Lecture at Howard University, Quantum Biology Lab (QBL): «Redefining the Canon: Science from across the Global South and Philosophy from Ethiopia, Egypt, and the First Nations of the Americas»

On December 7, 2021 (1-3 pm EST), the global historian of ideas Dag Herbjørnsrud held the first lecture in QBL’s “Decolonizing the History and Future of Knowledge” Series at Howard University (Washington DC, US). The title of the talk is «Redefining the Canon: Science from across the Global South and Philosophy from Ethiopia, Egypt, and the First Nations of the Americas.» The next lectures in the series will be held by Ruha Benjamin and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.

UPDATE: A direct link (MP4) to the recording of the Herbjørnsrud’s lecture «Redefining the Canon» is here now:


The Quantum Biology Laboratory (QBL), founded by theoretical physicist and Assoc. Prof. Philip Kurian, launched its “Decolonizing the History and Future of Knowledge” series on December 7, 2021. The first Zoom talk in the series, «Redefining the Canon» by Herbjørnsrud, was followed by a Q&A.

Title: «Redefining the Canon: Science from across the Global South and Philosophy from Ethiopia, Egypt, and the First Nations of the Americas».

Link to info and complete Zoom lecture (c. 2h & 15 min., including an intro by Dr. Philip Kurian):


Description: «In this presentation, the global historian of ideas Dag Herbjørnsrud will challenge some central parts of the academic canon within the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Examples will include the «Pythagorean Theorem», Bose-Einstein statistics, Al-Haytham, Audre Lorde, and philosophers from Kemet (Egypt), Kush (Ethiopia), and the First Nations of the Americas. Herbjørnsrud argues that the present-day academy far too often maintains colonial, ahistorical, and unscientific narratives, and that it is about time to decolonize our thought systems.»

Time: Dec 7, 2021 01:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada).

Topic: QBL Lecture – Dag Herbjørnsrud – “Decolonizing the History and Future of Knowledge” Series

Note: «On December 7th, 2021, Dag Herbjørnsrud kicked off the QBL’s «Decolonizing the History and Future of Knowledge» lecture series, highlighting how the distortions in our maps, our mathematical histories, and our models of reality must be rebalanced. «

More info: «This lecture is the first in the QBL series «Decolonizing the History and Future of Knowledge.» Future lecturers in this series will include Ruha Benjamin (January 17, 2022 – MLK Jr. Day) and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (February 22, 2022).»

Ruha Benjamin is an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she studies the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine. She is also the founding director of the IDA B. WELLS Just Data Lab, etc.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is currently a Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. He is recipient of many honors, including the 2001 Nonino International Prize for Literature and eleven honorary doctorates.
Dag Herbjørnsrud is the founder of Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas (SGOKI); latest paper: «Beyond decolonizing: global intellectual history and reconstruction of a comparative method» (2021).



Lecture: Click here for video (link at QBL site)

Info on Quantum Bio Lab:


Press release from Howard University regarding QBL, Sept. 2020:


«WASHINGTON – The Quantum Biology Laboratory (QBL) at Howard University is pleased to announce it has received a major $550,000 grant from the Guy Foundation (GF) to be used over the next two years. This is the first time the United Kingdom-based foundation has awarded a grant to an institution outside the UK and the third scientific research project supported by the Guy Foundation since it was established in 2018.

Under the direction of QBL Principal Investigator and Founding Director Philip Kurian (Ph.D. ’13), the grant will support the lab in exploring fundamental questions at the nexus of quantum theory, electrodynamics, and biosystems. “This is a landmark moment for the QBL, and for Howard,” said Kurian, a theoretical physicist. “It demonstrates our University’s institutional commitment to research in the quantum sciences, particularly quantum biology.”

The QBL has demonstrated itself as a leader in the field prior to receiving the grant. In collaboration with researchers in Switzerland (femtosecond spectroscopy) and in Mexico (open quantum systems), the QBL is now positioned to be the first group in the world to experimentally demonstrate cooperative quantum phenomena in tubulin protein architectures, which form a significant part of cytoskeletal networks in the brain and throughout the cells of higher organisms. Kurian and colleagues theoretically predicted these cooperative effects in 2019 in the New Journal of Physics

«“The Quantum Biology Lab is a wonderful example of what happens when researchers are free to collaborate and to think within and beyond their specific disciplines. As a research professor in the Graduate School, Dr. Kurian continues to bring exciting projects to Howard while also sharing with the world research that is informed by Howard’s uniqueness. I look forward to seeing how this award will continue to advance groundbreaking research Dr. Kurian and his team will initiate at Howard,” said Dana A. Williams, interim dean of the Graduate School at Howard University.»