Eurocentrism, racism and knowledge: debates on history and power in Europe and the Americas and the Americas 9781137292889, 9781349450985, 9781137292896, 1137292881

This collection is an interdisciplinary effort drawing on the work of international scholars and political activists. It

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Eurocentrism, racism and knowledge: debates on history and power in Europe and the Americas and the Americas
 9781137292889, 9781349450985, 9781137292896, 1137292881

Table of contents :
Cover......Page 1
Contents......Page 6
List of Maps and Tables......Page 8
Acknowledgements......Page 9
Notes on Contributors......Page 10
1 Eurocentrism, Political Struggles and the Entrenched Will-to-Ignorance: An Introduction......Page 13
2 Epistemic Racism/Sexism, Westernized Universities and the Four Genocides/Epistemicides of the Long Sixteenth Century......Page 35
3 Violence and Coloniality in Latin America: An Alternative Reading of Subalternization, Racialization and Viscerality......Page 59
4 Social Races and Decolonial Struggles in France......Page 77
5 Towards a Critique of Eurocentrism: Remarks on Wittgenstein, Philosophy and Racism......Page 92
6 How Post-colonial and Decolonial Theories are Received in Europe and the Idea of Europe......Page 105
7 Africanist Scholarship, Eurocentrism and the Politics of Knowledge......Page 126
8 Scientific Colonialism: The Eurocentric Approach to Colonialism......Page 148
9 Secrets, Lies, Silences and Invisibilities: Unveiling the Participation of Africans on the Mozambique Front during World War I......Page 166
10 Conceptual Clarity, Please! On the Uses and Abuses of the Concepts of 'Slave' and 'Trade' in the Study of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery......Page 190
11 Making the Teaching of Afro-Brazilian and African History and Culture Compulsory: Tensions and Contradictions for Anti-racist Education in Brazil......Page 204
12 Race and Racism in Mexican History Textbooks: A Silent Presence......Page 221
13 Social Mobilization and the Public History of Slavery in the United States......Page 241
Index......Page 259

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Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

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Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge Debates on History and Power in Europe and the Americas Edited by

Marta Araújo Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal


Silvia Rodríguez Maeso Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Selection and editorial matter © Marta Araújo and Silvia Maeso 2015 Individual chapters © their respective authors 2015 Softcover reprint of the hardcover 1st edition 2015 978-1-137-29288-9 All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any licence permitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, Saffron House, 6-10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. The authors have asserted their right to be identified as the authors of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. First published 2015 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN Palgrave Macmillan in the UK is an imprint of Macmillan Publishers Limited, registered in England, company number 785998, of Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS. Palgrave Macmillan in the US is a division of St Martin’s Press LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Palgrave Macmillan is the global academic imprint of the above companies and has companies and representatives throughout the world. Palgrave® and Macmillan® are registered trademarks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and other countries. ISBN 978-1-349-45098-5 ISBN 978-1-137-29289-6 (eBook) DOI 10.1057/9781137292896

This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully managed and sustained forest sources. Logging, pulping and manufacturing processes are expected to conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15


List of Maps and Tables Acknowledgements Notes on Contributors 1 Eurocentrism, Political Struggles and the Entrenched Will-to-Ignorance: An Introduction Silvia Rodríguez Maeso and Marta Araújo

vii viii ix


2 Epistemic Racism/Sexism, Westernized Universities and the Four Genocides/Epistemicides of the Long Sixteenth Century Ramón Grosfoguel


3 Violence and Coloniality in Latin America: An Alternative Reading of Subalternization, Racialization and Viscerality Arturo Arias


4 Social Races and Decolonial Struggles in France Sadri Khiari


5 Towards a Critique of Eurocentrism: Remarks on Wittgenstein, Philosophy and Racism S. Sayyid


6 How Post-colonial and Decolonial Theories are Received in Europe and the Idea of Europe Montserrat Galcerán Huguet


7 Africanist Scholarship, Eurocentrism and the Politics of Knowledge Branwen Gruffydd Jones


8 Scientific Colonialism: The Eurocentric Approach to Colonialism Sandew Hira


9 Secrets, Lies, Silences and Invisibilities: Unveiling the Participation of Africans on the Mozambique Front during World War I Maria Paula Meneses and Margarida Gomes


vi Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

10 Conceptual Clarity, Please! On the Uses and Abuses of the Concepts of ‘Slave’ and ‘Trade’ in the Study of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery Kwame Nimako 11 Making the Teaching of Afro-Brazilian and African History and Culture Compulsory: Tensions and Contradictions for Anti-racist Education in Brazil Nilma Lino Gomes



12 Race and Racism in Mexican History Textbooks: A Silent Presence María Dolores Ballesteros Páez


13 Social Mobilization and the Public History of Slavery in the United States Stephen Small




List of Maps and Tables

Map 9.1

World War I military activities in the Mozambique war theatre


Tables 8.1 8.2

Number of enslaved Africans deported from Africa during the Transatlantic Slave Trade Estimates of the number of victims of the system of slavery in the Americas

11.1 1993 reform textbooks analyzed 11.2 2006 reform textbooks analyzed


140 148 212 213


The editors of this collection would like to thank the Centre of Social Studies of the University of Coimbra for encouraging our research. We would also like to thank our colleagues who participated in this collection for their contributions and for generously enriching our understanding of the questions addressed in this volume. This edited collection results from the academic work undertaken during the research project ‘“Race” and Africa in Portugal: A Study on History Textbooks’ (2008–12), which was funded by ERDF through the Operational Competitiveness Programme – COMPETE, and by national funds from Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia – FCT (PTDC/CED/64626/2006 | FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-007098). It also benefited from the research and networks established within the project TOLERACE: ‘The Semantics of Tolerance and (Anti-)Racism in Europe: Public Bodies and Civil Society in Comparative Perspective’ (2010–13), funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013]), under grant agreement no. 244633.


Notes on Contributors

Arturo Arias is Tomas Rivera Regents Professor in Latin American Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. His more recent academic books are Taking their Word: Literature and the Signs of Central America (2007), and The Rigoberta Menchú Controversy (2000). He is currently working on contemporary Latin American Indigenous narratives. Marta Araújo is Senior Researcher at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal. She has published internationally on education policy, institutionalized racism and Eurocentrism. Margarida Gomes is a researcher at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra. She holds a degree in Art History from the same university and a specialization in Cultural Affairs. Her current research interests include post-colonial debates around the concepts of cosmopolitanism and identity processes, especially from a literary and philosophical perspective in African contexts. Nilma Lino Gomes is Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). Between 2004 and 2006, she was the president of the Brazilian Association of Black Researchers (ABPN). She is currently the Rector pro tempore of the University of International Integration of Brazil-Africa Lusophony (UNILAB). Ramón Grosfoguel is Professor in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley, and Senior Researcher at the Maison de Science de l’Homme (MSH) in Paris. He has published many articles and books on the Political Economy of the World System, International Migration, Eurocentrism, Colonial Social Sciences and Race/Racism. Sandew Hira, pen name of Dew Baboeram, is an independent scholar and activist. He is director of the International Institute for Scientific Research in The Hague and visiting lecturer at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. He studied Economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 1982 he published his first book on the history of the struggle against colonialism in Suriname from 1630–1940. Since then ix


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he has published more than 20 books and numerous reports and articles on history and race relations. Montserrat Galcerán Huguet is Professor of Philosophy at the Complutense University of Madrid, Co-Director of the Research Group on ‘Globalization and Social Movements’, and a social activist. Her research focuses on contemporary philosophy, Marxism, feminism, and Critical Epistemology. She is the author, among other publications, of Deseo [y] Libertad (Traficantes de Sueños, 2009). Branwen Gruffydd Jones is Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy in the Politics Department, Goldsmiths, University of London. Her teaching and research concerns include the politics of knowledge about Africa, African political thought, and the politics of African cities. She is editor of Decolonizing International Relations (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006). Sadri Khiari was, for a long time, an activist in the Tunisian extreme left. A refugee in France from 2003 until the fall of Ben Ali, he was one of the main founding members of the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic. He has published numerous works and articles on race and racism. Silvia Rodríguez Maeso is Senior Researcher at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal. Her work has focused on Eurocentrism, race and history, public policy and human rights. Maria Paula Meneses is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra. She holds a PhD from Rutgers University, USA. Her work has been published in journals and books in several countries, reflecting her academic interests: political transitions in Africa, nationalist movements and identity struggles, and epistemologies of the South, among others. Kwame Nimako is the founder and director of the Summer School on Black Europe and a visiting professor at the Department of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He taught International Relations and Race and Ethnic Relations for more than 25 years at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author or co-author of over 30 books, reports and guidebooks on economic development, ethnic relations, social policy, urban renewal and migration.

Notes on Contributors


María Dolores Ballesteros Páez holds a PhD in Social Sciences from the Monterrey Technological and High Studies Institute (ITESM) and an MA in Modern History from Instituto Mora. She works on the visual representations of African population in Mexico and on the production of Mexican history textbooks. S. Sayyid is a Reader in the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies at the University of Leeds. S. Sayyid’s major publications include Recalling the Caliphate, A Fundamental Fear, A Postcolonial People (co-editor), Thinking Through Islamophobia (co-editor), and he has also co-authored Racism, Governance and Public Policy. Many of his writings have been translated into Farsi, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. Stephen Small is Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and Extraordinary Professor for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy at the University of Amsterdam. He researches public history, collective memory and the Black Diaspora in Europe.

1 Eurocentrism, Political Struggles and the Entrenched Will-toIgnorance: An Introduction Silvia Rodríguez Maeso and Marta Araújo

This edited collection is an interdisciplinary production, bringing the work of international scholars and political activists within a wide range of approaches and disciplines, including History, Anthropology, Political Sociology, Philosophy, International Relations, Political Economy and the Sociology of Education. It addresses key contemporary issues in the critique of Eurocentrism and racism, in relation to debates on the production, sedimentation and circulation of (scientific) knowledge, historical narratives and memories in Europe and the Americas. It takes as its crucial starting point the concept of Eurocentrism as grounded in the project of Modernity and, in particular, its specific configuration of colonialism, history and Being which has led to the emergence of race as a key organizing principle in the modern world order from the geopolitical perspective of the creation of Europe/Europeanness, the expression of its hegemony and its contestation. We consider Eurocentrism as a paradigm for interpreting a (past, present and future) reality that uncritically establishes the idea of European and Western historical progress/achievement and its political and ethical superiority, based on scientific rationality and the construction of the rule of law. Accordingly, we propose that it is essential to debate Eurocentrism within the formation of Western knowledge and its claims for universal validity, since this provides a certain historical mapping of the world that unambiguously establishes which events and processes are scientifically relevant and how they are interpreted – simultaneously discovering and covering them. 1


