Netherlands, Middelburg

What does it Mean to Decolonize? Democracy and the Others of Europe

when 19 June 2018 - 5 July 2018
language English
duration 3 weeks
credits 6 EC
fee EUR 1260

The Middelburg Decolonial Summer School, in its ninth year, will continue to explore the question 'What does it mean to decolonize?' with a focus on the 'Others of Europe'. We will walk around praxis of living in harmony and plenitude that call the universality of western democracy and its Eurocentric legacy into question. All in collaboration with numerous guest lecturers from Europe and beyond.

By Others of Europe we understand both the other Europes inside, silenced and shattered by the narratives of modernity (Roma, Gitanos, Gaelic, African Diaspora, Suomi, immigrants,...) as well as the others of Europe outside (first nations and indigenous from Africa, the Americas and Asia). The others of Europe is also the non-Eurocentered Europe within European territories, as well as the critique of Eurocentrism in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Eurocentrism is not a geographic but a complex set and flows of believes, knowledges and affects (sensing) still orienting the life of billions of people.

By Democracy we understand both the Eurocentered name and vision of living together in harmony and the pretext to impose European vision of governance to the rest of the planet. Therefore we do not take democracy for granted as we confront it with the Euro-US un-democratic politics towards the other Europe and the others of Europe. What “decolonizing democracy” may mean will be explored in relation to the double trajectory of the Others of Europe: its internal and external subjugated people's.

The resurgence of Ubuntu in Africa, of Sumak Kawsay in South America, of He in China, of Ummah in Islamic communities allows us to think that pluriversal visions of governmentality and of conviviality are possible. The first decolonial step to move towards pluriversality is to decenter and humble the Eurocentric universal rhetoric of democracy in order to liberate alternative praxis of living in harmony.

Could we envision communal and global orders predicated in pluriversality rather than in universality? Could we think beyond the categories of Western civilization learning from non-European cultures, civilizations and traditions that the rhetoric of modernity silenced, disavowed and deligitimized? Can we envision praxis of living that allow for co-existing alternatives?

This course is co-organized by the Center of Global Studies and the Humanities, Duke University.

Course leader

Rolando Vazquez

Target group

Designed for graduate students (Ph.D. and M.A.) from all disciplinary backgrounds, we will encourage participants interested in creating “working groups” that will continue decolonial research agendas after the end of the seminar. The working groups would develop “reports” and “activities” that may take the form of traditional paper, video-documentary, web-page, artistic creation, museum exhibitions, community work or other initiatives connected to the participant’s interests. The course is also open to interested advanced undegraduate students. (Students from University College Roosevelt can obtain full credits with the writing of a final research paper).

Course aim

The course will make the students acquainted with the most current debates around decolonial critical thought, in particular in relation to the construction of alternative futures. It also aims at articulating research groups and networks that would complete the summer course with concrete agendas for producing original and collaborative projects aimed at enriching and furthering the scope of the decolonial debate.

Fee info

EUR 1260: Course + course materials
EUR 500: Housing

Register for this course
on course website