Workshop convener: Prof. Dr. Anaheed Al-Hardan (Sociology, American University Beirut)
The relationship between modern knowledge production and the colonization, extermination and enslavement of peoples forms the basis of a major epistemological critique and challenge posted by Indigenous and decolonial theorist and activists. According to the Argentinian philosopher of liberation Enrique Dussel, René Descartes’s ego cogito (I think, therefore I am) was proceeded by a century by the practical Spanish-Portuguese ego conquiro (I conquer, therefore I am). The Indigenous scholar Linda Tuhiwai Smith has similarly argued that for those against whom ego cogito was constructed, or the “primitives” whose worlds, lands, societies, and bodies would become the resources and objects of this will-to- power and its accompanying will-to-knowledge - the basis of the modern disciplines - the term research is inextricably linked to European imperialism and colonialism.
Within the context of the so-called “Orient,” the late Palestinian philosopher Edward Said named the historical and material relationship arising out of this European will to conquer and the conquerors’ will to knowledge as Orientalism. Limiting his study to the Arab East, Said argued that Orientalism has been and continues to be an accomplice to Empire, particularly through the American Empire’s colonial and neocolonial ventures in this part of the world.
This workshop will introduce BGSMCS graduate students to critical methodological approaches through which area studies as a disciplinary configuration can be critically assessed. By closely reading pre-circulated texts, workshop participants will consider some of the most important historical, structural as well as epistemological arguments for Middle East Studies put forward by postcolonial, decolonial and Indigenous theorists. In addition to reading and discussing texts, this workshop will also offer the space for students to think about, discuss and reflect on the methodological groundings of their research projects.
Jul 28, 2017 | 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies