Beyond lip service: Imperatives and Practical Implications for Decolonizing ‘Development’

Date(s) - March 3, 2021
4:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Not least since vocal anti-racism protests of the Black Lives Matter and the Rhodes Must Fall movements, the call for decolonization has become widely popular. A broad variety of actions, events and initiatives have made claims of ‘decolonizing’ – be it curricula, disciplines or institutions. Yet, what a process of decolonizing entails remains fuzzy. Cautioning a process of cooptation, Tuck and Yang (2012) have asserted that decolonization is not a metaphor, but a fundamentally material process conditional on the repatriation of land. Others highlight the necessity to decolonise our mindsets, not least in struggling against global inequality. ‘Development’, the dominant frame for this struggle, is another contested term that is fundamentally entangled with de/colonization. It has been used and appropriated for a variety of different agendas that make claims to a normatively and positive common good, at the same time silencing highly political, historical and mostly binary and paternalistic underpinnings of its discourse and practice.


The roundtable gathers three leading critical scholars to discuss problems and pitfalls of the decolonization debate, especially with view of fundamental ‘development’ critiques and its entanglements with the histories of colonialism and coloniality. We will explore what must be done to radically change structures, institutions and spaces in research, teaching and practice that maintain racism, discrimination, exclusion, inequalities and injustices; and what a network of European scholars can (and cannot) achieve. We will discuss practical implications and imperatives for action and/or withdrawal.


Dr Rosalba Icaza Garza (International Institute of Social Studies)

Dr Olivia Rutazibwa (University of Portsmouth)

Dr Kalpana Wilson (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Welcome Address: Prof Aram Ziai (University of Kassel)

Moderation: Juan Telleria (University of the Basque Country – Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea UPV/EHU) and Julia Schöneberg (University of Kassel)