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Exposing the Coloniality of Power in Theory, Literature, and Films

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Organizer: Badreddine Ben Othman

Co-Organizer: Sandra So Hee Chi Kim

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According to Walter Mignolo (2007, 2013), the "coloniality of power" is the logic of domination, exploitation, and oppression that makes the triumphal narrative of "modernity" possible. Modernity is constituted not only by master narratives of civilization, salvation, and development, but also by the exploitative practices, logics, and epistemologies that colonialism produced. Mignolo's concept of “modernity/coloniality” reveals how modernity has a dark side; it is a rhetoric of progress that effectively hides the ongoing legacy and integration of formal colonialism into contemporary social orders, economies, and forms of knowledge production. The first conceptualizations of coloniality, introduced by Aníbal Quijano in the early 1990s, focused on economic-political dimensions and questions of knowledge production and racism. Since then, Quijano’s interventions have been developed in various directions through explorations of coloniality's intersections with power, ontology, gender, and aesthetics (Maldonaldo- Torres 2007; Lugones 2007; Mignolo and Vasquez 2013). Decoloniality is the counterhegemonic drive behind these projects; decoloniality is concerned with inciting paradigm shifts that delink the promises of modernity from the dehumanizing conditions created by coloniality. 

This panel seeks to relate the theoretical production of decolonial thought with other approaches and critical discourses in the fields of comparative literature, cultural studies, and interdisciplinary humanities. Our aim is to consider diverse projects that expose the coloniality of power in cultural and epistemic productions. We invite participants to think about (de)coloniality beyond the geographical limit of the Americas. 
Among the questions we will consider are: How do literary texts and cultural productions expose the processes and dynamics of the coloniality of power? How does coloniality intersect with problems of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nation? What constitutes decoloniality, and what does it look like in praxis? How do theories of coloniality intersect with or diverge from other theoretical frameworks and fields of study? 

Possible topics for exploration are:

the dark side of "modernity"
the co-constitution of capitalism and coloniality
transnational genealogies of empire
indigenous resurgence
epistemic injustice
colonial temporality
interracial contact and racial othering
diasporic phenomenologies
spatial dimensions of coloniality
heterosexualism and the colonial/modern gender system
beyond the postcolonial

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