Call for Participation Workshop Manchester, England

‘Decolonising Critical Thought’ Workshop
Wed 29th April, 2020, 12 to 5pm
International Anthony Burgess Foundation (Manchester)

In recent years, through the contestation of symbolic figures, campaigns
such as #RhodesMustFall have highlighted the lasting impact of colonialism
in the public realm. These campaigns exist alongside wider debates about
the less visible legacy of colonialism in contemporary power relations and
the ongoing exclusions and oppressions that they sustain. In the education
sector, and in Universities in particular, these discussions have prompted
reflection on the possibilities and advantages of decolonising the
curriculum. Attempts to diversify a Euro-centric and culturally hegemonic
syllabus, have revealed more deep-rooted, structural challenges than a mere
re-shuffling of the personnel that appear on reading lists. At the same
time, important discussions have started in a wide range of research fields
and disciplines on the colonial assumptions underpinning established
intellectual traditions and research practices. This project poses the
question of what it means to decolonise the methodologies used for engaging
in intellectual production. We need to ask whether the concepts and
questions through which we inscribe our inquiries are committed to modes of
thought that perpetuate and sustain coloniality.

The *Critical Theory in Hard Times* research network was initiated in
February 2019 at Manchester Metropolitan with a research cluster event
centred on the question: ‘What does it means to be critical today?’ This
academic year, we hope to reflect on the relationship between coloniality
and critical thought today. Our efforts as a network to re-think critical
theory beyond the silos of particular traditions of critical traditions
(including but not limited to postcolonial and decolonial thought,
feminism, critical race theory, Frankfurt School, Gramscian, Bourdieusian,
Foucauldian approaches, deconstruction), lead us to ask about the potential
for dialogue and engagement between these approaches concerning the
question of (de)colonisation. This workshop will ask to what extent a
dialogue between these traditions, or a clarification of the terms of their
incompatibility, can contribute towards identifying the resources that they
provide towards creating a *global critical theory*.

We are looking to experiment with the format of our engagement by hosting
less formal modes of presentation in order to encourage discussions between
contributors rather than a series of presentations.

For this reason, we ask for a 200-word statement of interest and an
indication of the questions with which you are interested to engage –
either from the indicative list or by adding to it.

Please send contributions by Friday 28th February to
criticaltheorynetwork@gmail.com (Participants will be notified of
acceptance by 13th March)

We particularly encourage the participation of PGRs and ECRs.

Indicative Questions:

– What are the colonial and racialised structures that endure in your
field of study?
– What does it mean to ‘decolonise’ critical thought?
– How can we relate to the teaching and research conversations on
‘decolonising’ the curriculum and research?
– What are the risks of institutionalisation, co-optation etc. and how
can they be avoided?
– What is the critical content of decolonisation?
– What is the broader significance of these discussions for contemporary
politics?
– What dialogues / conversations can be started between different
strands of CT?
– How is the issue of epistemic incommensurability / incommunicability
to be dealt with?
– What does it mean to be methodologically decolonial?
– What is a decolonial methodology?
– Is a ‘global critical theory’ possible?
– In what ways does ‘practice as research’ engage with the
decolonisation of critical thought?

*Critical Theory in Hard Times* network co-convenors: Sadiya Akram, Paul
Giladi, Davide Schmid, Robert Jackson