imposed in the European context by the backbone of coloniality.

Speaking against the Void: Decolonial Transfeminist Relations and its Radical Potential

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If postsocialism is not at all postcolonial, decolonial transfeminist re-reading of capitalism in its correspondence with coloniality of gender and racism profoundly related with class and gender can shed new light to relational processes of colonial/imperial differentiation and subjectification across former communist/socialist space and Global South, and in order to disrupt the monolithic history of feminism allows us to tackle the ticklish subject of feminist struggle from marginalized/minoritized positions, as well as to re-think the new possibilities for building critical alliances transversally with a vision of pluriversal future. Here, the imaginary and affective dimension is playing one of the crucial roles to be taken into analysis.

What is Domitila doing there?

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by Trenza Collective

Dozen of pages are written about all the actors and subjects involved: about Not Dressed to Conquer/ Haute Couture 4. Transport, about the Spanish curators Paul Preciado and Valentin Roma, and the German co-curators Hans D. Christ and Iris Dressler, about the artists, the director, the King, the Queen as a sponsor of the museum, the Macba and their contract with the Wurttemberg Kunstverein. And of all these people not a single person questions if a helmeted, naked Domitila trapped between a dog and the king of Spain is really a critique of colonialism. The only statement by Doujak that is cited is the one she gives last December in the São Paulo Biennial, about how the work “plays with power relations and subverts them.” In the center of all gazes, in the very middle of an artwork that supposedly criticizes colonialism, Domitila and what she represents remains invisible to all. Here in the most mediatic moment a political artist concerned with oppression could wish for, Ines Doujak says nothing. Neither do the curators. Nobody speaks up or seems to be bothered by the objectualization of Domitila. The whole perspective that would make her struggle as a political subject to be understood is missing.

The Johannesburg Salon, Volume 8

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Volume 8 of The Johannesburg Salon is now live. Curated by Ayana Smythe (University of California, Santa Barbara), Megan Jones (University of Stellenbosch), Leigh-Ann Naidoo (University of the Witwatersrand) and Achille Mbembe (University of the Witwatersrand), it captures the form and spirit of “Archives of the Non-Racial”, the Mobile Workshop organized in 2014 by The Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism (JWTC) and the Seminar in Experimental Critical Thought (SECT) of the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Current features include: Angela Davis on her life in the struggle against racism; Achille Mbembe on the dream of a world free from the burden of race; Ruha Benjamin on what we owe each other, Joshua Williams on the sort of community envisioned by the first-person plural “we”; Casey Golomski on memories of Apartheid-era Swaziland; Jorge Campos on reading John Berger from the back of the bus; Pule Welch on the idea of the human race; Kirk Sides on anti-racism and the ethics of listening; Nicky Falkof on extracts from an abortive travelogue, written in the style of Hunter S. Thompson; handwritten notes by Fredo Rivera; Helen Douglas on why the wheels in her head go round and round; Josslyn Luckett on the chronicles of a comic mulatta; Tania Lizarazo on moving utopia; Simon Abramowitsch his notes from Berkeley to South Africa; Tana Nolethu Forrest’s photo essay on affective journeying; Tjasa Kancler’s documentary video; texts and images by Naadira Patel; Sarah Godsell’s notebook as a holding space for thought and emotion; Federico Navarrete on metaphors of racialization and sexuality in the Americas; Danai Mupotsa’s Qunu poems; Ghassan Hage’s handwritten notes; Roberta Estrela D’Alva’s poems; Kelly Gillespie on the bus as method and Sharad Chari on how to get off the bus.

La esperanza del monstruo democrático, entre Syriza y Podemos

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Antonio Negri / Raúl Sánchez Cedillo

«Un espectro se cierne sobre Europa» : así titulaba su portada hace unos días el diario italiano Il Manifesto, comentando las visitas de Tsipras y Varoufakis a los gobiernos europeos. Una verdadera pesadilla para los ordoliberales alemanes, un Geisterfahrer precisamente, el conductor suicida que quiere estamparse contra el autobús europeo: así ha escrito en su primera página Der Spiegel. Imaginemos lo que podría ocurrir con la victoria de Podemos en España: ¡qué enorme espectro se verá entonces al acecho, un verdadero monstruo generado por los explotados y por las fuerzas productivas de la cuarta economía europea! En pocas semanas comenzarán las citas electorales en España y se repetirá, con fuerza redoblada, la cantinela de los gobiernos europeos destinada a meter miedo a las y los ciudadanos españoles. Prepáremonos. Con la seguridad de que la prepotencia de los malos augurios de esta propaganda será derrotada. Pero mientras tanto, preparémonos: ¿qué podrá replicar Podemos sobre Europa?

Catalunya Trans

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Paul B. Preciado

En el caso del devenir-Catalunya-libre, o bien la independencia es el objetivo final de un trámite político que tiende a la fijación de una identidad nacional, a la cristalización de un mapa del poder, o por el contrario se trata de un proceso de experimentación social y subjetiva que implica la puesta en cuestión de todas las identidades normativas (nacionales, de clase, género, sexuales, territoriales, lingüísticas, raciales, de diferencia corporal o cognitiva…).

O bien la masculinidad, la feminidad, la nación, las fronteras, las demarcaciones territoriales y lingüísticas… prevalecen sobre la infinitud de series posibles de relaciones establecidas y por establecer o bien fabricamos juntos el entusiasmo experimental capaz de sostener un proceso constituyente permanentemente abierto.

Decolonization is not a metaphor

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by Eve Tuck, K. Wayne Yang

Our goal in this article is to remind readers what is unsettling about decolonization. Decolonization brings about the repatriation of Indigenous land and life; it is not a metaphor for other things we want to do to improve our societies and schools. The easy adoption of decolonizing discourse by educational advocacy and scholarship, evidenced by the increasing number of calls to “decolonize our schools,” or use “decolonizing methods,” or, “decolonize student thinking”, turns decolonization into a metaphor. As important as their goals may be, social justice, critical methodologies, or approaches that decenter settler perspectives have objectives that may be incommensurable with decolonization. Because settler colonialism is built upon an entangled triad structure of settler-native-slave, the decolonial desires of white, non-white, immigrant, postcolonial, and oppressed people, can similarly be entangled in resettlement, reoccupation, and reinhabitation that actually further settler colonialism. The metaphorization of decolonization makes possible a set of evasions, or “settler moves to innocence”, that problematically attempt to reconcile settler guilt and complicity, and rescue settler futurity. In this article, we analyze multiple settler moves towards innocence in order to forward “an ethic of incommensurability” that recognizes what is distinct and what is sovereign for project(s) of decolonization in relation to human and civil rights based social justice projects. We also point to unsettling themes within transnational/Third World decolonizations, abolition, and critical space-place pedagogies, which challenge the coalescence of social justice endeavors, making room for more meaningful potential alliances.

Decolonizing the Transgender Imaginary

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Aren Aizura, Marcia Ochoa, Salvador Vidal-Ortiz, Trystan Cotton, Carsten Balzer/Carla LaGata, special issue editors

TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Volume 1, Issue 3
Duke University Press, 2014

What is at stake in acknowledging transgender studies’ Anglophone roots in the global North and West? What kinds of politics might emerge from challenging the assumption that biological sex—or the categories “man” and “woman”—is stable and self-evident across time, space, and culture? This collection asks how trans scholarship can decolonize, rather than reproduce, dominant imaginaries of sexuality and gender.

The big prison. Storys of harraga

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Prisons fulfil central political and economic functions. They are industrial complexes that generate high profits, and at the same time they are internment camps for those not wanted in this society. Numerous groups of persons unwilling or unable to cope with the demands of late capitalism in the global North are affected by imprisonment.

Migrants are one of the most important and largest groups of persons imprisoned. For them the “small prison” is a part and a condensed expression of the big prison: this is the society in which they live, but are systematically prevented from participating in. Both the big and the small prisons individualize and moralize social problems, responding with radical exclusion.

This webjournal is part of a bigger project in the framework of WienWoche, “About borders and walls. Migration and Prison”, led by Hor 29 Novembar.

The Johannesburg Salon, Volume 7

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The publication of the next volume of the Johannesburg Salon. Volume 7 centres on a collection of essays convened for Achille Mbembe’s African Future Cities Seminar, held at Harvard University in Autumn of last year. Edited by Stephanie Bosch Santana, the pieces explore the continent’s diverse urbanisms with an eye towards future trajectories of inventiveness, fortification, resilience and segregation.

In the Editorial section, artist Raimi Gbadamosi remembers the late Stuart Hall, Ashleigh Harris discusses style in recent diasporic African fiction, Helena Chavez Mac Gregor explores emergent political formations in Mexico and elsewhere, Lewis Gordon ruminates on the philosophical blues, Jonathan Klaaren reflects on the limits of the South African legal system and Ellison Tjirera makes a case for Windhoek’s city-ness. Catherine Portevin interviews Achille Mbembe (in French) about how his book Critique de la Raison Negre draws on the theories of Frantz Fanon and others to enter into dialogue with Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The AFC symposium is complemented by Bregtje van der Haak’s exclusive interview with Rem Koolhaas, in which the architect meditates upon the meanings and possibilites of his Lagos Project, now fifteen years old.