SPAN 317 Colonization and Decolonization


Our world is the result of more than 500 years of Western colonial expansion and imperial designs, and was structured on the basis of unequal power relations between the North (including the North within the South) and the South (including the South within the North). The racial, class, gender, sexual, religious, pedagogical, linguistic, aesthetic, ecological and epistemological power hierarchies that organize knowledge on the basis of epistemic privilege. Within this context, non-Western traditions of thought are inferiorized and subalternized. This course invites students to explore questions like who is producing knowledge? What institutions and disciplines legitimize it? What is knowledge for and who benefits from it? How is our social existence colonized and how to think about decolonization of being? Readings and practices during the semester will engages us to reflect about basic assumptions engrained in the idea of modernity, progress, and development. We will examine notions like the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Positivism, developmentalism, and related ideas connected to imperial projects in the 20th and 21st centuries. Through the study of literature, drama, film, and various radical counter-discursive, indigenous and hybrid artistic practices in Latin America and the Latinx world, the course fosters thinking and living in community with non-eurocentric social and human values. With opened horizons and visions, we will engage in learning with, and from, the Latinx/a/o community in Memphis through engaged learning projects. 


Degree Requirements