Social, economic and environmental dimensions of global inequalities continue to be shaped by (post-)colonial power relations and their entanglements with (white) idea(l)s of modernity, civilization and progress. This roundtable discusses and contests discourses and narratives of colonial legacies.
Uma Kothari (University of Manchester)
Nivi Manchanda (Queens University London)
Olivia U. Rutazibwa (University of Portsmouth)
Chair: Henning Melber (Nordic Africa Institute/EADI)
Inequalities are determining societies. We are confronted with ever increasing disparities of income and wealth, of access to resources, of limitations to free speech and free movement. Attempting to dissect the social, economic and environmental dimensions of global inequalities reveals how these disparities continue to be shaped by (post-)colonial power relations, Western narratives of progress and their entanglements with (white) idea(l)s of modernity, civilization and development. In light of this historical continuum and the simultaneously rearising colonial-apologetic voices and white supremacist tendencies in Western academia and politics it is crucial to be "wary of histories of development that deny this colonial genealogy" (Kothari 2005). In fact, "the way in which we understand the past has implications for the social theories we develop to deal with the situations we live in today" (Bhambra 2007).
For this reason we are discussing:
- What assumptions underlying the field of Development Studies need to be challenged?
- How can a historiography of Development Studies provide starting points for a decolonization of development knowledge?
- What is necessary to counter white supremacist and racist narratives in the popular debate?
What is our responsibility as scholars in the field of Development Studies?
- How can scholarly commitment to emancipatory knowledge production and practice best challenge defamatory populism?