The multidisciplinary group - consisting of researchers in Art & Culture Studies, Art History, American Studies, History and Literary Studies - aims to increase societal knowledge about colonial relations and structures in past and present societies. Our research focuses on continuities and discontinuities of colonial relations, structures, interactions, and imaginaries. We aim to include the agency and knowledge of (formerly) colonized peoples in our research and narratives.
Colonial Relations and Structures
In the past decade countries across the globe displayed a growing reckoning of the effects of colonialism, sparking public debates on racialized hierarchies, structural inequalities and the need for reparations. These questions touch upon the very core of our 21st-century societies. But without a proper academic understanding of these enduring colonial relations and structures, the public debates risk getting bogged down in an interminable roundabout of factless facts, opinions and emotions.
This multidisciplinary group consists of researchers in Art & Culture Studies, Art History, American Studies, History and Literary Studies. It aims to increase societal knowledge about colonial relations and structures in past and present societies. Our research focuses on continuities and discontinuities of colonial relations, structures, interactions, and imaginaries. Projects explore the agency of local and Indigenous individuals and groups, the resurgence of Indigenous and anti-colonial knowledge systems and ways of relating to the human and the other-than-human world. They focus on practices that shaped, sustained and challenged colonial order in daily life.
Our points of inspiration are decolonialization and anti-colonial movements across time and space, movements against racism, ableism, sexism, homo- and transphobia and struggles for justice, liberation and agency, especially in former and/or settler colonies and ongoing colonial structures.
In this context, we address novel understandings of coloniality, and aspire to draw new maps of colonial structures, entanglements and relations. We aim to include the agency and knowledge and kinship systems of (formerly) colonized peoples in our research, narratives and cultural imaginaries. We draw on research that is historical, ecological, environmental, material, narrative, visual, discursive, and address our positionality in Europe as the point of origin of modern Western colonialism and slavery.
As a research group, we acknowledge the enduring and interconnected relationships between colonial exploitation and the production of scientific knowledge. Ethical reflection on our own practices is a fundamental aspect of research on colonial relations and structures in the Humanities. What counts as (academic) knowledge? How can we create and maintain sustainable collaborations with partners from the ‘Global South’? And how can we create a productive interaction between academic knowledge production and relevant societal impact? With this awareness in mind, we commit to recognise the situatedness of our knowledge production, understand its effects and learn by exploring new epistemological inspirations. We intend to consider and act upon these questions in a respectful and egalitarian manner. A crucial path forward is our aspiration to co-create said knowledge on past and present colonial relations and structures with our academic and societal partners in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
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