Gareth Williams evaluates the “subalternist turn” in Latin American postcolonial studies by seeing it through three of its variants. This paper is essential reading for those, particularly in South Asia and elsewhere, seeking to familiarize themselves with Latin American postcolonial and subaltern studies. It includes a comprehensive bibliography and key references to some of the most fundamental texts, theorists, philosophers and scholars who established multiple and distinct lines of inquiry in the field. Originally published in Política común (Volume 10, 2016) and reproduced here as is via CC 3.0.
From the Editor's Desk
Savage Warfare: Violence and the Rule of Colonial Difference in Early British Counterinsurgency — by Kim A Wagner
ABSTRACT: Even as a growing body of literature has in recent years revealed the ubiquity of racialized violence within Western colonies in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, another historical narrative remains insistent that the British Empire constituted a notable exception to the rule. This nostalgic narrative of a uniquely British ‘soft approach’ rests in part on the belief that colonial officers possessed a deep cultural understanding of the people and societies they dealt with, which allowed them to manoeuvre skilfully throughout the Empire without having to resort to the sort of atrocities that characterized German and Belgian colonies in Africa. The result is an implicitly sanitized account of the British Empire and of British military practice as exemplary and even humane. This article critically examines those assumptions, focusing in particular on the cultural knowledge that was weaponized during colonial conflicts in the decades preceding the First World War. The forms and functions of what became known as ‘savage warfare’ were not simply shaped by the tactical necessities of asymmetric fighting in the peripheries of Empire. Colonial military violence and the development of new technologies, such as the expanding Dum-Dum bullet, were based on deeply encoded assumptions concerning the inherent difference of local opponents and as such were underwritten by both imperial ideologies and a specific body of colonial expertise. The rule of colonial difference dictated and justified techniques of violence that were by the same token considered unacceptable in conflicts between so-called ‘civilized’ nations and, in many instances, slaughter was in fact the ‘British Way’ – in theory and in practice.
Staci Gem Scheiwiller explores the path of transformation that defines the Qajar family photograph, tracings its roots to Qajar painting and to the earliest examples of photography in Qajar Iran (circa 1839). Republished here from the Trans Asia Photography Review (Volume 9, Issue 1), via CC-BY-NC-ND-4.0.
Syed Tajamul Imran responds to an opinion piece by SSP Sandeep Chaudhary entitled “TIME drew red X for Osama. But Western press humanised Riyaz Naikoo with pre-gun stories” (The Print). In a rather extensive opinion piece of his own, featured here in the Acquaintance section of Inverse Journal, Tajamul Imran provides an incisive critique of SSP Chaudhary’s “indictment as opinion piece” while covering major issues of relevance overlooked by its author. The young student activist and columnist then proceeds to narrate how his own late brother, Syed Ruban, became a militant commander after being tortured in illegal detention, tying his experience to that of many other youth who joined militancy after being subject to such unlawful treatment.
Book (Full Text): Pedagogics of Liberation: A Latin American Philosophy of Education — by Enrique Dussel
Enrique Dussel is considered one of the founding philosophers of liberation in the Latin American tradition, an influential arm of what is now called decoloniality. While he is astoundingly prolific, relatively few of his works can be found in English translation — and none of these focus specifically on education. Founding members of the Latin American Philosophy of Education Society David I. Backer and Cecilia Diego bring to us Dussel’s “The Pedagogics of Liberation: A Latin American Philosophy of Education”, the first English translation of Dussel’s thinking on education, and also the first translation of any part of his landmark multi-volume work
“Towards an Ethics of Latin American Liberation.”
The goal of this paper is to present a decolonising research methodology. The first section of this paper problematises western knowledge production, using Aníbal Quijano’s colonial matrix of power. The second section theorises how an epistemological pluralism that is critical, decolonising and performative could address western knowledge production and the colonial matrix of power. The third section discusses how this methodology has been applied to Butoh to develop Critical Butoh. The final section presents He rawe tona kakahu/ She wore a becoming dress, a Butoh performance exploring the intersection of gender and colonisation, as a practical application of this methodology.