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Decolonising Political Concepts

With keynotes by Ritu Vij, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, and a workshop led by Julie Cupples


Postcolonial and decolonial thinkers and activists have spent the last decades unravelling the intellectual, political and structural legacies of colonialism and ongoing coloniality in our contemporary world. Political concepts are part of these legacies. The way academics define and use them is generally mediated by traditions of political thought marked by and even framed by coloniality. However, and despite the increasing and far-reaching work of postcolonial and decolonial research, this aspect of political concepts is still too often silenced or ignored in some academic settings. Throughout this conference, we aimed to engage with the coloniality of political concepts, and with how ontological, epistemological and political closures and exclusions are reproduced through their use.

Besides, we opened up collective and collaborative reflections on how to expose, challenge and overcome the colonialities still permeating ideas and research by questioning the tools that political concepts are. We engaged with non-Western and indigenous political thought and experiences, exploring alternative uses and what decolonised political concepts might look like. We see such dialogues as necessary in order to find ways of living together that acknowledge and respect plurality and allow for genuinely “postcolonial” academic and political contexts.


Book of Abstracts
Conference Schedule


Academic coordinators

Marie Wuth (marie.wuth@abdn.ac.uk) and
Valentin Clavé-Mercier (valentin.clave-mercier@abdn.ac.uk)

Conference administrator

Michael Tuckwell (politico@abdn.ac.uk)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 754326.

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