When 33% of UK, 32% of Japanese, 30%of French, 27% of Dutch respondents respectively report that they think the countries they formerly colonised are ‘better off’ for being colonised (YouGov Poll, 2020), there is a timely need for critical discussions on the ways in which history influences contemporary conceptions of power and nation.
Recent years have seen extensive discussion of the need to “decolonise” universities, and to decolonise knowledge production, especially within Development Studies, which has direct historical roots in colonial intervention. Indeed, campaigns such as #RhodesMustFall in South Africa and #WhyIsMyCurriculumWhite? in the UK have generated discussions far beyond the academy. While the notion of “decolonising” has gathered considerable momentum, its agenda is multifaceted and complex, with uncertainty over what progress should look like, and what the ultimate goals should be.
The study group ‘Decolonising Development’ is interested in reflecting on pathways for change through four main strands:
- Problematising and rethinking the continuities and divergences of the colonial genealogy of Development Studies
- Alternative approaches in development and alternatives to development
- The (up)risings of the South (s) and theorising from the ‘margins’
- Anti-racism, anti-sexism, and equitable partnerships in development (#MeToo & #AidToo)
Rama Salla Dieng, Lecturer in African Studies and International Development, University of Edinburgh
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