Essays on decolonisation and decoloniality in and at the interfaces of STS

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Science and technology studies (STS) has always insisted on staying situated and paying attention to detail, texture, locality and remained wary of wider explanatory narratives. At the same time STS has been accused of not providing the tools to build critique against more systemic structures of oppression and injustice. What I see as a very interesting comment to this debate, as old as STS and Actor-Network Theory from the 1980s, Lesley Greene at UCT Anthropology and their Environmental Humanities centre just uploaded a new collection to her Academia-page that gathers a series of short essays on the theme of decolonisation and decoloniality in relation to STS. I think this collection could be of interest to several of us interested in situated studies of urban political ecology .

The collection is called “Engagements with Decolonization and Decoloniality in and at the Interfaces of STS” published in the Catalyst journal on feminism, theory and technoscience. Part of the inspiration to this work, as the curators of the collection—Kristina Lyons, Juno Parreñas and Noah Tamarin—write can be traced as an intermix between recognised STS scholars such as Helen Verran and David Turnbull, with writings as wide as Frantz Fanon, Anna Tsing, Aníbal Quijano, with mentioning of Steve Biko. They write in their introduction:

We aim to provoke questions about how science and technology studies might intersect with decolonizing or decolonial practices and scholarship, and what kinds of openings these intersections may or may not provide. We offer these reflections as invitations to think with us and to consider the worlds in which we live and work.

One intellectual genealogy that inspires some of us has been given the moniker of postcolonial science and technology studies. We find affinity in what Warwick Anderson emphasizes in his description of the work of Helen Verran (2001, 2002) and David Turnbull (2000) as the “messy politics that emerge out of local performances of technoscience” (W. Anderson, 2002, p. 650), and in the work of Anna Tsing (1993) as she disturbs ideas of centers and peripheries and shows politics in what could otherwise be analyzed through an overly narrow actor-network theory (W. Anderson & Adams, 2008). Anne Pollock and Banu Subramaniam (2016) and their special journal issue on feminist postcolonial STS also build on this thread in their efforts to think through the possibilities of justice in postcolonial technoscience.

Working against colonialism, imperialism, and white heteropatriarchal supremacy takes many languages and vocabularies. Theories of postcolonialism, decolonization, and decoloniality each offer different analytical and practical tools and challenges. […] For us, the keywords to delineate are decolonisation and decoloniality.

Please read the full version of the essays here.

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