In 2010 the decolonial summercourse Middelburg was hosted for the first time at the University College Roosevelt (University of Utrecht) in cooperation with the Centre for Global Studies and the Humanities (Duke University). Opening the university to life’s diversity and other knowledges, Walter Mignolo and Rolando Vázquez have been bringing together students, activists, scholars and artists in the academic setting. Addressing the danger of the single story in the Modern/Colonial world order, the course invites to learn about the decolonial option. Participants and lecturers collectively explore creative alternatives to global (un)justice by critically engaging local histories to challenge global designs.

Situating ourselves in the town of Middelburg, we begin a dialogue that addresses global social justice, connecting at the same time the legacy of European slave trade and the Jewish holocaust. The question then becomes how to make visible the pluriversality of experiences subsumed under the hegemonic design of the modern/colonial world order? We speak of ethics and tolerance while learning to listen and engage with one another with respect.


A video impression of the previous editions of the summer school can be watched here.
For an interview with course organizers Walter Mignolo and Rolando Vázquez, please go here.


2017: What does it Mean to Decolonize II, On Education, Nature and Conviviality


8th Annual Decolonial Summer School
27 June 2017 – 13 July 2017 (2.5 weeks)
University College Roosevelt (Middelburg, The Netherlands)
Credits: Utrecht University Certificate (6 ECTS)

The 8th Middelburg Decolonial Summer School, 2017, will explore decolonial horizons of living in harmony (Sumak Kawsay) and conviviality. To do so it is necessary to unlearn dominant structures of knowledge and assumptions taken for granted about life, politics, nature, race and sexuality. The 2017 Summer School will be an exercise in shifting the geographies of knowing, sensing and believing. We will focus on three themes: eating, healing and learning. Intellectuals from the humanities and social sciences as well as practicing artists will contribute to the conversation.

Being aware of learning through bodily senses opens up relations towards living in plenitude that challenge the Western divide between “nature” and “culture”. “Nature”, like race and sex, is one of three pillars in Western narratives to secure the position of Man, the over representation of the Human as Sylvia Wynter’ convincingly argued. The separation of the human species from earth has had enormous consequences. The environmental crisis is the most visible. The commodification of food and health follow suit.

Together we will explore forms of relationality that make us all kin with the living earth (Pachamama, Mother Earth, Gaia). Our task would be to generate understanding and praxis based on relationality rather than on objectivity and separation. To do so, it is necessary to delink from the hegemonic narrative of ‘nature’ as resource at the service of growth and development, in order to relink with earth and the regeneration of life.

The decolonial tasks of delinking and relating cannot be individually achieved, they need to be done in conviviality. Conviviality requires building communal togetherness and engaging in decolonial conversations capable of changing the terms of the modern/colonial conversations (e.g., from beliefs and theories and education to imposed common sense).

To pursue our goals, we will focus on three themes: eating, healing and learning. Intellectuals from the humanities and social sciences as well as practicing artists will contribute to the conversation. The overall issue to be explored will be:
a) What is the rhetoric of modernity in the spheres of food, education and health that keep us fixed on what to eat, what to learn and how to heal;
b) What is the hidden logic of coloniality;
c) and what is decolonial horizon.
Decolonially we are interested in mutual understanding of how colonial wounds (humiliations, disdain, dehumanization) are inflicted through food, health and education in order to engage in decolonial healing for living in plenitude.



Deadline for registration: 01 April 2017

If you have questions please email us at decoloniality[at]ucr.nl


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