Sandew Hira: 'Decolonizing the Mind, Scientific Colonialism, and the Legacy of Slavery and Colonialism'
There is growing criticism of Eurocentric sciences inside and outside the academic world. This critique is different and more encompassing than the Marxist critique of “bourgeois” science. It is more encompassing because it questions the very fundamental principles of the European Enlightenment tradition to which Marxism belongs. And it produces alternative knowledge that is rooted in the experience of the colonized people of the world. It has a wide variety of labels: decolonial studies, postcolonial studies, subaltern studies, afro-centrism, feminism and intersectionality, and anti-orientalism. This critique also links the dynamics of academia with the activism of social movements. It encompasses critique and alternative in how to approach science from natural and social sciences to art and literature.
Academics and independent scholars from social movements are working together in developing a systematic and holistic theoretical framework to study the influence of colonialism on science and knowledge production. This work is being carried out under the banner of Decolonizing The Mind (DTM). In this framework the legacy of colonialism is expressed in five dimensions: geography, economics, social relations, politics and culture. The DTM framework has three lines of work: a critique of the bias in science; advocacy of alternative analyses rooted in the experiences of colonized people; and following through on policy implication of the critique and alternative.
Sandew Hira is an independent scholar and activist. He is director of the International Institute for Scientific Research.
The interdisciplinary research group ‘Race and Resistance across Borders in the Long Twentieth Century’ brings together researchers in the history, literature and culture of anti-racist movements in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, the United States, and beyond.