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Week 9 - Postcolonialism and Decoloniality

Gianmarco Mancosu
Please note that this seminar will start at 2.45 pm (28th November 2017, H4.50)

In week 8 we will explore the emergence and institutionalization of the multifaceted field of postcolonialism. In order to stimulate a discussion on the toolbox of colonial critique, the seminar will scrutinize the undoing of empires as a crucial moment in which colonial discourses have been refashioned, more than superseded (A. Loomba; B. Ashcroft, G. Griffith, H. Tiffin; – references A). Such complex legacies have stimulated several modalities of investigation and, as a consequence, we will focus on the genealogies and the cultural location of some critiques of both Eurocentrism and Historicism (E. Dussel; R. Young - references B). A specific attention will be paid to the entanglement between modernity and coloniality and to related spaces for resistance proposed by decolonial scholars (A. Quijano, W. Mignolo, references C).

Core Reading


• Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., Tiffin, H. (2007), Postcolonial Studies. The Key Concepts (Second Edition), London: Routledge, pp. 56-59.

• Loomba, A. (1998), Colonialism/Postcolonialism. London: Routledge, pp. 43-69.


• Young, R. (2004), White Mythologies: Writing History and the West, London: Routledge, pp. 32-43.

• Dussel, E. (1993), ‘Eurocentrism and Modernity (Introduction to the Frankfurt Lectures)’, Boundaries, vol. 20, n. 3, 1993, pp. 65-76.


• Quijano, A. (2007), ‘Coloniality and Modernity/Rationality’, Cultural Studies, vol. 21, n. 2-3, pp. 168-178.

• Mignolo, W. D. (2009), ‘Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and De-Colonial Freedom’, Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 26, n. 7–8, pp. 1–23.

While reading, please bear in mind the following points:

- How can colonial discourse help in unpacking protocols of knowledge production and regimes of representations during and after colonialism?

- Did the decolonization (both in formerly colonized countries and in the metropolitan centres) erase and supersede colonial discourses and epistemologies?

- Considering the location of the postcolonial critique(s) in its/their genealogies according to historical and cultural conditions of decolonization.

- How did the entanglement coloniality/modernity work in universalising a specific configuration of knowledge production?

- Try to assess continuities and differences between postcolonial critique and decolonial/delinking projects.

Further reading


  • Betts, R. (2003), Decolonization, London: Routledge.
  • Chrisman, L. (2003), Postcolonial Contraventions. Cultural Readings of Race, Imperialism and Transnationalism, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Gilroy, P. (2004), After Empire. Melancholia or Convivial Culture, London: Routledge.
  • Rothermund, D. (2006), The Routledge Companion to Decolonization, London: Routledge.
  • Said, E. W. (1994), Culture and Imperialism, London: Vintage.
  • Sartre, J. P. (1961), Preface of The Wretched of the Earth by (Fanon, F.) The Wretched of the Earth, trans. by C. Farrington (1990), London: Penguin.



  • Ansell-Pearson, K., Parry, B., Squires. J. (1997) Cultural Readings of Imperialism: Edward Said and the Gravity of History London: Lawrence & Wishart.
  • Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., and Tiffin, H. (eds) (1989), The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Postcolonial Literatures. London: Routledge.
  • Bhabha, H. K (1993), The Location of Culture, London: Routledge.
  • Bhambra, G. K. (2014). ‘Postcolonial and Decolonial Reconstructions’ in Connected Sociologies. Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Prakash, G. (1995), After Colonialism, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Stoler, A. L. (2013), Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination, Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Young, R. (2001), Postcolonialism. A Historical Introduction, Blackwell: Oxford.



  • Bhambra, G. K. (2014), ‘Postcolonial and Decolonial Dialogues’, Postcolonial Studies, vol. 17, n. 2.
  • Grosfouguel, R. (2011), ‘Decolonizing Post-Colonial Studies and Paradigms of Political-Economy’, Transmodernity, Decolonial Thinking, and Global Coloniality, vol. 1, n. 1.
  • Lugones, M. (2011), ‘Toward a Decolonial Feminism’, Hypatia, vol. 25, n. 4, 2011.
  • Martín Alcoff, L. (2007), ‘Mignolo’s Epistemology of Coloniality’, The New Centennial Review, vol. 7, n. 3.
  • Mignolo, W. (2011), The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options, Durham: Duke University.
  • Mignolo, W. (2002). ‘The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference,’ South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 101.1.
  • Vázquez, R. (2011), ‘Translation as Erasure: Thoughts on Modernity’s Epistemic Violence’, Journal of Historical Sociology, vol. 24, n. 1