Date: Tuesday 3 March 2020.
Speaker: Professor Veli Mitova (Philosophy, University of Johannesburg)
Topic: How to decolonize knowledge without relativism
Professor Mitova has provided the following description of her talk:
According to a popular line of thought, we should decolonise knowledge, science, and our university curricula for relativist reasons. Very crudely: the West has illegitimately claimed monopoly on what counts as knowledge, science, and rationality; this is a kind of epistemicide because the Western perspective is just one amongst many equally legitimate ones; so, the decolonisation of knowledge requires, at a minimum, that we accord different perspectives equal epistemic authority. In this talk, I argue that such relativist thinking far from supporting, in fact subverts, the call to decolonise knowledge. The imperative to decolonise is an absolute one, and so cannot be supported by relativist arguments. I first make more precise the relativist thinking that kindles this kind of rationale for decolonisation. I then distinguish three kinds of relativism that might be involved in it. Finally, I argue that none of these is both plausible and a good foundation for decolonising knowledge.
Time and venue: 8pm in Lecture Theatre 1B, Neville Alexander Building.