Decoloniality as Travelling Theory: Or What Decoloniality is not

Monday, 7 August, 2017 - 15:00

Presented by : 

I seek to apply and expand Edward Said’s 1982 concept of travelling theory to discuss the state of decoloniality in the South African university now. When theory moves across geographies and travels through human bodies and experiences it leaves parts of itself, gains parts of other theories and practices, and it can end up exactly being what it is not. If it does not end up being its opposite. All philosophies of liberation and theories of re-humanisation run the danger of usurpation, appropriation, distortion and corruption by their exact opposites; dominations and oppressions. Just like philosophies and theories can be enriched and expanded in their travel. This presentation critically explores how some rhetorics and expressions of the decolonisation current have been, like Frantz Fanon’s nationalism, taken over by pitfalls of racism, nativism, xenophobia, hate, sexism, ableism and other chauvinisms. For that reason, the presentation seeks to extricate the logic of decoloniality as an extended family of philosophies of liberation from the rhetorics of coloniality to which it has prevalently become hostage. The gesture of the presentation is to recover decoloniality from entanglements with what it is not, from its hostage to the very coloniality it set out to dethrone. The presentation does this by invoking some canonical decolonial philosophers and theorists that have clarified decoloniality as the antithesis of the dominations and oppressions in shape of the coloniality of power, coloniality of knowledge and the coloniality of being.


PDF icon Mpofu2017.pdf

General seminar arrangements

  • The WISH seminar is hosted on-line every Monday afternoon at 16:00 - 17:00 SA during the teaching semester.
  • For the details of the Zoom meetings, please sign up for email notices at
  • Participants must read the paper prior to the seminar, which is typically available by the Friday preceding the seminar.
  • The WISH seminar archive is available here
  • A printable version of the seminar schedule for the current year is available here.