Netherlands, Utrecht

What does it Mean to Decolonize II, On Education, Nature and Conviviality

when 27 June 2017 - 13 July 2017
language English
duration 3 weeks
credits 6 EC
fee EUR 1145

The 8th Middelburg Decolonial Summer School, 2017, will explore decolonial horizons of living in harmony (Sumak Kawsay) and conviviality. To do so it is necessary to unlearn dominant structures of knowledge and assumptions taken for granted about life, politics, nature, race and sexuality. The 2017 Summer School will be an exercise in shifting the geographies of knowing, sensing and believing.

Being aware of learning through bodily senses opens up relations towards living in plenitude that challenge the Western divide between "nature" and "culture". "Nature", like race and sex, is one of three pillars in Western narratives to secure the position of Man, the over representation of the Human as Sylvia Wynter' convincingly argued. The separation of the human species from earth has had enormous consequences. The environmental crisis is the most visible. The commodification of food and health follow suit.

Together we will explore forms of relationality that make us all kin with the living earth (Pachamama, Mother Earth, Gaia). Our task would be to generate understanding and praxis based on relationality rather than on objectivity and separation. To do so, it is necessary to delink from the hegemonic narrative of ‘nature’ as resource at the service of growth and development, in order to relink with earth and the regeneration of life.

The decolonial tasks of delinking and relating cannot be individually achieved, they need to be done in conviviality. Conviviality requires building communal togetherness and engaging in decolonial conversations capable of changing the terms of the modern/colonial conversations (e.g., from beliefs and theories and education to imposed common sense).

To pursue our goals, we will focus on three themes: eating, healing and learning. Intellectuals from the humanities and social sciences as well as practicing artists will contribute to the conversation. The overall issue to be explored will be:
a) What is the rhetoric of modernity in the spheres of food, education and health that keep us fixed on what to eat, what to learn and how to heal;
b) What is the hidden logic of coloniality;
c) and what is decolonial horizon.
Decolonially we are interested in mutual understanding of how colonial wounds (humiliations, disdain, dehumanization) are inflicted through food, health and education in order to engage in decolonial healing for living in plenitude.

Course leader

Walter Mignolo & 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 undergraduate students.
(Students from University College Roosevelt can obtain full course 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.

Credits info

6 EC
Certificate of Attendance

Fee info

EUR 1145: Course + course materials
EUR 1645: Course + course materials + housing


Utrecht Summer School doesn't offer scholarships for this course.

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