Associate Professor, School of Law, University of Warwick (1994 – present (retiring 31 Dec. 2023))
Director of the International Development Law and Human Rights LL.M Programme, School of Law, University of Warwick, UK. (2012-2023)
LL.B University of Leicester (1990)
Ph.D from the University of Cambridge (1997)

 

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  • Being Anti-Colonial

    What does it mean to think/be the ‘anti-colonial’ in the present?

    As we know, there is in the current literature and abundance of works that adopt the frames of ‘epistemological decolonisation’, ‘decolonial theory’ etc. Fashionable as these fields of study, and these terms as such, have become, much of this fail to properly engage with the profound meanings that inhere in their invocation, and to engage with the uncomfortable implications, both philosophical and material, that follow. ‘Decolonisation’ as it is overused today has come a far distance from its anti-colonial source; it sits comfortably within the cruelties and absurdities of ‘post-colonial’ normality. It is this frustration, this dissatisfaction with ‘critical theory’, that informs this book. My intention is to take seriously the ‘anti-colonial’ as a radical rupture of colonial-modern philosophy and, following that, to state bluntly its continuing praxiological relevance. The book is divided in two parts.

    Part One undertakes the task of explaining what it means to return the ‘anti-colonial’ to philosophy. It begins with an understanding that the ‘post-colonial’ – both as mythology and ‘World-making’ architecture – is fully the resettlement, and enforcement, of the Reason of global coloniality. The ‘post-colonial settlement’ thus serves as a philosophical manoeuvre that entrenches a ‘methodological post-colonialism’ in thinking the (b)orders of the World; it operates as a closure of imagination that marks the philosophical rupture – as it is designed to do – from the ‘colonial’ pasts of sins and depravity to the present (possibility) of ‘humanitarian’ virtue and ‘justice’. Against this erasure of the ‘colonial’, understanding the present as a (post)colonial resettlement, constituted through the architecture of ‘post-colonial’ World-making, is to be neither entranced by a ‘ruptural’ mythology of the ‘post-colonial’ nor be fixated with simplistic fixations of the continuities of some ‘external’ imperial, so-called ‘neocolonial’, impositions. Instead, we see the (post)colonial clearly as a reconfiguration of (b)ordering and enforcement, a self-reflexive, ever-malleable, and adaptable systemic organisation of coloniality, still, designed as such to maintain a global regime of differentiated subjection, that is, of licence, containment, and abandonement. If the ‘post-colonial’ pushes for a philosophical obscuration of global coloniality, the (post)colonial reopens it fully to view. This is the actual situation from which the perspectives and arguments of this book begin. Against the actuality of the (post)colonial present, the anti-colonial is here reaffirmed as a philosophical situation and praxis of struggle to (re)make worlds from (post)colonial World-making.

    At the heart of the ‘anti-colonial’ recovery of imagination is an overturning of the fundamental assumptions of the philosophical situation of the present. Simply stated, this is the opening to question the norm-ality of (post)colonial (b)orders – that is to say the World ­as ‘conventional wisdom’ would name it, know it – fully, rather, as anti-colonial frontlines. This assertion, of reclaiming extant borders as frontlines, is the central philosophical manoeuvre which informs my understanding of anti-colonial praxis. Being-anti-colonial, therefore, is to assert and occupy a location of the frontline where (post)colonial borders are asserted and enforced. The task is both philosophical, and material, of imagination and life-places.

    Part Two then provides arguments of the substantive application of anti-colonial philosophical praxis to some prominent matters of worldly contention. The various chapters that follow suggest, perhaps uncomfortably for some, the implications of extending an anti-colonial philosophy to the presumed norm-alities of the (post)colonial present. Here, we consider such issues as ‘Black-ed’ lives as White-d matter, the Lie of Europe and Postcolony as World-(b)ordering intimate categories of separation-belonging, the on-going colonial situation of Palestine and the problem of Zionist-Israelism, and inevitably, and profoundly, the difficult question of ‘violence’. All, as a matter of reclaiming as anti-colonial frontlines the persisting (b)orders of (post)coloniality.

    Being Anti-Colonial is a work that seeks to return the focus of critical theory to questions of implicatedness and implication as we encounter the pervasive everydayness of coloniality.

    USD $ 25.00