(De-)Colonizing Knowledge: Figures, Narratives, and Practices

(De-)Colonizing Knowledge: Figures, Narratives, and Practices

Sebastian Conrad (FU Berlin); Alexandra Przyrembel (KHK Essen)
Koserstr. 20, 14195 Berlin, Raum A 336
From - Until
16.02.2015 - 17.02.2015
Przyrembel, Alexandra

The workshop “(De-)Colonizing Knowledge: Figures, Narratives, and Practices” aims at analyzing the interrelationship between processes of (de-)colonization and the production of knowledge during the 19th and 20th centuries. In recent years, the history of knowledge has developed into one of the most thriving fields in historiography. Following Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978), discussion focused on the production of ‘colonial knowledge’ by particularly analyzing hegemonic dimensions of knowledge in the colonial context. This research included a broad range of different methodological approaches and themes – from the transnational networks of geographers to the role of intermediaries as ‘brokers of modernity.’ However, two perspectives seem to have been widely neglected. First, the impact of ‘local knowledge’ on the (re-)definition of knowledge as a category. Second, the transition from colonial to decolonized states and the consequences of this process for the circulation and distribution of knowledge.

The proposed workshop will examine discussions and attempts to (de)colonize knowledge production within academic disciplines as well as ‘classical’ writings. Attempting to avoid any teleological narratives and dichotomic boundaries, we will seek to explore how ‘Western’ thinkers like Max Weber or Pierre Bourdieu might have framed their writings within colonial narratives. Additionally, we hope to analyze the practice of knowledge production itself, whether it be in the form of participant observations, social surveys, or the creation of legal norms. The following questions will structure our discussions: How is knowledge production intertwined with ‘unconscious’ or informell practices of information gathering? How can we integrate ‘local’ perspectives without constructing the ‘local’ as a fixed entity? How can we define transitions from colonial to postcolonial contexts, and what are the concrete consequences for ‘new’ disciplines like development studies? And: How can we decenter established master narratives and terminology?

Collected papers (approx. 200 pages) will be made available to potential participants by early February. We kindly request to register until February 6, 2015 by sending an e-mail to Matthias Thaden (mthaden@zedat.fu-berlin.de).


Monday, February 16 2015
9.00 - 9.30: Decolonizing Knowledge? Welcome and Introduction (Sebastian Conrad, Berlin; Alexandra Przyrembel, Essen

9.30-11.00: Panel I Decolonizing Master Narratives (Chair: Sebastian Conrad, Berlin)
Alia Al-Saji (Montreal), (De-)Colonizing Time: Bergson and the Temporal Schemas of Coloniality
Manu Goswami (New York), Provincializing Economics: From Keynes to Amartya Sen

11.00-11.30: Coffee Break

11.30-13.00: Panel II Decolonizing Practices of Knowledge I (Chair: Dagmar Schaefer, Berlin)
Andrew Zimmerman (Washington, D.C.), On Decolonizing Weber
Tong Lam (Toronto), Semicoloniality and Social Scientific Knowledge Production in Twentieth Century China

13.00-14.00: Lunch Break

14.00-15.30: Panel III Decolonizing Practices of Knowledge II (Chair: Harald Fischer-Tiné, Zürich)
Milinda Banerjee (Kolkata / Heidelberg), Decolonization, Heteroglossia, and the Rule of Law. Re-Reading Radhabinod Pal’s Judgment in the Tokyo Trial
George Steinmetz (Ann Arbor), Scientific Colonialism and Sociology’s Moment: The British and French Empires, 1940s-1960s

15.30-16.00: Coffee Break

16.00-17.30: Panel IV Decolonization and the Making of Post-colonial Knowledge (Chair: Andreas Eckert, Berlin)
Senayon Olaoluwa (Cape Town), Exile beyond the Tropes of Migrancy: Achebe as an African Theorist of Exile and Development
Sarah Stein (Kassel), African Cinemas in the Context of Decolonization - A Portal of Postcolonial Knowledge Distribution?

17.30-18.00: Coffee Break

18.00: Ann Stoler (New York), On Duress: Concept-Work for Our Times (Public Lecture, Hörsaal B)

Tuesday, February 17 2015
9.30- 11.00: Panel V Beyond Orientalism (Chair: Alexandra Przyrembel, Essen)
Yehuda Sharim (Houston), On Oriental Consciousness: Sephardic-Mizrahi Subjects in Colonial Palestine, 1918-1948
Huaiyu Chen (Tempe), Zhang Xing (Beijing / Berlin), Orientalism and Cultural Nationalism: The Making of Buddhology and Indology in Modern China and its Euro-Asian Context
Niels Riecken (Berlin), Putting centrisms in their Place: Abdallah Laroui’s Epistemology of History and the Critique of Culturalist Knowledge Production

11.00- 11.30: Coffee Break

11.30-13.00: Panel VI Body Languages (Chair: Nadin Heé, Berlin)
Stefan Hübner (Munich), Analyzing the East Asian Body: (Post-) Colonial Physical Education between ‚Authoritarian High Modernism‘ and Nation-Building
Jialin Christina Wu (Paris), Performing Colonial Knowledge

13.00-14.00: Lunch Break

14.00-15.30: Panel VII Ordering Migration (Chair: Minu Haschemi Yekani (Berlin)
Michael Kozakowski (Florence), Migration in the Crucible of Decolonization
Peo Hansen/Stefan Jonson (Norköpping), The Past that Europe Forgot: The Erasure of Colonialism in European Integration Historiography

15.30: Final Discussion: Decolonizing Knowledge?

Contact (announcement)

Matthias Thaden

Freie Universität Berlin, Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Arbeitsbereich Globalgeschichte
Koserstraße 20, 14195 Berlin