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Recorded Teaching

Lewis Gordon (U Connecticut, Storrs, USA): "Decolonising Knowledge, Education, and the University"
Date Friday, 3 June 2016 | 6:15 pm – 8:15 pm  
Location SOAS, University of London, UK  
Record Link  
Language English  

Lewis Gordon (U Connecticut, Storrs, USA) held a speech with the title "Decolonising Knowledge, Education, and the University" at SOAS (U London, UK), on June 3rd, 2016.

2016 marks the centenary year of SOAS's establishment. One hundred years on, has SOAS's ideological shift to the “left”, along with its claim to "developmentalism" and "multiculturalism" been enough to absolve it from its heritage as an agent of British Imperial Power? SOAS's motto "Knowledge is Power" is a harsh reminder of its colonial history. "Knowledge is Power" calls upon us, on the one hand, to critically reflect on the continuities and discontinuities of its colonial knowledge reproduction and, on the other, to act against its deficiencies within the ideological and political frame of decolonisation.

"Decolonising Knowledge" has become a catchy buzzword on campus but stops short of deeper engagement with the practices and forms of action that can bring transformative change. Prof. Lewis Gordon is amongst few contemporary scholars and practitioners of postcolonial/decolonial studies that articulates the pathways from political commitment to action, as the basis for decolonising knowledge, education and the university. He is a Jamaican-born American philosopher who is one of the founders of postcolonial phenomenology and the leading proponent of Africana phenomenology and black existentialism, which has enabled him to make a distinct mark on the study of the political thought of Frantz Fanon and W.E.B. Du Bois. He has written a number of books including Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism and his newest book, What Fanon Said. He teaches in the United States, Jamaica and in South Africa, where he is Nelson Mandela visiting Professor of Politics and International Studies and in Toulouse France where he holds the European Union Visiting Chair in Philosophy. Drawing from the canon of his work and that of Fanon, we are delighted to have him address the topic “Decolonising Knowledge, Education and the University: From Ideas and Political Commitment to Political Action”.

Lewis Gordon in conversation with Kerem Nisancioglu (SOAS, London, UK).

You can listen to his speech here

Biographical Note
Lewis Gordon is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Conneticut (Storrs, USA) and Honorary Professor, Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University at the (Uhuru, South Africa. Additionally, he is at the moment Writer-in-Residence (Birkbeck School of Law, U London, UK), Visiting Chair in Philosophy at the Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès (France) and Chairperson of the Awards Committee, Caribbean Philosophical Association (USA) and will also be part of the final results conference of the SPP 1448 Adaptation and Creativity in Africa – Technologies and Significations in the Production of Order and Disorder (Leipzig, Germany) to present his latest book What Fanon said (2015) (see www.lewisrgordon.com).