It’s day 8 and the toughest day yet for my writing challenge – self-imposed, of writing a blog a day on a subject from a random list I came across. I don’t even know where to begin with this one, ‘Decolonise’ – I didn’t even know that was a word. I assume I know what it means, the reverse procedure to colonisation, withdrawing, retreating, backing out of somewhere or something you had previously taken over, invaded, took control of. Colonisation sounds imperialistic, acting without permission or rights, acting for your own advantage and probable disadvantage of the colonised. It has overtones of racism, illegality, subjugation… but do I need to check and see if there is an alternative definition.
This is what Wikipedia says:
Decolonization/decolonisation is the undoing of colonialism, the latter being the process whereby a nation establishes and maintains its domination of foreign territories (often overseas territories. The concept particularly applies to the dismantlement, during the second half of the 20th century, of the colonial empires established prior to World War I throughout the world. Some scholars of decolonization focus especially on the movements in the colonies demanding independence, such as Creole nationalism.
The end-result of successful decolonization may equate to a form of Indigenous utopianism – given the widespread nature of colonialism, neo-colonialism, and cultural colonialism the goal of full decolonization may seem elusive or mythical. Indigenous scholars state that an important aspect of decolonization is the ongoing critique of Western worldviews and a study of Indigenous ways of knowing.
I don’t feel qualified to writer about ‘the undoing of colonialism’, I only have a very shallow knowledge of it although I understand the concept, and have a tiny understanding of some of the more obvious history of it, particularly our own nations shameful past. I have found that there are other sorts of decolonisation; again, thanks to Wikipedia, I have learned that there is bacterial decolonization,:
Decolonization, also bacterial decolonization, is a medical intervention that attempts to rid a patient of an antimicrobial resistant pathogen, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or antifungal-resistant Candida. By pre-emptively treating patients who have become colonized with an antimicrobial resistant organism, the likelihood of the patient going on to develop life-threatening health care-associated infections is reduced. Common sites of bacterial colonization include the nasal passage, groin, oral cavity and skin.
There is also decolonization of knowledge, otherwise known as also epistemic or epistemological decolonization. I had to check I understood epistemic (relating to knowledge or to the degree of its validation) and epistemological (relating to the theory of knowledge) which is mainly and again, thanks to Wikipedia:
an intellectual project that challenges the hegemonic Western knowledge system “with its claim of universality”. The project seeks to legitimize other knowledge systems and establish justice for hitherto disregarded epistemologies. Debates about decolonization of knowledge have been taking place for decades in Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere in the world. Because of this project modern academic scholarship tends to give more weight to indigenous belief systems, as well as identities around race, gender, and sexuality. Critics would argue however that it has failed in many ways to challenge the dominant aspects of neoliberal ideology and the dominance of free market capitalism.
I haven’t been able to write many of my own thoughts on the subject, but I have learned that what I understood as a political term is can be applied in a medical context and also in an intellectual context.
PS I hope my subject tomorrow is less difficult and more within what I am able to do! Today has been a challenge certainly, and I’m not sure I have properly risen to it!