Epistemic disruptions and connections: dialogues on decoloniality in/and feminist African studies

Signe Arnfred (Roskilde University)
Kopano Ratele (University of South Africa)
Elina Oinas (University of Helsinki)
Chrystal McMillan, Seminar Room 6
Thursday 13 June, 8:45-10:30

Short abstract:

Recognition of the coloniality of Euro-American knowledge calls for epistemic disruption. This again calls for decolonial connections between feminist African and European scholars. Papers are invited into epistemological dialogues on feminist African Studies and on knowledge of gender itself.

Long abstract:

A recognition of the coloniality of universalising Euro-American knowledge calls for epistemic disruption and moves toward pluriversal knowledges. Epistemic disruption calls, in turn, for new decolonial connections between feminist African and European scholars to challenge coloniality within and beyond African and European borders. With colonialism European-centralising thought and models were decanted in Africa, generally as an apparatus of racist patriarchal power. In the post-World War II era of development, with inspiration from Western women's movements, critiques of implicit male bias in development projects was carried to Africa by Western donors, Western feminist thinking also inspired incipient African feminist ideas. Nevertheless, the critical intentions were co-opted by powerful donor institutions, whereby in World Bank contexts 'gender equality' became a tool of economic growth. Over the last decades African gender scholars have started criticising Western-centred ideas regarding gender. Significantly this critique often moves on an epistemological level. The promise of these epistemic lines of thinking is that they might provide better understandings of economic and social relations and patterns of change in Africa and globally, also providing openings for feminist thinking elsewhere in the world. In this panel we invite papers - rooted in social activism, interventions, creative work, and research - aimed at delving into and surfacing connecting and disruptive dialogues about feminist African Studies between Europe and Africa on, among others, issues on patriarchy, masculinities, capitalism, activism, femininities, politics, sexualities, violence, activism, and above all, the knowledge of gender itself.