Journal Cosmopolis on «Decolonizing the Academy»: «Decolonization must be Global»

In January 2021, the biannual journal Cosmopolis (Brussels) published a special issue on «Decolonizing the Academy». Among the contributors are Ngugi wa Thiong’o (b. 1938): the author of Decolonising the Mind (1986), Distinguished Professor in Comparative Literature at the University of California, etc. Ngugi’s text, «Decolonization must be global», is written exclusively for Cosmopolis, and it’s published as part of the Editorial with the same name. The Editorial is written by the global historian of ideas Dag Herbjørnsrud, Editor of the special issue of Cosmopolis.

With the exception of the Editorial, which is open access, the articles in the Cosmopolis issue are for subscribers. Or: E-mail to get login access. Pictured above: English writing contributors to the special issue (names below).

Contributes: The author Ngugi wa Thiong’o signing books in London in 2007. He contributes to the journal «Cosmopolis» and its issue on «Decolonizing the Academy». Photo: Wikicommons

«Decolonization must be Global,» by Ngugi wa Thiong’o:

« I welcome this issue on decolonizing the academy. Colonization, with all its interlinked economic, political, cultural and even psychic dimensions, has been central to the making of the Modern world. It was the new colonies in the West that fueled Atlantic slave trade, slavery and racism, and all these fed capitalism’s greed. The major cities of Europe were built by colonialism and slavery. Three of the major nuclear powers today were also major players in enslavement and colonization.

Colonialism was many things: Military conquest; social engineering; and production of knowledge. Many of the colonized were once tortured in university laboratories to test out new medicines. Ideas and images were part of the ideological defense of colonial ventures.  All over the West today still stand monuments and other images to the glory of those who enslaved and colonized. Indeed, many of the most venerated Universities in the West were built with or benefited from monies from colonialism and slavery.

Colonization is colonizer and colonized. So, decolonization at the Economic, Political, Cultural and Psychic levels has to involve both the colonizer and the colonized. The Western academies cannot stand aloof. When I released my book, Decolonizing the Mind, in 1986, I never would have dreamed that so many would be taking up the issue.

And I am glad the debates on decolonization continue. I welcome the tide. Decolonization has to be global. The consequences of colonialism, particularly the colony of the mind, must be eradicated globally.»

Contributors to the special Cosmopolis issue «Decolonizing the Academy»:

In order of appearance:

Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Univ of California, Levine, US)

Peter Park (Univ of Dallas, US).

Minna Salami (author, UK/Nigeria)

Anh-Susann Pham Thi (Univ of Manchester, UK). Bruno R. Oliveira (Univ of Grenada, Spain)

Samba Diop (Univ. of Oslo)

J. Machinya (South Africa), R. Beneduce, Lisa Damon, P. Gaibazzi, and Katharina Monz (Univ., Germany)

Aliya Kuzhabekova (Univ. of Astana/Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan)

Nils Andersson (France)

Thomas Ponniah (George Brown College, Toronto, Canada)

Link to the special Cosmopolis issue:

Link to the Cosmopolis Editorial: