Decolonization

Writings that critically engage the ongoing conditions of coloniality and its effects. Entries in this section may also speculate on intellectual, political and organizational tactics that work to resist coloniality, colonization and colonialism’s effects in the present.

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Black Feminist Tactics: On La Colectiva Feminista en Construcción’s Politics without Guarantees

I discuss how the protests drew from well-established yet increasingly visible interventions by women and feminist organizations. However, I seek to track the contribution of the feminist movement more specifically, arguing that the protests built on tactics articulated, deployed, and circulated by La Colectiva Feminista en Construcción since 2016. I examine tactics that I argue contributed in important ways to the creation of a political terrain that made the July protests possible. Slogans, cacerolazos, shutting down streets and plazas, confrontations with the police and the Special Tactics Unit, as Shariana Ferrer-Núñez of La Colectiva points out, make reference to a long tradition of opposition in the territory. These also make reference to a tradition of opposition elsewhere, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. Yet in post-María Puerto Rico, La Colectiva’s consistent and unrelenting denunciation of the specific ways debt aterizza, or “lands,” on women through an explicit confrontation with the state gains distinct significance. La Colectiva’s actions make explicit the links between debt and gender violence; between a housing crisis, the operation of finance, and logics of expulsion that impact women disproportionally; between disaster capitalism and debt/austerity in the wake of María; between consumerism and poverty. Rather than emphasizing the creativity of the protests or the organizational capability gained through autogestión, then, I stress that the protests were a confrontation with the state/capital that held the state accountable.

Aguadilla, Decoloniality, and the Summer of ‘19

The Puerto Rican Summer of 2019 saw the ousting of a governor for the first time in the archipelago’s history. This revolt, as a kairotic event – from the Greek καιρός (kairos), which denotes a decisive or opportune moment – in which the Euromodern notion of progressive and linear time was disrupted, was led primarily by decolonial and black feminist organizations. The apparent spontaneity of these demonstrations is deceptive inasmuch as it renders invisible the political work these organizations had been carrying out for at least a year prior. Nevertheless, the kairotic event of revolt never occurs “out of the blue” but rather stems from an accumulation of quotidian resistances which manifest in a series of ways. One such way can be the subversion of Eurocentric academic spaces through the organization of conferences which bring together scholars, activists, scholar-activists, and anyone interested in partaking in collective reflection and discussion. In the weeks leading up to the governor’s announcement in which he confirmed his resignation, the final preparations were underway for such a conference. This conference, which centered around decolonial thought and praxis in Puerto Rico, was to be held on land which had been forcefully expropriated, and its residents displaced, by the United States military for the construction of a military facility exactly eighty years ago. The base was eventually closed in the 1970’s and the land repurposed. The construction of this base, and the shift in intersubjectivities it produced, troubled renown Puerto Rican novelist Enrique Laguerre (1906-2005), who called that area home.

related journal articles

Postcolonial urban futures: Imagining and governing India’s smart urban age

This paper examines the ‘future’ as a blueprint for social power relations in postcolonial urbanism. It addresses a crucial gap in the rich scholarship on postcolonial urbanism that has largely ignored the ‘centrality of time’ (Chakrabarty, 2000) in the politics and speed of urban transformations.

The Colonial Hotel: spacing violence at the Grande Hotel, Beira, Mozambique

In spite of its dereliction, the Grande Hotel in Beira, Mozambique, has emerged as an iconic African building. We focus upon the cultural and political topologies of the hotel, and of colonial hotels generally, and make the proposition that they were a particular kind of violent colonial institution.

On the shores of politics: Sea, solidarity and the Ships to Gaza

In this article, I focus attention on the sea as a space for today’s solidarity politics. Following the Ships to Gaza as they headed to breach the Israeli embargo of the seaside enclave, I explore the largely understudied relationship between the politics of solidarity and the materiality of the sea.

Decolonizing property in Taiwan: Challenging hegemonic constructions of property

We argue that unpacking the ontologies behind hegemonic understandings of property in Taiwan offers ground for recognizing the plurality, messiness and openness that articulate contestations over time, space and property.

Spaces of waiting: Politics of precarious recognition in the occupied West Bank

This paper is an attempt to explicate a peculiar logic of government Israeli state apparatuses use to control the Palestinian population and colonize the West Bank; namely, the one of slowness, delay and waiting.

Domesticating the ‘troubled family’: Racialised sexuality and the postcolonial governance of family life in the UK

This article examines how the UK’s Troubled Families Programme works as a strategy of domestication which produces and delimits certain forms of ‘family life’.

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