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Querying nature, colonialism and decolonialism II

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups:
Organizers: Nicholas Padilla, Kiran Asher, Mara Goldman
Chairs: Nicholas Padilla


“Colonial” ideas and ideologies continue to hold sway in the disciplinary production of knowledge about nature-cultures, and shape every day material practices and larger political economic relations around the globe. Of course, grassroots communities and organic intellectuals resisted, reshaped and interpellated the ideas and ideologies of Enlightenment rationality and disciplinary knowledge since their inception. Various forms of “anti-colonial” practices and theories elaborate the implicit and explicit ways in which different forms of sociality in and with “nature” were conceptualized and enacted as material or lived realities. In the 21st century new variants of anti-colonial thought address the ongoing challenges of the socio-natural world, which unevenly affect those in the global South. They also imagine alternative and just ways of living in the world.
This set of two panels aims to go beyond (mis)readings of “decoloniality” or decolonizing as simply alternatives or oppositions to prior methodological and analytical critiques of colonial forms of power/knowledge. We also eschew academic fashions (and hence are not citing proper named scholars) and the inadvertent romantism of “nativism” to critically engage with practices and theories that emerge under the sign of “decoloniality” or “decolonizing.” Panelists draw on their fieldwork in a variety of different sites around the globe to (a) examine the work that social movements, and communities are currently carrying out in the context of epistemic and actual violence, and (b) bring insights from the field to bear on analytical and theoretical frameworks of “anti-colonial”/”de-colonial” thought.
Panelists will move across scales, locations and theoretical framings to discuss a set of pressing questions/concerns including:
- how local communities (including indigenous ones) take a pragmatic approach to “decolonizing” that celebrates the numerous small achievements that exist within a larger context of intense extractivism, dispossession, and violence.
- How the on-going processes of colonization and silencing in various location (East Africa, South India, Colombia, Nepal) vis-à-vis nature/environment contribute to “decolonial” debates
- the politics, praxis, and political ecologies of “decolonial natures” and how they are contingent, ongoing, full of compromise, conflict, and making do
- the politics and praxis of already-existing decolonial natures and how they are contingent, ongoing, full of compromise, conflict, and making do
- the theoretical and methodological lessons we can draw from fieldwork
- contextualizing current de/anti-colonial work and tracing its genealogies
- the relations and disjunctions between the three “Ds” (dialectics, deconstruction, decolonizing)
- subject formation through “decolonizing” practices


Type Details Minutes
Discussant Kiran Asher University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 5
Panelist Sharlene Mollett University of Toronto 15
Panelist Andrea Nightingale Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences 15
Panelist Mara Goldman University of Colorado, Boulder 15
Panelist Christopher Courtheyn Universidad del Rosario 15
Panelist Yaffa Truelove University of Colorado 10

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