Head of School Professor S. Sayyid presents this term’s final seminar of the School of Sociology & Social Policy’s research seminar series. The series will resume next term.
‘The Decolonial Imagination’
Wednesday 16 December 2020
12:00 – 13:00
Online: Zoom meeting link (Meeting ID: 890 5697 1242 | Passcode: 050505)
The killing of George Floyd in spring 2020 led to the largest multi-ethnic demonstrations ever seen in the United States. One of the most remarkable features of these protests was how Black Lives Matters was couched in the grammar of decolonial demands. The demonstrators seem to understand the causal link between contemporary police brutality against black bodies and the legacy of colonialism. As a result, statues of racists, imperialists and eugenicists finally fell, and universities scrambled to re-name their buildings and to acknowledge their complicity in colonialism and racism. It seemed the decolonial was no longer an affair of a small band of academics, students and activists, but instead a social phenomenon marked by a proliferation of the prefix decolonial. The decolonial delivered not so much an attitude, but rather an analytical and conceptual vocabulary that connects the violations and injustices experienced by racially marked individuals to the institutions and structures created during the colonial remaking of the world. The decolonial can be seen as an aspect of the sociological imagination, bridging the biographical with the social; an imaginary harnessed to represent a world in crisis. The possibilities of a decolonial imagination, however, continue to be undermined by the challenge of understanding the nature of the colonial that needs to be decolonized.