Decolonial Thinking in a Comparative Perspective


Welcome by Andrea Fleschenberg, IAAW/HU Berlin, on behalf of Co2libri, and by Prathama Banerjee, CSDS Delhi, as moderator.

Input by Suren Pillay, University of the Western Cape Capetown: “The Problem of Colonialism: Assimiliation, Difference, and Decolonial Theory”.

Discussants’ Inputs by Baidik Bhattacharya, CSDS Delhi, and Kai Kresse, ZMO/FU Berlin, followed by plenary discussion.

This session is dedicated to a discussion of diverse strands of decolonial thinking as they exist in the world today, sometimes in conversation with each other and sometimes not. At the heart of the discussion is Suren Pillay’s essay,1 which maps the transformations that Latin American ‘decolonial theory’ goes through in its travels across the US academy and more centrally, South African Universities. The essay argues that we must understand the diverse histories and structures of colonialism(s) as they evolved in interaction with diverse lands and peoples across the world, a heterogeneity that gets erased if we uncritically replace the concept of ‘colonialism’ with an abstract and universal conception of ‘coloniality’.

Instead of imagining decolonial thinking as one, singular project, this session explores the different forms that decolonial thinking has assumed in different historical, regional, and linguistic contexts, borne out of different colonialisms and different postcolonial trajectories. The respondents bring to the table thoughts from other contexts as well, including South Asia and West Africa. Hence the call to bring a new kind of comparative perspective to bear on contemporary decolonial thinking.


Prathama Banerjee, Suren Pillay, Baidik Bhattacharya, Kai Kresse 


Zoom Link:  Meeting-ID: 655 8554 7872  Password: 018531