Decolonizing the Mind: Utopias, Speculative Fiction, and the Decentring from Global Souths of Dominant Epistemologies

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Abstract

In this paper, I consider how utopian and speculative writing from the global south can contribute compellingly to a more decentred, less Eurocentric set of epistemologies from the many global Souths: my focus will lie on south Asia. My work will consider the alternative modernities evident in South Asian writing which posit utopia and speculations from a decolonizing perspective, with a focus on the early 20th century onwards. The rediscovery and reinvention of Buddhism as a highly modern locus of south Asian utopian and egalitarian thinking (with particular reference to the 20th-century oeuvre of D.D. Kosambi and Rahul Sankrityayan), and the cross-fertilization between such rediscovered Buddhism and modern socialism, including Marxism, will be discussed. The figure of Rabindranath Tagore, committed to a grounded utopia of the social and the aesthetic, fuelled by alternative pedagogies and creativity at Santiniketan, will also be discussed. My paper will finish by zooming in on contemporary writers in the utopian and speculative modes, notably Amitav Ghosh and Vandana Singh, who keep alive a commitment to the decolonization of the mind, in a continually heuristic process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2015
EventDecentrings: How the Global South Can Help in Rethinking a Common World - Reid Hall, Columbia University, Paris, Paris, France
Duration: 26 Nov 201528 Nov 2015

Conference

ConferenceDecentrings: How the Global South Can Help in Rethinking a Common World
Country/TerritoryFrance
CityParis
Period26/11/1528/11/15

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