To heal the colonial wound: Towards decolonial practice of storytelling



Part 1

Session 1
Wed 11:00-12:30 Room 0.16

Part 2

Session 2
Wed 14:00-15:30 Room 0.16


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Laboratories are closed meetings for scholars to develop innovative cross-disciplinary plans, hence they are not open to the public. However, results will be presented during the final session.

Recent years have seen increasing enthusiasm amongst young scholars from the global south contemplating the colonial imbrications of (Western) academic praxis. Their encounters with the works of influential Southeast Asian scholars bring to the fore questions about the politics of knowledge production in the humanities and social sciences, stoking earnest discussions particularly in informal settings. Foundational matters are discussed: the influence of positionality on narratives told by academics based in northern countries and studying people in Southeast Asia. Or narrative approaches that unintentionally utilise techniques of distancing, both spatial and temporal, while these have been discussed as ethical conundrums, such as the dynamic of the knowing-observer focused on academic career advancement and their interlocutors who remain as bystanders in the circuit of knowledge production. This observation has sometimes brought about a sense of deja-vu in the gut feeling of young Southeast Asian scholars that the colonial wound is still ongoing, given the persisting inequality in knowledge production and inadequate representation from the region. This workshop/laboratory is inspired by Walter Mignolo’s reminder that “knowing what we want to know is about healing the colonial wound” and his proposition that the transformation of the self is imperative in doing decolonial work. Therefore, it will provide a forum to share the emotional and lively experiences of diasporic scholars from Southeast Asia on the ongoing colonial wound they face and to imagine the different ways narratives about Southeast Asia need to be told. A decolonial practice of storytelling would be attentive to the situatedness of genres and forms through which stories are told and the implications they bring. With facilitation from decolonial scholars and healing practitioners, this workshop would lead young scholars to share their problems and encounters with the stillexisting coloniality of academia and beyond, as well as in their collective life projects, in claiming more space for a decolonial becoming within and beyond academia.