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The alternative is to reject the aff - key to ‘decolonize’ education

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The alternative is to reject the aff - key to ‘decolonize’ education

Baker, Professor of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester, 12

(Michael, October 31 - November 4, , American Educational Studies Association, Annual Conference Seattle, Washington, “Decolonial Education: Meanings, Contexts, and Possibilities,”, Accessed: 7/7/13, LPS.)

What do decoloniality and decolonial education mean? Where does this movement come from? What are the key ideas that underlie and comprise decolonial education? What does decolonial education look like in practice? My presentation will introduce a decolonial perspective on modernity and sketch the implications of this perspective for rethinking modern education beyond the epistemological boundaries of modernity. The overall argument can be seen as an attempt to reveal, critique, and change the modern geopolitics of knowledge, within which modern western education first emerged and remains largely concealed.Decoloniality involves the geopolitical reconceptualization of knowledge. In order to build a universal conception of knowledge, western epistemology (from Christian theology to secular philosophy and science) has pretended that knowledge is independent of the geohistorical (Christian Europe) and biographical conditions (Christian white men living in Christian Europe) in which it is produced. As a result, Europe became the locus of epistemic enunciation, and the rest of the world became the object to be described and studied from the European perspective. The modern geopolitics of knowledge was grounded in the suppression of sensing and the body, and of its geo-historical location. The foundations of knowledge were and remain territorial and imperial. The claims to universality both legitimate and conceal the colonial/imperial relations of modernity (Mignolo, 2011). ¶ ¶ Decolonial education is an expression of the changing geopolitics of knowledge whereby the modern epistemological framework for knowing and understanding the world is no longer interpreted as universal and unbound by geohistorical and bio-graphical contexts. “I think therefore I am” becomes “I am where I think” in the body- and geo-politics of the modern world system (Mignolo, 2011). The idea that knowledge and the rules of knowledge production exist within socio-historical relationships between political power and geographical space (geopolitics) shifts attention from knowledge itself to who, when, why, and where knowledge is produced (Mignolo, 2011). The universal assumptions about knowledge production are being displaced, as knowledge is no longer coming from one regional center, but is distributed globally. From this recognition of the geo and body politics of knowledge, education, including the various knowledge disciplines that comprise education and knowledge of education, can be analyzed and critiqued with questions such as: who is the subject of knowledge, and what is his/her material apparatus of enunciation?; what kind of knowledge/understanding is he/she engaged in generating, and why?; who is benefiting or taking advantage of particular knowledge or understanding?; what institutions (universities, media, foundations, corporations) are supporting and encouraging particular knowledge and understanding? (Mignolo, 2011, p. 189). ¶ Decolonial thinking and writing first emerged in the initial formations of modernity from the experiences of and responses to European colonization in the Andean regions during the sixteenth century. The colonial context created a betweeness of cosmologies for the colonized. This consciousness of being between cultures within a dominant culture is the central feature of decolonial thought -- thinking from the borders created by a totalizing cosmology associated with European modernity. For example, the sixteenth century writings of Waman Puma de Ayala focused on ways to preserve Aymara and Kechua knowledge cultures and co-exist within the new world order (Mignolo, 2005). Today, decolonization is used among indigenous intellectuals around the world, where a variety of models of decolonial education have emerged. Decolonial thinking about education is rooted in the violent occlusion of ways of knowing and being among indigenous civilizations in the Americas within the imposition of a new world order. The conquest of the Americas meant the demolition of indigenous education and economic systems. European Renaissance universities, for example, were soon transplanted across the Atlantic that had no relation to the languages and histories of the native peoples.

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