(De)Colonizing the Human

PH 267

Course Decolonizing The Human Kris Sealey

This course approaches the problem of colonialism and coloniality, as well as the task of decolonization from a philosophical perspective. As such, our work with focus on generating the problem space and question sets needed to de-naturalize the everyday colonial structures that shape our human condition. Included in these colonial structures are those that pertain to (1) the organization of economy; (2) the centrality of property and self-possession in conceptions of citizenship and sovereignty; (3) the racialized constructions of gender and sexuality; (4) knowledge-productions and productions of historical narrative; and (5) the centrality of racial hierarchy for modernity’s account of the human. Through the assigned texts, students will use these problem spaces and problem sets in order to think critically about the meaning of the human in the modern and post-modern age, and about how such meaning implicates their own subjectivities and cultural frames of reference.

This course prepares students to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the historical and/or contemporary context of colonialism and its legacy in coloniality, with respect to systems of inequity and oppression.

2. Articulate how (a) social identities, (b) cultural values and (c) contemporary modes of citizenship are shaped through global patterns of coloniality and neo-colonialism, and how each of these (a-c) intersect to influence different worldviews and experiences in a global society.

3. Analyze one’s own social identities, cultural values and privilege with respect to one’s relationship to colonial and racialized violence.

4. Explore answers to the critical questions needed to make legible forms of coloniality in a contemporary global human order, using multiple perspectives and a variety of resources.

Books/book chapters:
  • Red Skin, White Masks, Glen Coulthard
  • Discourse on Colonialism, Aimé Césaire
  • Scenes of Subjection, Saidiya Hartman
  • The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues, Angela Davis (select chapters)
  • “Decolonization is not a Metaphor”, Tuck and Yang
  • “Heterosexualism and the Colonial/Modern System” María Lugones
  • “A Phenomenology of Whiteness”, Sara Ahmed
  • “Being or Nothingness: Indigeneity, Antiblackness, and Settler Colonial Critique”, Iyko Day
  • “Making Peoples into Populations: The Racial Limits of Tribal Sovereignty”, Mark Rifkin
  • “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native”, Patrick Wolfe
  • “Storied with Land: ‘Transitional Justice’ on Indigenous Land”, Esme Murdock
  • “Spectacle Terror Lynching, Public Sovereignty and Antiblack Genocide”, Alfred Frankowski
  • “The Dakota Access Pipeline, Environmental Justice, and U.S. Colonialism”, Kyle Whyte
  • “Indigenous Climate Studies: Indigenous Futures, Decolonizing the Anthropocene”, Kyle White
  • “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July”, Frederick Douglass
  • “Racism and Culture” (in Toward the African Revolution), Frantz Fanon
  • “Necropolitics”, Achille Mbembe
  • “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”, Audre Lorde
  • “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe”, Hortense Spillers
  • “Decolonizing Anti-Racism”, Bonita Lawrence and Enakshi Dua
  • “On the way to decolonization in a settler-colony: Re-introducing black feminist identity politics”, Kristie Dotson