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CPP Colloquium with Yolande Jansen: “‘Decolonising philosophy’ and the postcolonial and decolonial humanities”

Thursday 23 May 2019
CPP Colloquia 2018-2019
P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden

'Decolonising philosophy’ and the postcolonial and decolonial humanities


The Center for Political Philosophy in Leiden is pleased to announce a talk by

Yolande Jansen


In this lecture I reflect on current debates about ‘decolonising’ philosophy and the revision of curricula for that purpose. I argue that in this debate, philosophers need to take into account more systematically than has been done so far the appoaches and methodologies that have been developed in decolonial and/or postcolonial studies in the broader humanities. With Nikita Dhawan, I argue that philosophy not only has to become more reflexive of its history as a discipline deeply embedded in coloniality, but also that it has to become anti-disciplinary or postdisciplinary: philosophers have to critically inquire about the framing and boundaries of what counts as philosophy. Two specific postcolonial methodologies and pedagogies are in my view helpful for taking up this task. Firstly, critical pedagogies of reading. I will focus here on the notions of 'suturing', ‘critical literacy’ and ‘planetarity’ developed by Gayatri Spivak and further developed by Dhawan. Secondly, reflection on the relation between cognition/reason and the imagination for understanding and critiquing coloniality. I engage here with the work of Charles Mills, who was one of the first to discuss the need for ‘decolonising political philosophy’. I argue that Mills falls a little short of his own project by remaining focused on cognition and epistemology, for example in his recent Black Rights/White Wrongs. I will reflect on the essay 'poetry and cognition' from early postcolonial scholar/poet Aimé Césaire (1944) and on an article on 'opacity' by the poet Edouard Glissant, to critically discuss the focus on cognition in contemporary philosophical debates about decolonisation, be it in terms of 'epistemic injustice' (Fricker), or 'white ignorance' (Mills). 


Yolande Jansen is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and Special Professor of Humanism in Relation to Religion and Secularity for the Socrates Foundation at the VU University Amsterdam. She is the author of Secularism, Assimilation and the Crisis of Multiculturalism; French modernist legacies (2014) and edited The Irregularization of Migration in Europe; Detention, Deportation, Drowning (2015), together with Joost de Bloois and Robin Celikates. She is the project-leader of an NWO-project about 'Critique of Religion; Framing Jews and Muslims in public debate and political theory'. She recently contributed to the Oxford Handbook of Secularism with an article analysing the rise of the secularism/religion dyad in international public affairs and philosophy.

About the Center for Political Philosophy (CPP) Colloquia Series

The CPP is a collaboration between the Institute for Philosophy and the Institute for Political Science at Leiden University. Attendance of the Colloquia is free and there is no need to register. See CPP for more information. For further questions please contact dr. Dorota Mokrosinska at d.m.mokrosinska@phil.leidenuniv.nl

All are welcome!

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