Social and Political Processes in Africa and Beyond (Post- and Decolonial approaches to Africa in World Politics and Society)

Seminar, SWS: 2, lecture number: 56320


Donnerstag, 12-14;


Jana Hönke

This seminar is an invitation to think through recent postcolonial and decolonial thought and its implications for how we understand global politics and society. In reference to Africa but also way beyond. Postcolonial and decolonial literatures to not amount to ‘a’ theory but represent a diverse set of theories and projects. All of them agree on the centrality of colonialism in the making of modernity and our world today. And all of them question dominant forms of knowledge about the world and how it is produced and criticize the eurocentrism of much of the social sciences. Therefore, critical scrutiny of contemporary discourses about ‘the South’ or ‘developing countries’ and practices of transnational governance (e.g. development and security interventions, migration policies) is apt. Different strands of post- and decolonial research exist that we will delve into. Some focus on critically exposing processes of othering, hierarchical relations and forms of exclusion at play in contemporary global politics. Others deconstruct forms of knowledge that take the West as primary subject and source of history and research. Part of this is related to reconstructing by (re)writing how our world has come about and indeed histories of multiple worlds from multiple positions. Further, making connectivity and entanglement the ontological starting point of how we look at the world, shifts the centre of gravity and highlights the plural sources of our world - always in the making. Finally, what is the role of racism in global politics and society, and the theories we use to make sense of them?


The seminar is designed to explore the different strands in the debate, discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and implications for political and academic practice. Questions to be answered in this course are among others: how should post-decolonial research and practice look like? What is the value of deconstruction, and is it enough? How do we know eurocentrism when we see it, and how can it be overcome? Do subaltern people have a privileged access to truth? (How) can postcolonial strategies be integrated in OUR everyday practices of research, engagement, and (future) work?

Given the current situation, this course will probably be given digitally. Please get in touch with the lecturer as soon as possible and, where applicable, register in E-Learning and CampusOnline.