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SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, WC1H 0XG London, United Kingdom
2016 marks the centenary year of SOAS's establishment. One hundred years on, has SOAS's ideological shift to the “left”, along with its claim to «developmentalism» and «multiculturalism» been enough to absolve it from its heritage as an agent of British Imperial Power? SOAS's motto «Knowledge is Power» is a harsh reminder of its colonial history. «Knowledge is Power» calls upon us, on the one hand, to critically reflect on the continuities and discontinuities of its colonial knowledge reproduction and, on the other, to act against its deficiencies within the ideological and political frame of decolonisation.
«Decolonising Knowledge» has become a catchy buzzword on campus but stops short of deeper engagement with the practices and forms of action that can bring transformative change. Prof. Lewis Gordon is amongst few contemporary scholars and practitioners of postcolonial/decolonial studies that articulates the pathways from political commitment to action, as the basis for decolonising knowledge, education and the university. He is a Jamaican-born American philosopher who is one of the founders of postcolonial phenomenology and the leading proponent of Africana phenomenology and black existentialism, which has enabled him to make a distinct mark on the study of the political thought of Frantz Fanon and W.E.B. Du Bois. He has written a number of books including Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism and his newest book, What Fanon Said. He teaches in the United States, Jamaica and in South Africa, where he is Nelson Mandela visiting Professor of Politics and International Studies and in Toulouse France where he holds the European Union Visiting Chair in Philosophy. Drawing from the canon of his work and that of Fanon, we are delighted to have him address the topic “Decolonising Knowledge, Education and the University: From Ideas and Political Commitment to Political Action”.
Lewis Gordon in Conversation with Dr Kerem Nisancioglu (SOAS).
When: Friday 3rd June, 6:15-8:15pm
Where: SOAS, University of London, Khalili Lecture Theatre (KLT)