Ngugi wa Thiong’o lecture at Howard University (QBL): «Decolonizing the Cognitive Process.» Discussion w Ruha Benjamin, Philip Kurian, and Dag Herbjørnsrud

The long-time Nobel Prize candidate and Professor at California University (Levine), Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (b. 1938) delivered the inaugural Black History Month lecture for Quantum Biology Lab (QBL), Howard University (Washington, DC.) on February 22, 2022. The title of the Ngugi lecture, the third in the «Decolonizing the History and Future of Knowledge» series, is «Decolonizing the Cognitive Process.» After the lecture, Ngugi joined a discussion, moderated by the physical theorist and QBL founder Philip Kurian, with the panelists Ruha Benjamin (QBL lecture on Jan 17) and Dag Herbjørnsrud (lecture on Dec 7, 2021). The event was open, free, and broadcasted via Zoom.
UPDATE: A video recording of the Ngugi lecture and the Q&A is now available at this QBL link:
– Direct link for the MP4 video (NB! 1.4 GB; opens in new tab):

Info from QBL: «On February 22, 2022, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o delivered the inaugural Black History Month lecture as part of the QBL’s «Decolonizing the History and Future of Knowledge» series. Prof. Ngũgĩ’s lecture was followed by a discussion featuring panelists Ruha BenjaminDag Herbjørnsrud, and Philip Kurian.» Kurian is a theoretical physicist and Founding Director of QBL. The Ngugi lecture started at 3 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST); the panel discussion lasted from 4:15 to 5:30 pm.

On January 17, 2022, Ruha Benjamin held the inaugural MLK Jr. Day lecture («Whose Knowledge? Whose Future?») as part of the QBL’s «Decolonizing the History and Future of Knowledge» series. All info on the series:

«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 on QBL’s «Decolonizing Knowledge» site:

Ngugi’s web site:

Info on the February 22 lecture: «Abstract: Colonization—the totality of economic, political, cultural and psychic domination of one people by another—goes hand in hand with the complete distortion of the cognitive process. Knowledge systems are taught as originating in the home and language of the colonizer. This distorts the normal cognitive process, which is always from the known to the unknown, or as Ngũgĩ has argued in his book, Globalectics, from here to there and back in a dialectical process of mutual illumination. For the colonized, the result is cognitive dissonance and for the colonizer cognitive arrogance. The dominant knowledge systems in the post-colonial era are often a normalization of the abnormality of the imperial. In this lecture, Ngũgĩ will argue that decolonization must, at the very least, mean the liberation of the cognitive process. All languages in the world are equally the beginnings of the cognitive process.

Biography: An esteemed novelist, essayist, playwright, activist, and academic, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is currently a Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. He was educated at Makerere University College (then a campus of London University) in Kampala, Uganda, and the University of Leeds, Britain. Ngũgĩ was arrested and imprisoned without charge by the neo-colonial Kenyan government in 1977. He wrote his first novel Devil on the Cross on prison-issued toilet paper. After being named an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience, he was released in 1978 and went into exile. He is the author of many seminal works, including Weep Not, Child; Wrestling with the Devil: A Prison Memoir; Globalectics: Theory and the Politics of Knowing; and Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature. In 2021, Ngũgĩ was nominated for the International Booker Prize for The Perfect Nine, the first work written in an indigenous African language to be longlisted for the International Booker.»

NB! In 2020, Ngugi wrote the text «Decolonization Must be Global» for the journal Cosmopolis (Brussels) and its special issue on «Decolonizing the Academy». Herbjørnsrud was the guest editor of that issue (3-2020) and Ngugi’s text was included in his Editorial. Link for Editorial:
More info at SGOKI’s site: