Prolegomena to any future decolonial ethics: coloniality, poetics and ‘being human as praxis'

Odysseos, Louiza (2017) Prolegomena to any future decolonial ethics: coloniality, poetics and ‘being human as praxis'. Millennium, 45 (3). pp. 447-472. ISSN 0305-8298

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Decolonial thought has wrought a devastating critique on the academy and wide-ranging fields within it. Decolonial critique entails undeniable and multiple ethico-political orientations arising from concrete struggles within the ‘unfinished project of decolonization’ (Maldonado-Torres), as well as recent articulations of decolonial ethics. This article argues that, as decolonial critique, and calls for decolonial ethics, begin to find their way into broader theoretical discussions in the social sciences and humanities, it may be more fruitful to insist on the question of decolonial ethics. It encourages retaining the disruptive potential of decolonial critique by resisting its immediate translations into available ethical registers and traditions that unwittingly reassert, and remain bound to, forms of ethical expression dependent on generalized narratives, which occlude their histories of violent and racialized exclusion and masterful figurations of ethical subjectivity. Outlining Sylvia Wynter’s excavation of prominent figurations of the human as ‘Man’, I argue that our conceptions of ethical subjects too rest on such figurations. The article, therefore, discusses three prolegomena to any future decolonial ethics: the decolonial critique and displacement of the figure of Man as ethical subject within racialized coloniality; the development of a decolonizing poetics, whose ethos of irreverence seeks forms of poetic revolt that draw on struggles to question systems of ethical thought and knowledge; finally, a discussion of the contours of a praxis of being hybridly human through the development of ‘education’ as an incessant and ‘unfinished’ project.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2017 13:51
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2021 16:10

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