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In order to understand the consequences of Eurocentrism in terms of the way in which certain patterns of interpretation are produced and contested, it is vital to question the fundamental basis of the centuries-old project of Modernity: coloniality/racism. More specifically, following authors such as Enrique Dussel (2000, 2008), Sylvia Wynter (1995, 2003) and Aníbal Quijano (2000, 2007), we consider that Eurocentrism is rooted in the Eurocentred colonization of America in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and in two interrelated processes: the production of onto-colonial taxonomies based on the ‘Western Idea of Man’ (Wynter, 2003; Maldonado-Torres, 2004) in the distribution of (ir-)rationality/(sub-)humanity (that is, race), and the gradual establishment of capitalist accumulation as a global standard for labour and market control. Hence, Eurocentrism is not mere ethnocentrism, that is, the perspective from which each people tells their history, nor is racism simply the product of ‘exacerbated ethnocentrism’ (Cox, 1970 [1948]), pp. 477–9). This conceptual framework calls for a critical analysis of modern and contemporary configurations of race and racism. In other words, ‘modernity is racial’ (Hesse, 2007, p. 643), and the specific relationships between power and knowledge that forge the contemporary contours of Eurocentrism can tell us about the histories of race and racism and their enduring legacies. This is paramount to unsettling a key epistemological and political effect of the ways in which we interpret Modernity and the idea of a European specificity (implicitly read as superiority), that is, the drawing of an ‘abyssal line’ (Santos, 2007) in the production of history. Boaventura de Sousa Santos has characterized modern thinking as ‘abyssal thinking’, consisting of ‘a system of visible and invisible distinctions, the invisible ones being the foundation of the visible ones’ (ibid., p. 45). He thus argues that whereas ‘Western modernity’ can be defined ‘as a socio-political paradigm founded on the tension between social regulation and social emancipation’, the visible distinction is simultaneously founded on an invisible one that establishes a division between metropolitan societies and colonial territories. While the ‘regulation/emancipation’ dichotomy is applied to the metropolitan side of the line, the colonial territories are ruled by the ‘appropriation/ violence’ dichotomy. Following this analysis, Santos considers ‘modern scientific knowledge and modern law’ as ‘the most accomplished and clear manifestation of abyssal thinking’ (ibid., p. 46). Accordingly, the spheres of science and law produce, and are sustained by, a ‘radical denial’ that ‘eliminates whatever realities are on the other side of the line’; although the colonial side of the line is the condition of possibility for the

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emergence of modern law and science, this is rendered invisible (ibid., p. 48). Erasing this history – what Maldonado-Torres (2004, p. 30) has described as the ‘forgetfulness of coloniality in both Western Philosophy and contemporary social theory’ – is, therefore, a key characteristic of Eurocentrism. This allows for an interpretation of Modernity – of liberal democracy, citizenship, the nation-state and human rights, among other ‘universal’ categories – as if race, racism and colonialism did not lie at the core of this historical process, inside and outside the geographical borders of ‘Europe’, Europeanized nation-states and/or the West. Most importantly, race has been tenaciously produced and inscribed in the world through ‘the idea of a neutral epistemic subject whose reflections only respond to the structures of the spaceless realm of the universal’ (ibid., p. 29), an aspect crucial to the debates analyzed in this collection. In conceiving of Eurocentrism as a paradigm for an interpretation of reality, we insist on the need to bring the relationship between knowledge and power to the centre of disputes on national identity, cultural diversity and the validation of ‘other’ narratives. More specifically, we insist on the need to interrogate and explain what Sylvia Wynter (1992, 1995, 2003) refers to as the ‘organization/order of knowledge’ and its ‘descriptive/prescriptive statements’. We argue that what is at stake is not that the history of Europe and the Americas is being written without considering colonialism and racial enslavement, but rather that the dominant approach often interprets these processes as a dark chapter (UNESCO, 2002, p. 17) in the triumphant development of Modernity (Wolf, 1997 [1982]), that is, an appendix to this history that is offset by the eventual progress in rights, equality and democracy. Accordingly, while colonialism and racism may be acknowledged in the debates on history and memory, they are often approached, to paraphrase Aimé Césaire (2000 [1955], p. 53), as that ‘annoying fly’ that interrupts the state’s ‘forgetting machine’ (ibid., p. 52), driven by what needs to be remembered, celebrated or commemorated (e.g. the multicultural empire, mestizaje, intercultural encounters, liberal revolutions). Moreover, the legacies of colonialism are to be conventionally understood within the liberal framework of human rights. Following the work of Michel-Rolph Trouillot (1995, p. 96) on the formulas of silence pervading the production of history on the Haitian Revolution, we argue that this framework erases and banalizes the histories of collective struggles and questions of political responsibility (for instance, the enduring anti-enslavement and anti-colonial/liberation struggles versus the narratives of White humanist abolitionism and independences granted in due time – drawing on the idea of the immaturity1 of the


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

colonized for immediate emancipation/liberation). For instance, as Angela Davis (1981, p. 59) showed in the case of White anti-slavery/ abolitionist and women’s rights movements in the United States, these initiatives towards emancipation both perpetuated racism and failed to promote a wider anti-racist consciousness – an example of the enduring rule of White supremacy/privilege. We thus consider it crucial to approach the history of the formation of modern nation-states as inextricably bound to that of colonialism and racial enslavement (Goldberg, 2002; Santos, 2007; Nimako and Willemsen, 2011). This conceptual approach enables the discussion to move beyond traditional analyses that view debates on history and memory as merely a matter of the identity politics of groups demanding representation (Wynter, 1992; Deloria, 1995), particularly evident in the Northern American context, or as an issue emerging from the so-called challenges of globalization and the increasing diversity of national societies otherwise viewed as ethnically homogeneous in Europe (Goldberg, 2002, 2009). Hence the collection of chapters presented here takes as its starting point the critical enquiry of takenfor-granted assumptions underlying interpretations of the boundaries of the colonial, the national, and Europe/Europeanness (Hesse, 2007). In particular, this book engages with the construction of the ‘EuroImmigrant nation’ (Wynter, 1992) in several American contexts and the presumed homogeneity of the nation in Europe – achieved and enforced through violence and the purging of difference (Goldberg, 2002, 2009). Both these notions consecrate the privilege of White Europeans and their descendants, albeit unwritten in historical accounts due to a depoliticizing approach (Brown, 2006). If, on the contrary, we take heterogeneity as constitutive of (post-)colonial nation-states and race as the key governing principle behind the subjugation of populations/ nature and the distribution of moral values, the privilege of unmarked whiteness (inscribed in institutions, laws and practices) becomes a terrain for academic enquiry and political struggle. This is all the more relevant with regard to historical narratives, since they constitute a crucial site for the naturalization of privilege, as is evident in contemporary discussions on colonialism, slavery and (anti-)racism. Accordingly, several chapters in this collection interrogate the ways in which different patterns of silencing articulate with, and accommodate, recognition and representation through formulas of knowledge production, consolidation and consumption that trivialize existing power arrangements and enduring political struggles. As a whole, they point to the consequences of unveiling local and regional interconnected histories opening up a

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tension not only with ‘other’ histories, but also with specific attempts within Eurocentric thought to continually reshape the world in racially hierarchical terms and to recentre the West/Europe.

Organization of the book Chapters 2–8 focus on the notion of Eurocentrism as a paradigm for interpreting reality grounded in the project of Modernity, that is, in colonialism, capitalism and race. In particular, these contributions engage with the geopolitics of knowledge production in order to understand and challenge the ways in which academic narratives and methodologies are embedded in the naturalization and reproduction of racism. Chapter 2 by Ramón Grosfoguel interrogates the historical roots of the contemporary order of knowledge (re)produced by the Westernized university, which renders other Western and non-Western knowledges inferior and outside the acceptable canon of thought. The author regards the contemporary hegemonic Human Sciences as founded on epistemic racism/sexism and locates their roots in the four genocides/epistemicides of the long sixteenth century: against Jewish and Muslim populations during the conquest of Al-Andalus and its aftermath; against Indigenous peoples in the conquest of the Americas; against Africans kidnapped and enslaved in the Americas; against women accused of witchcraft and burned alive in Europe. The chapter unfolds in dialogue with Enrique Dussel’s insightful critique of the ontological and epistemological assumptions of Cartesian philosophy. The author analyzes how these four genocides/epistemicides made it possible for ‘I conquer, therefore I am’ to be transformed into the epistemic racism/sexism of the Cartesian rationale ‘I think, therefore I am’. Grosfoguel’s approach reveals the interrelation between these four processes of violence as constitutive of the modern/colonial world’s epistemic structures and of Western man’s epistemic privilege. The chapter concludes with a reflection on the need to move beyond Eurocentred Modernity and discusses the implications and possibilities for the decolonization of the Westernized university. In Chapter 3, Arturo Arias focuses more closely on the nature of violence in the modern colonial world. Proposing a decolonial perspective, Arias explores the nature of violence exercized by hegemonic elites over subalternized and racialized civil societies in Latin America vis-à-vis the ‘visceral’ reaction of colonized subjects. This is illustrated by two cases: the nineteenth-century Yucatan Caste War and the late twentieth-century Guatemalan Civil War. Arias discusses the ways in


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

which the justification for violence has been anchored in the ontological naturalization of racism at the centre of the everyday governance of all kinds of domestic events or, in other words, the ways in which colonialism has enabled Indigenous peoples and African ‘slaves’ to be conceived of as inferior to the conquering European subjects. Regarding the Yucatan Caste War, the author argues that the actual violence unleashed by Indigenous subjects is a solid example of a situation in which originary violence, enacted by Western elites convinced of their racial superiority, significantly contributed towards forestalling any possibility of peaceful behaviour on the part of the Indigenous population. Arias suggests that a similar case could be argued for the 37-year-long civil war in Guatemala, referring in particular to the brutal military counteroffensive against the insurrection in the Maya highlands that began in the summer of 1982. The author therefore argues that it is necessary to read and locate the Maya population’s visceral response outside the disciplinary political mythologies of Western-centred revolutionary progress and the national ideal of mestizaje. More specifically, Arias sees the Guatemalan Maya movement’s construction of a transnational field of political struggle as extending beyond the repressive epistemological frontiers of nationhood that have characterized the Marxist-oriented Ladino left. The chapter concludes with a reflection on the challenges posed by a decolonial logic: what happens when we view violence not only as inevitable, but as ‘just’? In Chapter 4, Sadri Khiari offers an appraisal of the context in which a decolonial strategy emerged in anti-racist struggles in France. His starting point is that racism can only be successfully approached by considering the political arena as the site of a power struggle between races, thus moving beyond the legacy of the colonial progressive/conservative or left/right cleavage which structures politics and has implied rendering the racial invisible. The consequence of the universal linear Eurocentric history that unfolded with the advent of Modernity and progress has been the relegation of other spaces, experiences and accounts to non-history or to earlier stages of history. Khiari thus interrogates the French conversion of a worldwide system of racial domination established since the sixteenth century and embodied in the formation and consolidation of the (White) Republic, which preserves the privilege of the unmarked whiteness constitutive of the racial system. In analyzing the challenges faced by decolonial politics in France, he points to the need to construct a border strategy that recognizes the dislocated sites and disjointed temporalities of emancipation and liberation struggles beyond the White Eurocentric political imaginary.

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Khiari argues that while liberation struggles developed an internationalist character (for example, the resistance of Africans deported to America and the Caribbean, the anti-colonial wars and the converging struggles of the ‘Third World’ following independence or the anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa), they should be interpreted as racial struggles against White power. Within this approach, struggles for emancipation and liberation within the French Hexagon ought to be understood as resistance to the racial order challenging the continuing renewal of the coloniality of power relations. The author illustrates this with the articulation of class and race struggles, integrationist anti-racism and contemporary academic explanations of racism, which have established race as external to any historical power relationship, thus looking to the state for the possibility of its regeneration – in harmony with the republican ideal – whilst preventing anti-racism from being regarded as a political strategy outside particularism. In Chapter 5, S. Sayyid casts a critical gaze upon certain readings of the post-colonial and calls for an engagement not simply with the critique of media representations and cultural prejudice, but also with the profound ways in which Eurocentrism is constitutive of Western knowledge. In his view, this is a necessary endeavour to grasp the ways in which cultural, philosophical and geopolitical forces and processes were organized in the service of the Eurocentred (colonial and racial) world order. Accordingly, he proposes to move beyond essentialism in the critique of Eurocentrism, laying down the horizons of a decolonial Philosophy. Sayyid calls for a non-essentialist reading of Wittgenstein’s work and proposes that his contribution, particularly his later work, implies a critique of Eurocentrism that is relevant for an understanding of its relationship with epistemology, culture and racism. Following Wittgenstein’s performative view of language and the relevance of the context in which language games are played, Eurocentrism is hence understood as a learned epistemology and ontology, rather than just in geopolitical terms. The chapter closes with the author distinguishing the difference between being European and the project of Eurocentrism, emphasizing that neither Eurocentrism nor its critique is exclusive to Europeans. Considering the logic of Eurocentrism a relationship of domination, Sayyid argues that the search for epistemological alternatives towards decolonial ends, including the decolonizaton of post-colonial studies, cannot reproduce the hierarchy of the West over the non-West. In Chapter 6, Montserrat Galcerán Huguet poses crucial questions about the interrelationship between contemporary European politics


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

and established scholarship, which points towards the enduring centrality of an idea of Europe that continues to claim universal validity whilst remaining blind to the colonial difference that sustains the Enlightenment concept of reason. Galcerán Huguet starts by considering the effects of post-colonial and decolonial theories on the idea of Europe and by raising the fundamental epistemological question that these conceptual approaches imply: how to think beyond the colonial framework? Her analysis interrogates the resistance among European academics and intellectuals to post-colonial and decolonial theories, taking as an example the French context and the work by Africanist scholar Jean-François Bayart, namely his critical position regarding the theoretical, historical and political claims of the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic. Galcerán Huguet focuses on the ways in which post-colonial theories developed within Anglo-American academia have merged with the European trend known as post-structuralism, most notably the work of Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, and how post-colonial writers place themselves in a highly contentious area in which worldwide Westernization is taken as a given. She stresses that this literature locates the discussion of ‘European identity’ in the recognition that the European project of Modernity was founded on the enslavement of other peoples and cultures, whose lives and experiences have been marked by these processes. Yet, as she argues, there is also a reluctance to acknowledge coloniality except in a sanitized way that reflects the supposed European self-critical tradition, as illustrated by the 2003 European Manifesto signed by Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida. Finally, the author discusses the specific place of Latin America and Spain within this constellation of political and academic debates, theories and interventions, pointing to the differences between post-colonial and decolonial studies in the use of critical categories for dominant thought. The chapter concludes by questioning the epistemic privilege of dominant European culture in worldwide academia. In Chapter 7, Branwen Gruffydd Jones focuses on the power/ knowledge relationship, exposing the pervasiveness of Eurocentrism at the heart of the rise and consolidation of Africanist scholarship. Her analysis centres on nineteenth-century British and European colonial enterprises and the post-war establishment of ‘area studies’ in the US. Jones sees knowledge production as a crucial element of European colonial rule and as becoming institutionalized in research programmes via funding from large American philanthropic foundations since World War II (for instance, Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford), particularly in the face of growing anti-colonial protest and organization. Her

Eurocentrism, Political Struggles and Will-to-Ignorance


analysis thus helps to unravel how hegemonic Africanist scholarship has conformed to this geopolitics and to the epistemological context of modernization theory, behaviouralism and positivist comparative politics. Jones questions the predominant academic debates within this framework, which range from issues concerning political transition and instability, nationalism, political parties, leadership and the role of elites, to the more specific analysis of neo-patrimonialism. Accordingly, she considers it paramount to draw attention to the Philosophy of History within which these vocabularies and theoretical frameworks have been constructed as one which positions African societies in a time separate from, and prior to, that of Europe or the West – also prevalent in other studies in areas which analyze politics in so-called ‘new’ and ‘developing’ states. Jones concludes by warning of the pervasiveness of a historicist consciousness in the conventional vocabularies of ‘state failure’, which echoes a lament for the passing of colonial rule. In Chapter 8, Sandew Hira proposes that mainstream academic and popular approaches to colonialism and slavery in the Netherlands are ideologically grounded in the legacies of European White Enlightenment thinking. He argues that colonialism had a deep impact on the development of science, defining the way in which the relationship between European and non-European societies was addressed and studied and codifying racism within the rise and consolidation of Western social thought. Scientific colonialism does not consider the view from the (codified as) ‘other’ and fails to situate its own narrative as enunciated within the logic of the oppressor and exploiter. Moreover, as illustrated by Hira’s analysis, this Eurocentric approach also fails to meet the test of its claims for factuality and logical rationality. This is often overlooked in academic endeavours due to unchecked implicit assumptions and propositions, the production of knowledge of a descriptive nature, the deployment of statistical data to confer scientific authority on a particular ideological positioning, and partial accounts of colonialism and slavery. Hira thus engages with a Decolonizing the Mind approach which aims to make such assumptions and concepts explicit, in addition to checking their factual and logical basis. Chapters 9–13 critically engage with dominant contemporary conceptual frameworks and official narratives on the (post-)colonial nation, race and history. In particular, the authors engage with accounts of colonialism, slavery and the colonized in terms of their relation to customary national histories and enduring struggles against racism. The marginalization of critical narratives by/on the colonized and their relegation to scientific, political and pedagogical irrelevance in


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Europe and the Westernized world are some of the ideas discussed. One implication of these Eurocentric academic and political approaches is that they reflect on the dissemination and sedimentation of knowledge, namely in museums, state-sanctioned curricula and textbooks, which are analyzed in several chapters in this collection. In Chapter 9, Maria Paula Meneses and Margarida Gomes interrogate the exclusion of the view codified as ‘other’, exploring the silences on African involvement in World War I by looking at the case of the theatres of war in territories colonized by Portugal (which maintained a state of ‘neutrality’). The chapter illustrates the interrelationship between the methods applied to compel Africans to serve on the Mozambique front in World War I to prevent a German invasion – with a focus on the role of the Niassa Company and the carriers – and the legal system that imposed forced labour and extended the existing structure of racial hierarchy. The authors thus unravel the ways in which World War I and its aftermath were crucial to the enforcement of modern Portuguese colonial policies. Following Boaventura de Sousa Santos’ sociology of absences and his critical theory on ‘modern abyssal thinking’, Meneses and Gomes highlight the ways in which the dominant Western narrative on World War I has failed to consider ‘other’ involvements (their reasons, trajectories and implications) precisely because it favours a Eurocentric and linear approach to the history of this conflict, primarily recognizing the (mostly White) expeditionary forces that fought on the European front as lawful combatants. Thus, the silence surrounding the African troops in Mozambique during World War I is exemplary of the re-enactment of an abyssal line that tenaciously splits the metropolitan from the colonial side of the line. The chapter shows that an approach to the conflict as restricted to the geographical limits of Europe is closely related to the long-standing tendency to treat African social phenomena as atypical, local processes outside global rational explanations, assuming linear temporality as the neutral medium within which history unfolds. The scholarly production of knowledge is also a central question in Chapter 10 by Kwame Nimako. This author calls for conceptual clarity within academic and political approaches and discourses on the transatlantic slave trade and slavery (including ‘modern slavery’), in the light of the weak empirical grounding for these concepts and their nineteenth- and twentieth-century reinventions (after the legal abolition of slavery and the end of the Cold War). Nimako questions the current conceptual inflation, academic institutionalization and universalization of these notions among career historians. He thus challenges

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the practice of calling on archival material to validate certain scientific claims – which broadly overlooks the fact that such evidence was obtained and preserved for specific purposes, including maintaining the racial hierarchy. In considering that this material can be used to study social formation and the production of knowledge, Nimako thus suggests we engage with, rather than ignore, the historical fraud that allows for the perpetual naturalization of slavery and shifts the burden of responsibility for slavery away from Europe and European descendants. This conceptual shift is crucial to discussing the legacies of European slavery, specifically with regard to the formation of the nation-state, national identities and cultural traditions, and the continuing (though changing) racisms that shape international and domestic relations. The chapter concludes with the suggestion that the abuse of the concept of slavery is partly a consequence of parallel lives and intertwined belonging: people sharing the same spaces but having different experiences and memories, giving rise to different understandings and notions of freedom and emancipation, with consequences for the production of knowledge. In Chapter 11, Nilma Lino Gomes addresses the historical demands of the Black movement during the last century in Brazil, particularly in terms of education. In 2003, under the Lula da Silva government, these demands culminated in the legal requirement for the mandatory teaching of the history of African-Brazilian and African history and culture in compulsory education. By linking this official initiative to other related debates – such as anti-racist teaching and affirmative action – Gomes explores the challenges, tensions and contradictions that have emerged with the implementation of this law. Although the background context to its approval is the emerging consensus on the lack of representation and misrepresentation of ethno-racial diversity in Brazil, resulting from enduring grassroots struggles, the implementation of the law has revealed the difficulties in achieving anti-racist teaching throughout the Brazilian educational system. Despite the alliances that have been formed between the state, international organizations and grassroots movements, the broader context of political ambiguity in the commitment to fight racism and the legacies of a Eurocentric knowledge system have hampered meaningful change. Ten years after its implementation, this legislation has not been sufficiently consolidated in public policies, thus curtailing the efforts made by grassroots movements to achieve structural change in education. Nonetheless, such collective demands have been crucial to launching a broader political debate across the country on institutionalized racism.


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Chapter 12 explores the limited changes to history teaching in Mexico brought about by state reforms to education which were, at least partially, a reaction to the grassroots struggles of the Zapatista movement. Dolores Ballesteros Páez focuses on discourses on race and racism in secondary education history teaching following the 1993 and 2006 educational reforms in Mexico, which were meant to contest the assimilationist approach that pervaded the education system during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Since the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in 1994 and the adoption of international recommendations on the multicultural curriculum, the defence of a pluricultural identity has emerged in schoolbooks. However, as Ballesteros Páez suggests, despite the increasing representation of certain populations (especially Indigenous and African enslaved populations), these remain a silent presence: although the 2006 education reform introduced a multi/intercultural approach (mostly adding new content to textbooks), by continuing to silence the racist and nationalist ideas behind the political construction of the Mexican nation, these populations remain on the margins of the main narrative. Mexican national identity, drawing on ideas such as mestizaje and, more recently, multiculturalism and interculturality, is nowadays constructed as homogeneous (supposedly a blend of Indigenous, African and Spanish elements), whilst erasing certain populations from national history, restricting their presence to small sections or viewing them as limiting the modernization of the country. Through the illusion of inclusion, the privileged position of the descendants of Spanish colonial settlers is both consecrated and rendered invisible, whilst a systematic and historically informed reflection on racism and its changing dynamics in Mexican society is evaded. This can be seen in the erasure of the idea of race as a crucial factor in contemporary inequalities and as a key mobilizing force within grassroots struggles. This chapter thus illustrates the limited horizons of policy reform in challenging Eurocentrism in education. In Chapter 13, the final chapter, Stephen Small analyzes the processes of knowledge production and dissemination that have made ‘other’ experiences and narrations visible, although still consigned to marginality in public history. Specifically, he focuses on the public memory of slavery and on representations of the struggles of AfricanAmericans in museums and on plantation sites. Small argues that while there is an impressive amount of research and knowledge about slavery and its legacies in the US and extensive information is available in a wide range of museums, mainstream accounts continue to provide narrow

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coverage and a particular discursive orientation – presenting a grand narrative of American history that emphasizes freedom, equality and fairness. Despite improvements, these accounts do not fully escape the US nationalist ideology of progress and the legacy of Southern gentility, disavowing public discussion of race and slavery. Plantation museums incorporate or marginalize slavery in relative terms, or simply annihilate it from their narratives. Specialist museums managed by AfricanAmericans, on the other hand, tend to offer a more complete account of the extent and depth of slavery and its legacies, which is crucial to challenging dominant views and assumptions and to highlighting their contributions to labour, technology, medicine, knowledge and culture in the US. Small thus argues that the contemporary museum infrastructure continues to constitute a ‘separation of knowledge’ that is the outcome of the ‘segregation of knowledge’ – itself a legacy of slavery and legal segregation. His chapter reminds us that knowledge production is inseparable from racialized ideologies, and that these ideologies continue to be shaped by a combination of factors, including economic profit, political gain, nostalgia and the evasion of guilt, as well as hostility to Black people. Small concludes that only continued social mobilization will prevent the marginalization of knowledge of the Black experience in US history. *



Dominant debates on colonialism and racial enslavement exemplify the workings of Eurocentrism as a paradigm of knowledge production and interpretation. Despite occupying a marginal position within modern historiography (Trouillot, 1995; Vergès, 2008), in recent decades there has been a re-emergence of political and academic interest in the history and in memorialization of slavery on both sides of the Atlantic. International efforts have been crucial in fostering public debate, namely: (a) the International UNESCO Slave Route programme focusing on disseminating knowledge on slavery, which was launched in Benin in 1994 following a proposal by Haiti and several African countries; (b) the 2001 United Nations-sponsored Durban World Conference against Racism and the declaration that the transatlantic slave trade and slavery were inextricably associated with racism; (c) the UNESCO initiatives launched during the International Year for the Commemoration of the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition (2004) to encourage research into the links between the slave trade, slavery and contemporary racism. Despite their relevance in launching a debate that in many contexts had been dormant, three questions are particularly problematic


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within the approach and initiatives proposed. Rooted in Eurocentric thinking, such endeavours depoliticize Atlantic slavery and regenerate the historical cover-up of its close links with colonialism and racism (Goldberg, 1993; Hesse, 2002). First, through the persistence of the approach to the ‘transatlantic slave trade’ as a ‘tragedy’ (for example, UNESCO, 2001, p. 14; 2002, p. 6), an exceptional process, or an appendix to the history of Europe. The 2001 Durban Declaration (UNESCO, 2002), whilst acknowledging the negative impact of slavery on Africa, broadly omits its benefits to Europe: Atlantic slavery is approached as a process happening over there – in the colonies – with little relevance to European history. Consigning slavery to a dark chapter (ibid., p. 17) of this history paves the way for the centrality of contemporary narratives that depoliticize colonialism and enslavement – and, consequently, racism – within the semantics of mestizaje, multiculturalism and interculturality (Araújo and Maeso, 2012a; see also Ballesteros Páez, Chapter 12 in this volume). Second, with the increasingly widespread idea of the universality of slavery – at the heart of the Slave Route project (for example, Diène, 1998; UNESCO, 2013). This is the revival of a colonial narrative that prevented racial enslavement from being considered a European ‘discovery’, generally blaming it on Arabs and Muslims and calling for European moral outrage alongside continuing colonial exploitation (Hochschild, 2006 [1988]; Gopal, 2006; Nimako, Chapter 10 in this volume). The idea of the ubiquity of enslavement is also being reformulated within the currently expanding study of ‘modern slavery’, assuming ‘that research work on the Atlantic “slave” trade and slavery is exhausted’ (Nimako and Willemsen, 2011, p. 190). This again turns race into a coincidental factor in the history of Atlantic slavery, a non-constitutive element of this system of exploitation. As such, the relationship between slavery and race becomes relevant – an obsession? – for the scholars and activists of (anti-)racism but optional or, at most, a parenthesis in academic and pedagogical accounts of colonialism and slavery. Third, via an approach to education and scientific knowledge as antidotes to racism (Henriques, 1984), consolidated in the post-war context in which UNESCO emerged and eventually becoming hegemonic. In contemporary times, international debates on slavery and history teaching continue to enshrine the role of scientific knowledge in combating racism via the production of accounts that ‘give [this phenomenon] a rigorous scientific character’ (UNESCO, 2001, p. 15) and thus eradicate ‘ignorance and prejudice’ (ibid., p. 6; see also pp. 5–12). The relative insignificance of the ‘transatlantic slave trade’

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in European/Western history and historiography (and its contemporary containment within accommodating narratives) cannot be reduced to a matter of academic ignorance. Such an approach derives, as Trouillot (1995, p. 6) suggests, from a positivist view of science that masks the configurations of power through a naive epistemology. We therefore need to consider the ‘strange’ silence (UNESCO, 2001, p. 14) on racial enslavement as the consequence of crucial intellectual choices and engagements that foster the absence of knowledge but are not reducible to it (Trouillot, 1995). These global debates have acquired specific relevance and contours in different contexts – with race being variously considered as if it could be temporarily hidden from view, or added in as an extra explanatory element. Throughout the last century, initiatives to reconsider national imaginaries of colonialism, race and slavery have emerged in Europe and in the Americas,2 with education becoming a battleground for important struggles for knowledge/power. For instance, since the 1960s in the US,3 the Civil Rights movement has pushed for a reorganization of the system of knowledge, albeit accompanied by institutional reaction (Wynter, 1992, p. 11; see also Davis, 1981; Deloria, 1995). As Frank Füredi (1998) argued, UNESCO’s rejection of race as a scientifically and politically consensual concept since the 1950s led to the rise of ideas of cultural difference and pluralism – rather than equality – in international political and academic debate, which would have an impact on debates in education. The Cold War and national liberation struggles in Africa and Asia – endangering the privilege of the West in the world order – further created a context in which mobilization around racial consciousness was politically and diplomatically deflected (ibid.). Accordingly, most debates on history teaching and textbooks have been narrowly framed by the need to represent the (colonized/enslaved) ‘other’ in multicultural societies. Official initiatives to broaden the curriculum, as well as much scholarly work, have failed to move beyond an understanding of racism as ‘ignorance and prejudice’ and of Eurocentrism as misrepresenting or lacking the ‘other’ side of history, which is dominant in UNESCO interventions. They have favoured a rectification and/or compensatory approach that reduces ‘aggressive nationalism’ (UNESCO, 2001, p. 11) and adds in limited amounts of the ‘version of the losers’, whilst failing to challenge existing descriptive and prescriptive rules that determine in/exclusion: Multiculturalism can seem to be an attractive answer to the particularism of the Euro-Immigrant perspective from which the present textbooks are written … Rather than seeking to reinvent our


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present cultural native model, the multi-culturalism alternative seeks to ‘save’ the nation model by multiculturalizing it. It does not move outside the conceptual field of our present EuroAmerican cultural model. (Wynter, 1992, p. 16) Thus, on both sides of the Atlantic, the master script on slavery (Swartz, 1992), colonialism, race and the nation has broadly remained unchanged – by design and by implementation. Debates on the multicultural curriculum and multiperspectivity have failed to unsettle Eurocentrism and to produce a profound critique of the construction of the core idea of the national/European/Western ‘we’ in which the ‘other’ is to be included. Cornel West’s assertion remains relevant: We need to tell a story about ways in which ‘Eurocentrism’ as a category for the debate is hiding and obscuring something, obfuscating a debate, prepackaging a debate that thereby never really takes place and becomes, instead, this battle between bureaucrats over slots and curriculum … the only way we get beyond a paralyzing either/or perspective is to take a look at this idea of Europe, the very idea of Europe as an ideological construct. (West, 1993, pp. 120–1) What is therefore required is an approach that considers not merely the (mis)representation of the ‘other’ but shows the theoretical and analytical relevance of the notion of Eurocentrism to understanding the ways in which race and racism are rendered (in)visible in the debate on nationhood, citizenship, democracy and human rights (Araújo and Maeso, 2012b). Whilst education is a crucial site for the analysis of the naturalization both of Eurocentric thinking and of related political and cultural contestation, these struggles have never been about mere symbolic representation, but about access to resources (Wynter, 1992; Deloria, 1995). This is particularly evident in Nilma Gomes’ Chapter 11 in this volume: demands for inclusion in the canon of knowledge have been linked to a wider struggle against the institutionalization of racism. Affirmative action in higher education and the debate this has unleashed in Brazilian universities bears witness to this. Beyond academic historiography and formal education systems, the increasing relevance of multisited productions of history should also be noted, particularly with regard to their role in shaping collective memories of colonialism, enslavement and racism. Public commemorations, museums and exhibitions, media productions and pedagogical materials are crucial sites for the construction and

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sedimentation of historical narratives. They usually reveal the ‘institutionalized practice of social forgetting’ (Nimako and Small, 2012) and are particularly relevant to understanding the problematic status of any political discussion on (anti-)racism (Eichstedt and Small, 2003). While the state has had an advantage in ensuring its citizens acquire official history through compulsory schooling, museums, public events and commemorative commissions (Wertsch, 2002), significant ruptures with official knowledge have often been the result of the enduring struggles of grassroots movements, political activists and intellectuals. Local initiatives have been crucial to the development of collective memories, frequently building on national and international partnerships. Many of these initiatives and cultural productions aim to promote alternative, critical forms of memorializing colonialism and enslavement through intellectual collaboration and communitarian knowledge production and dissemination (for example, communitybased libraries, digital resources, guided tours). In Europe, for instance, in cities such as London or Amsterdam, Black History/Heritage tours have emerged to challenge official discourses that consign colonialism and enslavement to a distant and thus irrelevant (irreparable) past. In the US, as Stephen Small argues in Chapter 13 of this volume, despite the impressive amount of knowledge produced on slavery, most initiatives designed to memorialize it – in museums and plantation sites – continue to disseminate a hegemonic narrative on the relationship between colonialism and nation-state formation; those that do not are mostly the result of Black mobilization. This goes to show that the relationship between anti-racist and political liberation struggles and scientific discourse has always been, at least, uneasy. Universities have historically been sites for the reproduction of White privilege, through the canonization of certain scientific theories and explanations. More importantly, they also provide the arsenal of categories to be deployed concerning the ‘political’, the ‘religious’, ‘violence’, and so on, all of which revolve around the question of Being Human. As Vine Deloria ironically remarks: The constant drumbeat of scientific personalities who manipulate the public’s image of Indians by describing archaeological horizons instead of societies, speaking of hunter-gatherers instead of communities, and attacking Indian knowledge of the past as fictional mythology, has created a situation in which the average citizen is greatly surprised to learn that Indians are offended by racial slurs and insults. (Deloria, 1995, p. 21)


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This modern/racist question has compelled colonized peoples ‘to define what it means to be human because there is a deep understanding of what it has meant to be considered not fully human, to be savage’ (Tuhiwai Smith, 2012 [1999], p. 28; original emphasis). This process has been somehow translated by scholars into the more fashionable question of (political) agency, although usually accompanied by the policing of knowledge production by the colonized and minoritized. For instance, the pervasiveness of Eurocentrism and racism lays at the centre of the heated controversy surrounding Rigoberta Menchú Tum and her biographical testimony on the massacres by the Guatemalan army in 1981–82. Entitled I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian woman in Guatemala,4 the testimony follows the publication of a book, by American anthropologist David Stoll in 1999, questioning the veracity and representativeness of her narrative (Arias, 2001). To these critiques, she responded: It is not a question of you believing in my own truth or someone else’s; I’m simply saying that I have the right to my memory, as do my people. (Rigoberta Menchú Tum, interviewed by Juan Jesús Aznárez, 1999, in Aznárez, 2001, p. 116) This polemic is illustrative of the ways in which certain knowledge is read as too subjective and suspicious – an ad hoc narrative serving more a specific (and dubious) political agenda than an objective interpretation of ‘events’ – as well as the common construction of Indigenous peoples as easily ‘manipulated’ by external political forces. Although the relationship between knowledge and power may have been acknowledged and incorporated in scholarly reflections, Westernized academia and its internal rules of reproduction remain – as Khiari argues in Chapter 4 of this volume – anchored in a Eurocentric paradigm that disregards race as a power struggle. Grosfoguel’s interconnected analysis in Chapter 2 of this volume provides an understanding of the historical roots of this epistemological order and the main challenges this poses to the Westernized university. More often than not, the depoliticization of race and racism prevents established academics from thinking outside the colonial framework, rapidly condemning some knowledge as ‘ideological’ and therefore irrelevant, as Galcerán Huguet points out in Chapter 6 of this volume. At the core of this issue is the ‘self’–‘other’ dichotomy, which has been mainly interrogated by critical scholarship. Fernando Coronil (1989), in his review of Tzvetan Todorov’s The Conquest of America, noted that the

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‘fascination with the construction of “otherness”’ leaves the colonial self unmarked and perpetuates the imperial ‘politics of selfhood’ (p. 329). This present collection therefore considers it imperative to unravel how the unmarked self – inscribed in legal frameworks, institutional practices and historical archives – is reproduced through the use and reinvention of certain vocabularies, concepts, and arguments, as analyzed by Jones, Hira and Nimako in Chapters 7, 8 and 10 of this volume. The politics of knowledge are also closely related to the geopolitical borders of scholarly inquiry and their production and organization of our ‘objects’ of analysis and interpretations. In this sense, as already stated, it is essential to question the divide between the colonial and the metropolitan. In Chapter 9 of this volume, Meneses and Gomes’ interrogation of the dominant narratives of World War I, which foreground the imaginary of a ‘European war’, represents a step in this direction. They also highlight the problematic construction of national cases that continues to frame the understanding of historical processes and political struggles on the frontiers of nationhood. What, then, are the challenges? The articles compiled in the issue of Human Architecture edited by Boidin and colleagues point towards the ‘potential for the renewal of American and European universities’ (2012, p. 2) brought by the different experiences and historical trajectories of academic and grassroots movement critiques of the production of knowledge. They also examine the multiple layers of ‘re-Westernization’ and the containment of ‘critical inquiry’ in several topics (such as slavery and racism) through the reproduction of hegemonic research fields and frameworks of inquiry (for example, ‘immigration/minority studies’). This serves as a critical warning on the shortcomings of many critiques of Eurocentrism emerging from academia (see also Sayyid, Chapter 5 in this volume). As Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui stresses in her critique of the establishment of ‘post-colonial’ and ‘cultural studies’ research in US universities, these institutionalized fields assemble a ‘conceptual apparatus, and forms of reference and counterreference that have isolated academic treatises from any obligation to or dialogue with insurgent social forces’ (2012, p. 98). This calls for an approach to the decolonization project as a practice that it is always engaged with profound political and cultural change (ibid., pp. 100–1). However, it is a collective political endeavour that the hegemonic Eurocentric paradigm is not only unwilling, but also ill-prepared, to embrace, entrenched as it is, to paraphrase MaldonadoTorres, in its will-to-ignorance ‘with good conscience’ (2004, p. 36).


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Notes 1. The thesis of ‘immaturity for self-determination’ was contested by intellectuals within national liberation movements, such as Amílcar Cabral in his Political Texts (1974, p. 47). 2. In the last decade, in Europe, debates on slavery and history teaching were most visible in Britain, France and the Netherlands. In the Americas, Brazil, Colombia and the US (particularly the textbooks discussion prompted by the Texas State Board of Education) are illustrative of this. 3. Carter G. Woodson’s (1933) The Mis-Education of the Negro is a powerful example of an earlier challenge to the dominant canons of knowledge in education in the US. 4. Published originally in French in 1983 and a year later in English, Menchú Tum, a member of the Peasant Unity Committee (CUC), narrates in her testimony the massacres by the Guatemalan army in 1981–82 in hundreds of Mayan villages, as part of its counter-insurgency strategy in El Quiché region. She became a spokesperson for Indigenous rights, particularly for the Mayan peoples. Rigoberta Menchú Tum received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 and was a candidate in the 2011 presidential elections in Guatemala.

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Deloria, V. (1995) Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact (New York: Scribner). Diène, D. (1998) ‘The Slave Route: A Memory Unchained’, UNESCO Sources, 99 (March), 7. Dussel, E. (2000) ‘Europe, Modernity, and Eurocentrism’, Nepantla: Views from South, 1 (3), 465–78. Dussel, E. (2008) ‘Anti-Cartesian Meditations: On the Origin of the Philosophical Anti-Discourse of Modernity’,, accessed 10 December 2013. Eichstedt, J. and S. Small (2002) Representations of Slavery: Race and Ideology in Southern Plantation Museums (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press). Füredi, F. (1998) The Silent War. Imperialism and the Changing Perception of Race (London: Pluto Press). Goldberg, D. T. (1993) ‘Modernity, Race, and Morality’, Cultural Critique, 24, 193–227. Goldberg, D. T. (2002) The Racial State (Malden, MA: Blackwell). Goldberg, D. T. (2009) The Threat of Race. Reflections on Racial Neoliberalism (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell). Gopal, P. (2006) ‘The “Moral Empire”: Africa, Globalisation and the Politics of Conscience’, New Formations: A Journal of Culture/Theory/Politics, 59, 81–97. Henriques, J. (1984) ‘Social Psychology and the Politics of Racism’ in J. Henriques, W. Hollway, C. Urwin, C. Venn and V. Walkerdine (eds) Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation and Subjectivity (London: Routledge). Hesse, B. (2002) ‘Forgotten Like a Bad Dream: Atlantic Slavery and the Ethics of Postcolonial Memory’ in D. Goldberg and A. Quayson (eds) Relocating Postcolonialism (Oxford: Blackwell). Hesse, B. (2007) ‘Racialized Modernity: An Analytics of White Mythologies’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30 (4), 643–63. Hochschild, A. (2006) King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa (London: Pan Books) [1st edn 1988]. Maldonado-Torres, N. (2004) ‘The Topology of Being and the Geopolitics of Knowledge: Modernity, Empire, Coloniality’, CITY, Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action, 8 (1), 29–55. Nimako, K. and G. Willemsen (2011) The Dutch Atlantic: Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation (London: Pluto Press). Nimako, K. and S. Small (2012) ‘Collective Memory of Slavery in Great Britain and The Netherlands’ in M. Schalkwijk and S. Small (eds) New Perspectives on Slavery and Colonialism in the Caribbean (The Hague: Amrit Publishers). Quijano, A. (2000) ‘Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism and Latin America’, Nepantla: Views from South, 1 (3), 533–80. Quijano, A. (2007) ‘Coloniality and Modernity/Rationality’, Cultural Studies, 21 (2–3), 168–78. Rivera Cusicanqui, S. (2012) ‘Ch’ixinakax utxiwa: A Reflection on the Practices and Discourses of Decolonization’, South Atlantic Quarterly, 111 (1), 95–109. Santos, B. S. (2007) ‘Beyond Abyssal Thinking: From Global Lines to Ecologies of Knowledges’, Review, XXX (1), 45–89. Swartz, E. (1992) ‘Emancipatory Narratives: Rewriting the Master Script in the School Curriculum’, Journal of Negro Education, 61 (3), 341–55.


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Trouillot, M. R. (1995) Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (Boston, MA: Beacon Press). Tuhiwai Smith, L. (2012) Decolonizing Methodologies. Research and Indigenous Peoples (London: Zed Books) [1st edn 1999]. UNESCO (2001) UNESCO against Racism: World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban, South Africa, 31 August–7 September, 123862e.pdf, accessed 12 November 2013. UNESCO (2002) Declaration of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, adopted on 8 September 2001 (Durban),, accessed 15 December 2010. UNESCO (2013) The Slave Route, dialogue/the-slave-route, accessed 12 November 2013. Vergès, F. (2008) ‘Esclavage Colonial: Quelles Mémoires? Quels Héritages?’ in P. Blanchard and I. Veyart-Masson (eds) Les Guerres de Mémoires : La France et Son Histoire (Paris: La Découverte). Wertsch, J. (2002) Voices of Collective Remembering (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). West, C. (1993) Beyond Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism: Volume 2, Prophetic Reflections: Notes on Race and Power in America (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press). Wolf, E. R. (1997) Europe and the People without History. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press) [1st edn 1982]. Woodson, C. G. (1933) The Mis-Education of the Negro. (Washington D.C.: Associated Publishers). Wynter, S. (1992) Do not Call us Negros: How ‘Multicultural’ Textbooks Perpetuate Racism (San Francisco, CA: Aspire). Wynter, S. (1995) ‘1492. A New World View’ in V. Lawrence Hyatt and R. Nettleford (eds) Race, Discourse, and the Origin of the Americas: A New World View (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institute Press). Wynter, S. (2003) ‘Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom Towards the Human, After Man, its Overrepresentation – An Argument’, CR: The New Centennial Review, 3 (3) (Fall), 257–337.

2 Epistemic Racism/Sexism, Westernized Universities and the Four Genocides/Epistemicides of the Long Sixteenth Century Ramón Grosfoguel

Introduction This chapter has been inspired by Enrique Dussel’s critique to Cartesian philosophy and his World-Historical work on the conquest of the Americas in the long sixteenth century.1 It aims at adding another dimension to his many contributions by looking at the Conquest of the Americas in relation to three other world-historical processes, namely the Conquest of Al-Andalus, the enslavement of Africans in the Americas and the killing of millions of women burned alive in Europe accused of being witches, in relation to knowledge structures.2 As Dussel focused on the genocidal logic of the Conquest of the Americas, this chapter draws on the implications of the four genocides of the sixteenth century to what Boaventura de Sousa Santos (2010) calls ‘epistemicide’, that is, the destruction of knowledges that was tied to the destruction of peoples. The focus is fundamentally on the emergence of modern/ colonial structures of knowledge as the foundational Epistemology of Westernized universities and its implications for the decolonization of knowledge. The main questions addressed are the following (based on Santos, 2010): How is it possible that the canon of thought in all the disciplines of the Human Sciences (Social Sciences and Humanities) in the Westernized University (Grosfoguel, 2012a) is based on the knowledge produced by a few men from five countries in Western Europe (Italy, 23


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France, England, Germany and the United States (US)? How is it possible that men from these five countries achieved such an epistemic privilege to the point that their knowledge today is considered superior to the knowledge of the rest of the world? How did they come to monopolize the authority of knowledge in the world? Why is it that what we know today as Social, Historical, Philosophical or Critical Theory is based on the sociohistorical experience and worldview of men from these five countries? When one enters any department in the Social Sciences or the Humanities, the canon of thought to be learned is fundamentally founded on theory produced by men of the five Western European countries outlined above (Santos, 2010). However, if theory emerges from conceptualizations based on social/historical experiences and sensibilities as well as worldviews of particular social spaces and bodies, then social scientific theories or any theory limited to the experience and worldview of only five countries in the world are, to say the least, provincial. But this provincialism is disguised under a discourse of ‘universality’. The pretension is that the knowledge produced by men of these five countries has the magical effect of universal capacity, that is, their theories are supposed to be sufficient to explain the social/ historical realities of the rest of the world. As a result, our job in the Westernized university is basically reduced to learning these theories born of the experience and problems of a particular region of the world (males of five countries in Western Europe) with its own particular time/ space dimensions and ‘apply’ them to other geographical locations even if the experience and time/space of the former are quite different from the latter. These social theories based on the social-historical experience of men of five Western countries constitute the foundation of the Human Sciences in Westernized universities today. The counter to this epistemic privilege is epistemic inferiority. Epistemic privilege and epistemic inferiority are two sides of the same coin, a coin named epistemic racism/sexism (Grosfoguel, 2012a) where one side is considered superior and the other side inferior. In Westernized universities, the knowledge produced by other epistemologies, cosmologies and worldviews – from the geopolitics of knowledge and body-politics of knowledge of different world-regions with diverse time/space dimensions – are considered ‘inferior’ in relation to the ‘superior’ knowledge produced by the few Western men of five countries that compose the canon of thought in the Humanities and the Social Sciences. The knowledge produced from the social/ historical experiences and worldviews of the Global South, also known as ‘non-Western’, is considered inferior and not part of the canon

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of thought. Moreover, knowledge produced by women (Western or non-Western) is also inferior and outcast from the canon of thought. The foundational structures of knowledge of the Westernized university are simultaneously epistemically racist and sexist. What are the worldhistorical processes that produced structures of knowledge founded on epistemic racism/sexism? To answer these questions, we need to go back several centuries and discuss the formation of racism/sexism in the modern world and its relation to the longue durée of modern structures of knowledge. Since the Cartesian legacy has been so influential in Western structures of knowledge, the chapter begins in the first part with a discussion of Cartesian philosophy. The second part discusses the Conquest of Al-Andalus. The third part deals with the conquest of the Americas and its implications for Muslim and Jewish origin population in sixteenth-century Spain as well as for the African population kidnapped in Africa and enslaved in the Americas. The fourth part discusses the genocide/epistemicide against Indo-European women burned alive by the Christian Church which accused them of being witches. The final part deals with Enrique Dussel’s project of Transmodernity and what it means to decolonize the Westernized university.

Cartesian philosophy and epistemic racism/sexism We need to begin any discussion of structures of knowledge in Westernized universities with Cartesian philosophy. Modern Philosophy is supposed to have been founded by René Descartes (2013 [1923]).3 Descartes’ most famous phrase, ‘I think, therefore I am’, constitutes a new foundation of knowledge that challenged Christendom’s4 authority of knowledge from the time of the Roman Empire. The new foundation of knowledge produced by Cartesianism is no longer the Christian God, but this new ‘I’. Although Descartes never defines who this ‘I’ is, it is clear that in his philosophy this ‘I’ replaces God as the new foundation of knowledge and its attributes constitute a secularization of the attributes of the Christian God. For Descartes, the ‘I’ can produce a knowledge that is Truth beyond Time and Space, ‘universal’ in the sense that it is unconditioned by any particularity, ‘objective’ understood as equal to ‘neutrality’ and equivalent to a ‘God’s-Eye view’. To make the claim of an ‘I’ that produces knowledge equivalent to a ‘God’s-Eye view’, Descartes makes two main arguments: one is ontological and the other epistemological. Both arguments constitute the condition of possibility for the claim that this ‘I’ can produce


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a knowledge that is equivalent to a ‘God’s-Eye view’. The first argument is ontological dualism. Descartes claims that the mind is of a different substance from the body. This allows for the mind to be undetermined, unconditioned by the body. In this way Descartes can claim that the mind is similar to the Christian God, floating in heaven, undetermined by anything terrestrial, and that it can produce a knowledge equivalent to a ‘God’s-Eye view’. The universality here is equal to the Christian God’s universality in the sense that is not determined by any particularity, it is beyond any particular condition or existence. The image of God in Christendom is that of an old white-bearded man with a cane sitting, in a cloud, watching everybody and punishing anybody who misbehaves. What would happen to the ‘God’s-Eye view’ argument if the mind were of a similar substance to the body? The main implication would be that the claim that a human ‘I’ can produce a ‘God’s-Eye view’ falls apart. Without ontological dualism, the mind would be located in a body, would be similar in substance to the body and, thus, conditioned by the body. The latter would mean that knowledge is produced from a particular space in the world and thus there is no unsituated knowledge production. If this is the case, then it can no longer be argued that a human ‘I’ can produce knowledge equivalent to a ‘God’s-Eye view’.5 The second argument of Descartes is epistemological. He claims that the only way the ‘I’ can achieve certitude in knowledge production is through the method of solipsism. How can the ‘I’ fight scepticism and be able to achieve certitude in knowledge production? The answer given by Descartes is that this could be achieved through an internal monologue of the subject with himself (the gender here is not accidental, for reasons that will be explained later). With the method of solipsism, the subject asks and answers questions in an internal monologue until he reaches certitude in knowledge. What would happen if human subjects produce knowledge dialogically, that is, in social relations with other human beings? The main implication would be that the claim about an ‘I’ that can produce certitude in knowledge isolated from social relations with other human beings falls apart. Without epistemic solipsism, the ‘I’ would be located in particular social relations, in particular social/ historical contexts, and thus there is no monological, unsituated and asocial knowledge production. If knowledge is produced in particular social relations, that is, inside a particular society, then it cannot be argued that the human ‘I’ can produce a knowledge equivalent to a ‘God’s-Eye view’.

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Cartesian philosophy has been highly influential in Westernized projects of knowledge production. The unsituatedness of Descartes’ philosophy inaugurated the ego-politics of knowledge: an ‘I’ that assumes itself to be producing a knowledge from nowhere. As Colombian philosopher Santiago Castro-Gomez (2003) argues, Cartesian philosophy assumes a point-zero epistemology, that is, a point of view that does not assume itself as a point of view. The importance of Descartes for Westernized epistemology can be seen in as far as, after 370 years, Westernized universities still hold the Cartesian legacy as a criterion of validity for science and knowledge production. Even those who are critical of Cartesian philosophy still use it as a criterion for what differentiates science from non-science. The ‘subject–object’ split, ‘objectivity’ understood as ‘neutrality’, the myth of an EGO that produces ‘unbiased’ knowledge unconditioned by its body or space location, the idea of knowledge as produced through an internal monologue without links to other human beings and universality understood as beyond any particularity, are still the criteria for valid knowledge and science used in the disciplines of the Westernized university. Any knowledge that claims to be situated in the body-politics of knowledge (Anzaldúa, 1987; Fanon, 2010) or geopolitics of knowledge (Dussel, 1977) – as opposed to the myth of the unsituated knowledge of the Cartesian ego-politics of knowledge – is discarded as biased, invalid, irrelevant, unserious; that is, inferior knowledge. What is relevant to the ‘Western men tradition of thought’ sanctioned by Cartesian philosophy is that it constituted a world-historical event. Previously to Descartes, no tradition of thought claimed to produce an unsituated knowledge that is God-like or equivalent to God. This idolatrous universalism of ‘Western men tradition of thought’ inaugurated by Descartes (2013 [1923]) in 1637, pretends to replace God and produce a knowledge that is God-like. The Dusselian questions are: What are the political, economic, historical, and cultural conditions of possibility for someone in the mid-seventeenth century to produce a philosophy that claims to be equivalent to God’s Eye and to replace God? Who is speaking and from which body-politics of knowledge or geo-politics of knowledge is speaking from? Enrique Dussel (1977, 1995) responds to these questions with the following argument: Descartes’ ‘I think, therefore I am’ is preceded by 150 years of ‘I conquer, therefore I am’. The ego conquiro is the condition of possibility of Descartes’s ego cogito. According to Dussel, the arrogant and idolatrous God-like pretention of Cartesian philosophy is coming


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from the perspective of someone who thinks of himself as the centre of the world because he has already conquered the world. Who is this being? According to Dussel (1995), this is the Imperial Being. The ‘I conquer’ that began with the European men colonial expansion in 1492 is the foundation and condition of possibility of the ‘I think’ that secularizes all the attributes of the Christian God and replaces God as the new foundation of knowledge. Once European men conquered the world, God is disposable as a foundation of knowledge. After having conquered the world, European man achieved ‘God-like’ qualities that gave them epistemic privilege. However, there is a missing link between the ‘I conquer, therefore I am’ and the ‘I think, therefore I am’. There is no inherent necessity to derive from the ‘I conquer, therefore I am’, the ‘idolatrous universalism’ (the ‘God’s-Eye view’) nor the ‘epistemic racism/sexism’ (the inferiority of all knowledges coming from human beings that are classified as non-Western). What links the ‘I conquer, therefore I am’ (ego conquiro) with the idolatrous, God-like ‘I think, therefore I am’ (ego cogito) is the epistemic racism/sexism produced from the ‘I exterminate, therefore I am’ (ego extermino). It is the logic of genocide/epistemicide together that mediates the ‘I conquer’ with the epistemic racism/sexism of the ‘I think’ as the new foundation of knowledge in the modern/colonial world. The ego extermino is the socio-historical structural condition that makes possible the link of the ego conquiro with the ego cogito. In what follows, it will be argued that the four genocides/epistemicides of the long 16th century are the socio-historical condition of possibility for the transformation of the ‘I conquer, therefore I am’ into the epistemic racism/sexism of the ‘I think, therefore I am’. These four genocides/ epistemicides are: (1) against Muslims and Jews in the conquest of Al-Andalus in the name of ‘purity of blood’; (2) against Indigenous peoples first in the Americas and then in Asia; (3) against African people with the captive trade and their enslavement in the Americas; (4) against women who practised and transmitted Indo-European knowledge in Europe, burned alive accused of being witches. These four genocides/ epistemicides are frequently discussed fragmented from each other. The attempt here is to see them as interlinked, interrelated to each other and as constitutive of the modern/colonial world’s epistemic structures. These four genocides were at the same time forms of epistemicide that are constitutive of Western men’s epistemic privilege. To sustain this argument we need not only to go over history, but also to explain how and when racism emerged.

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The conquest of Al-Andalus: genocide/epistemicide against Muslims and Jews The final conquest of Al-Andalus in the late fifteenth century was carried out under the slogan of ‘purity of blood’. This was a proto-racist discourse against Muslim and Jewish populations during the Catholic monarchy’s colonial conquest of Andalusian territory to destroy the sultanate of Granada, which was the last Muslim political authority in the Iberian Peninsula (Maldonado-Torres, 2008a). The practice of ethnic cleansing of the Andalusian territory produced a physical and cultural genocide against Muslims and Jews: 1. the killing and forced expulsion of Muslims and Jews from their land (genocide), led to the repopulation of the territory with Christian populations from the North of the Iberian Peninsula (Caro Baroja, 1991; Carrasco, 2009). This is what in the literature is today called ‘settler colonialism’; 2. the massive destruction of Islamic and Judaic spirituality and knowledge through genocide, led to the forced conversion (cultural genocide) of those Jews and Muslims who decided to stay in the territory (Barrios Aguilera, 2009; Kettami, 2012). By turning Muslims into Moriscos (converted Muslims) and Jews into Marranos (converted Jews), their memory, knowledge and spirituality were destroyed (cultural genocide). The latter was meant to guarantee that future descendants of Marranos and Moros would be born fully Christians without any memory trace to their ancestors. The Spanish state discourse of ‘purity of blood’ was used to survey the Muslim and Jewish populations who survived the massacres. In order to survive and stay in the territory, they were forced to convert to Christianity (Galán Sánchez, 2010). Those populations that were forced into conversion or that had Jewish or Muslim ancestry were surveyed by the Christian monarchy in order to assure that they were not faking conversion. ‘Purity of blood’ referred to the population’s ‘family tree’, which provided to state authorities the information needed in order to know if the ancestry of an individual or a family was ‘purely’ Christian or ‘non-Christian’ – in the case that they were Christian converts. The discourse of ‘purity of blood’ did not question the humanity of the victims. For the Castilian Christian monarchy, Muslims and Jews were humans with the ‘wrong God’ or ‘wrong religion’. They were perceived as a ‘fifth column’ of the Ottoman sultanate in the Iberian Peninsula


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(Martín Casares, 2000; Carrasco, 2009; Galán Sánchez, 2010). Thus, the old European medieval religious discriminatory discourses such as the old anti-Semite discourses (Judeophobic or Islamophobic) were used against Jews and Muslims in the conquest of Al-Andalus. It is important to emphasize that since the possibility of conversation was still open, the old anti-Semite European medieval religious discrimination of the Castilian Christian monarchy (at the end of the fifteenth century) was not yet racial and included among Semite people both Muslims and Jews.6 As long as the Muslims and Jews converted to Christianity, the doors for ‘integration’ were open during the medieval Spanish monarchy’s conquest of Al-Andalus (Galán Sánchez, 2010; Dominguez Ortiz, 2009). It was not the humanity of the victims that was in question, but the religious identity of the social subjects. The social classification used at the time was related to a theological question about having the ‘wrong God’ or the ‘wrong religion’ to stratify the society along religious lines. In sum, what is important here is that the ‘purity of blood’ discourse used in the conquest of Al-Andalus was a form of religious discrimination that was not yet fully racist because it did not question in a profound way the humanity of its victims.

The conquest of the Americas in relation to the conquest of Al-Andalus: genocide/epistemicide against indigenous peoples, Marranos, Moriscos and Africans When Christopher Columbus first presented the document known as ‘The Indian Enterprise’ to the King and Queen of the Castilian monarchy, their response was to accept it and postpone it until after the conquest of all the territory known as Al-Andalus. They ordered Columbus to wait until the final conquest over the ‘Kingdom of Granada’, the last sultanate in the Iberian Peninsula. The idea of the Castilian Christian monarchy was to unify the whole territory under its command by the rule of ‘one state, one identity, one religion’ – in contrast to Al-Andalus where there were multiple Islamic states (sultanates) with ‘multiple identities and spiritualities inside their territorial boundaries’ (Maíllo Salgado, 2004; Kettami, 2012). The Castilian Christian monarchy’s project to create correspondence between the identity of the state and the identity of the population within its territorial boundaries was the origin of the idea of the nation-state in Europe. The main goal expressed to Columbus by the King and Queen was the unification of the whole territory under the power of the Christian monarchy, as a first step before going abroad to conquest other lands beyond the Iberian Peninsula.

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The final conquest over Muslim political authority in the Iberian Peninsula was achieved on 2 January 1492 with the capitulation of Granada’s Nazarí emirate. Only nine days later, on 11 January 1492, Columbus met again with Queen Elizabeth. But this time the meeting was held in Granada’s Alhambra Nazarí Palace where Columbus received the royal authorization and resources necessary for his first voyage overseas. Only ten months later, on 12 October 1492, Columbus arrived on the shores of what he named Indias Occidentales (West Indies) because he believed, wrongly, that he had arrived to India. The relationship between the conquest of Al-Andalus and the conquest of the Americas has been under-researched in the literature. The methods of colonization and domination used against Al-Andalus were extrapolated to the Americas (Garrido Aranda, 1980). The conquest of Al-Andalus was so important in the minds of the Spanish conquerors that Hernan Cortés, the conqueror of Mexico, confused the Aztecs’ sacred temples with Mosques. In addition to the genocide of the population, the conquest of Al-Andalus was accompanied by epistemicide, that is, the extermination of knowledge. For example, the burning of libraries was a fundamental method used in the conquest of Al-Andalus. The library of Cordoba, that had around 500,000 books at a time when the largest library of Christian Europe had no more than 1,000 books, was burned in the thirteenth century. Many other libraries suffered the same fate during the conquest of Al-Andalus up until the final burning of more than 250,000 books of the Granada library by Cardenal Cisneros in the early sixteenth century. These methods were extrapolated to the Americas. Thus, the same happened with the Indigenous códices, which was the written practice used by Amerindians to archive knowledge. Thousands of códices were also burned, destroying Indigenous knowledges in the Americas. Genocide and epistemicide went together in the process of conquest in both the Americas and Al-Andalus. A similar process happened with the methods of evangelization used against Indigenous people in the Americas (Garrido Aranda, 1980; Martín de la Hoz, 2010), inspired by the methods used against Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula (Garrido Aranda, 1980). It was a form of ‘spiritualicide’ and ‘epistemicide’ at the same time. The destruction of knowledge and spirituality went hand in hand in the conquest of both Al-Andalus and the Americas. However, it is important also to understand how the conquest of the Americas affected the conquest of Moriscos and Marranos in the Iberian Peninsula in the sixteenth century. The conquest of the Americas was at the centre of the new discourses and forms of domination that emerged


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in the long sixteenth century with the creation of the modern/colonial world-system. Here the contribution of Nelson Maldonado-Torres is crucial when he argued that the sixteenth century transformed the ancient forms of imperial social classification that had existed since the fourth century when, through Constantine, Christianity became the dominant ideology of the Roman Empire: The conceptual coordinates that defined the ‘fight for the empire’ and the forms of social classification of the 4th century and of later centuries prior to the ‘discovery’ and conquest of the Américas change drastically in the 16th century. The relationship between religion and empire would be at the centre of a dramatic transformation from a system of power based on religious differences to one based on racial differences. It is for this reason that in Modernity, the dominant episteme would not only be defined by the tension and mutual collaboration between the idea of religion and the imperial vision of the known world, but, more precisely, through a dynamic relation between empire, religion, and race. Ideas about race, religion, and empire functioned as significant axes in the imaginary of the emergent Modern/colonial world. (Maldonado-Torres, 2008a, p. 230) The first point to emphasize in this history is that after months of navigation through the Atlantic Ocean, the moment Columbus disembarked from his ship on 12 October 1492 he wrote in his diary: It seemed to me that they were a people very poor in everything. All of them go around as naked as their mothers bore them … They should be good and talented servants, for I observed that they quickly took in what was said to them. And I believe that they would easily be made Christians, as it appeared to me that they had no sect. (my translation) This statement by Christopher Columbus opened a debate that would run for the next 60 years (1492–1552). As Nelson Maldonado-Torres (2008a) argued, in the late fifteenth century, Columbus’ notion of ‘people without sect’ (‘people without religion’) meant something new. To say ‘people without religion’ today means ‘atheist people’, but in the Christian imaginary of the late fifteenth century it had a different connotation. In Christian imaginary, all humans have religion. They could have the ‘wrong God’ or ‘wrong Gods’, there could be wars and they could kill each other in the fight against the ‘wrong God’, but the

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humanity of the other, as a trend and as a form of domination, was not yet questioned. What was being questioned was the theology of the ‘other’, which was radically modified after 1492 with the conquest of the Americas and the characterization of Indigenous peoples by Christopher Columbus as ‘people without religion’. As MaldonadoTorres points out: To refer to the Indigenous as subjects without religion removes them from the category of the human. Religion is universal among humans, but the alleged lack of it among natives is not initially taken to indicate the falseness of this statement, but rather the opposite, that there exist subjects in the world who are not fully human … Columbus’ assertion about the lack of religion in Indigenous people introduces an anthropological meaning to the term. In light of what we have seen here, it is necessary to add that this anthropological meaning is also linked to a very modern method of classifying humans: racial classification. With a single stroke, Columbus took the discourse on religion from the theological realm into a Modern philosophical Anthropology that distinguishes among different degrees of humanity through identities fixed into what would later be called races. (2008a, p. 217) Contrary to the contemporary sense, ‘colour racism’ was not the first racist discourse. ‘Religious racism’ (’people with religion’ versus ‘people without religion’ or ‘people with soul’ versus ‘people without a soul’) was the first marker of racism in the ‘Capitalist/Patriarchal WesternCentric/Christian-centric Modern/colonial world-system’ (Grosfoguel, 2011) formed in the long sixteenth century. The definition of ‘people without religion’ was coined in late fifteenth- and early sixteenthcentury Spain. The debate provoked by the conquest of the Americas was whether the ‘people without religion’ found during Columbus voyages were ‘people with a soul or without a soul’. The logic of the argument was as follows: (1) if you do not have religion, you do not have a God; (2) if you do not have a God, then you do not have a soul; and (3) if you do not have a soul, you are not human but animal-like. This colonial racist debate produced a boomerang effect that redefined and transformed the dominant imaginary of the times and the medieval religious discriminatory discourses. The concept of ‘purity of blood’ acquired a new meaning after the conquest of the Americas with the emergence of the concept of ‘people without a soul’, shifting from a theological question about having the ‘wrong religion’ to a question


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about the humanity of the subject practising the ‘wrong religion’.7 As a result, the great debate in the first five decades of the sixteenth century was whether ‘Indians’ do or do not have a soul, the legitimacy of the conquest and the use of violence. In practice, both the Church and the Spanish imperial state were already massively enslaving Indigenous people by assuming the notion that ‘Indians’ have no soul. State racism is not a post-eighteenth-century phenomenon, but a phenomenon that emerged after the conquest of the Americas in the sixteenth century. Although there were critical voices inside the Church questioning this idea and proposing that ‘Indians’ have a soul, they were nonetheless conceived as barbarians in need of Christianization (Dussel, 1979, 1992). They claimed that since the ‘Indians’ have a soul, it is a sin in the eyes of God to enslave them and the job of the Church should be to Christianize them using peaceful methods. This debate was the first racist debate in world history and ‘Indian’ as an identity was the first modern identity. The category of ‘Indian’ constituted a new modern/colonial identity invention that homogenized the heterogeneous identities that existed in the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans. It is also important to remember that Columbus thought he had arrived in India and thus the use of the term ‘Indian’ to name the populations he encountered. But to question whether ‘Indians’ have or do not have a soul was already a racist query that referred directly to the question of their humanity.8 In the sixteenth-century Christian imaginary, this debate had important implications. If ‘Indians’ did not have a soul, then it was justified in the eyes of God to enslave them and treat them as animals in the labour process. But if they did have a soul, then it was a sin in the eyes of God to enslave, murder or mistreat them. This debate was crucial in the mutation of the old European medieval religious discriminatory discourses and practices. Until the end of the fifteenth century, the old Islamophobic and Judeophobic discourses were related to having the ‘wrong God’, the ‘wrong theology’ and to the influence of Satan in the ‘wrong religion’, without questioning the humanity of their practitioners.9 The possibility of conversion was available for the victims of these discriminatory discourses, but with the colonization of the Americas these old medieval discriminatory religious discourses mutated rapidly, transforming into modern racial domination. Even though the term ‘race’ was not used at the time, the theological debate of the sixteenth century about having or not having a soul (about the rational nature of the ‘Indians’) had the same connotations as the nineteenth-century scientificist debates about having or not having a

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human biological constitution. Both were debates about the humanity or non-humanity of the others, articulated by the institutional racist discourse of states such as the Castilian Christian monarchy in the sixteenth century or Western European imperial nation-states in the nineteenth century. These institutional racist logics of ‘not having a soul’ in the sixteenth century or ‘not having human biology’ in the nineteenth century became the organizing principle of the international division of labour and capitalist accumulation on a world scale. The debate continued until the famous Valladolid Junta of the School of Salamanca in 1552. Since Christian theology and the Church were the authority of knowledge at the time, the Spanish Christian imperial monarchy put the question about whether ‘Indians have a soul or not’ in the hands of a Junta of Christian theologians – these theologians were Bartolomé de Las Casas and Gines Sepúlveda. After 60 years (1492–1552) of debate, the Spanish imperial Christian monarchy finally requested a Christian theological Junta to make a final decision about the humanity or lack of humanity of the ‘Indians’. As is well-known, Gines Sepúlveda argued in favour of the position that ‘Indians’ are ‘people without a soul’ and, therefore, they are animals that could be enslaved in the labour process without it being a sin in the eyes of God. Bartolomé de Las Casas argued that ‘Indians’ have a soul but were at a barbarian stage and thus in need of Christianization; therefore, for Las Casas it was a sin in the eyes of God to enslave them. What he proposed was to ‘Christianize’ them. Both Las Casas and Sepúlveda represent the inauguration of the two major racist discourses with long-lasting consequences that would be mobilized by Western imperial powers for the ensuing 450 years: biological racist discourses and cultural racist discourses. The biological racist discourse is a nineteenth-century scientificist secularization of Sepúlveda’s theological racist discourse. When the authority of knowledge passed in the West from Christian theology to modern science after the eighteenth-century Enlightenment project and the French Revolution, Sepúlveda’s theological racist discourse of ‘people without a soul’ mutated with the rise of natural sciences to a biological racist discourse of ‘people without human biology’ and later ‘people without genes’ (without the human genetics). The same happened with the Bartolomé de Las Casas theological discourse of ‘barbarians to be Christianized’ in the sixteenth century, transmuted with the rise of the Social Sciences into an anthropological cultural racist discourse about ‘primitives to be civilized’. The outcome of the Valladolid Junta is also well known: although Sepúlveda’s view won in the long run, in the short run Las Casas won


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the debate. Thus, the Spanish imperial monarchy decided that ‘Indians’ have a soul but are barbarians to be Christianized. Therefore, it was recognized that it was a sin in the eyes of God to enslave them. The conclusion seemingly meant the liberation of ‘Indians’ from Spanish colonial rule. But this was not the case. The ‘Indians’ were transferred in the international division of labour from slave labour to another form of coerced work known as the encomienda. Since then, the idea of race and institutional racism as an organizing principle of the international division of labour and capitalist accumulation on a world scale became institutionalized in a more systematic way. While ‘Indians’ were placed in the encomienda under a coerced form of labour, Africans who were already classified as ‘people without a soul’ were brought to the Americas to replace ‘Indians’ as slave labour. Africans were perceived at the time as Muslims and the racialization of Muslims in sixteenth-century Spain was extended to them. The decision to bring captives from Africa to enslave them in the Americas was directly related to the conclusion of the 1552 Valladolid Junta. Here began the massive kidnapping and captivity trade of Africans that would be enforced for the next 300 years. With the enslavement of Africans, religious racism was complemented with, or slowly replaced by, colour racism. From that time, anti-Black racism became a foundational constitutive structuring logic of the modern/colonial world. The kidnapping of Africans and their enslavement in the Americas was a major and significant world-historical event (Nimako and Willemsen, 2011). Millions of Africans died in the process of being captured, transported and enslaved in the Americas. This was genocide at a massive scale. But as with the other cases outlined above, the genocide was inherently epistemicide. Africans in the Americas were forbidden from thinking, praying or practising their cosmologies, knowledges and worldviews. They were submitted to a regime of epistemic racism that forbade their autonomous knowledge. Epistemic inferiority was a crucial argument used to claim biological social inferiority below the line of the human. The racist idea in the late sixteenth century that ‘Negroes lack intelligence’ turned, in the twentieth century, to ‘Negroes have low IQ levels’. Another consequence of the debate about the ‘Indians’ and the Valladolid Junta was its impact on the Moriscos and Marranos in sixteenth-century Spain. The old Islamophobic and Judeophobic medieval religious discriminatory discourses against Muslims and Jews were transformed into racist discrimination. The question was no longer whether the religiously discriminated population have the ‘wrong

Epistemic Racism and the Long Sixteenth Century 37

God’ or ‘wrong theology’. The anti-Indigenous religious racism that questioned the humanity of the ‘Indians’ was extrapolated to the Moriscos and the Marranos, questioning the humanity of those who prayed to the ‘wrong God’. Those who prayed to the ‘wrong God’ were conceived as not having a soul, as ‘soulless subjects’ (sujetos desalmados), non-humans or sub-humans. Similar to Indigenous peoples in the Americas, they were expelled from the ‘realm of the human’ and were described as ‘animal-like’ (Perceval, 1992, 1997). The latter represented a radical transformation that went from the inferiority of non-Christian religions (Islam and Judaism) in medieval Europe to the inferiority of the human beings who practised these religions (Jews and Muslims) in the newly emerging modern Europe. This is the boomerang effect of colonialism coming back to haunt Europe. The entanglement between the religious Christian-centric global hierarchy and the racial/ethnic Western-centric hierarchy of the ‘capitalist/patriarchal Western-centric/Christian-centric modern/ colonial world-system’ created after 1492 identified the practitioners of a non-Christian spirituality as inferior beings below the line of the human. Contrary to Eurocentric narratives such as Foucault’s work (1996), that situates the transmutation from religious anti-Semitism to racial anti-Semitism in the nineteenth century with the emergence of scientific racism, anti-Semitic racism emerged in sixteenth-century Spain when the old medieval anti-Semitic religious discrimination was entangled with the new modern racial imaginary produced by the conquest of the Americas. The new racial imaginary mutated the old religious anti-Semitism into racial anti-Semitism. Contrary to Foucault, this anti-Semitic racism of the sixteenth-century Iberian Peninsula was already institutionalized as biopolitical state racism.10 The concept of ‘people without a soul’ was not extended to Moriscos immediately. It happened after the mid sixteenth century – specifically, during the Alpujarras11 trial – that Moriscos were called ‘soulless people’. Moreover, after the mid sixteenth century, as a consequence of being classified as ‘soulless people’, Moriscos were massively enslaved in Granada. Despite the Christian Church’s prohibition on enslaving Christians and people baptized as Christian, Moriscos were still enslaved (Martín Casares, 2000). Now, ‘purity of blood’ was related to ‘soulless people’, making irrelevant the question about how assimilated they were to Christianity. Their being was itself in question, making their humanity suspect. Thus, from then on they would not be considered truly Christians nor equal to Christians. Anti-Morisco racism would be intensified during the late sixteenth century until their mass


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expulsion from the Iberian Peninsula in 1609 (Perceval, 1992, 1997; Carrasco, 2009). In sum, the conquest of the Americas in the sixteenth century extended the process of genocide/epistemicide that began with the conquest of Al-Andalus to new subjects such as Indigenous peoples and Africans, while simultaneously intensifying – through a new racial logic – the genocide/epistemicide against Christians from Jewish- and Muslim-origin populations in Spain.

The conquest of Indo-European women: genocide/epistemicide against women There is a fifth genocide/epistemicide in the sixteenth century that is not often linked to the history of the four genocides/epistemicides outlined above.12 This is the conquest and genocide over women in European land who transmitted Indo-European knowledge from generation to generation. These women mastered Indigenous knowledge from ancient times. Their knowledge covered different areas such as astronomy, medicine, biology, ethics, and so on. They were empowered by the possession of ancestral knowledge and their leading role inside the communities organized around commune-like forms of economic and political organization. The persecution of these women began during the late medieval era. However, it intensified in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (the long sixteenth century) with the rise of ‘modern/colonial capitalist/patriarchal’ power structures. Millions of women were burned alive in the early modern period, having been accused of being witches. Given their authority and leadership, the attack against these women was a strategy to consolidate Christian-centric patriarchy and to destroy autonomous communal forms of land ownership. The Inquisition was at the forefront of this offensive. The accusation was an attack on thousands of women whose autonomy, leadership and knowledge threatened Christian theology, Church authority and the power of the aristocracy that had turned into a transnational capitalist class in the colonies as well as in European agriculture.13 Silvia Federici (2004) argues that this witch-hunt intensified between 1550 and 1650. Her thesis is that the witch-hunt against women in European territory was related to primitive accumulation during the early capitalist expansion in the formation of the labour reserve for global capitalism. She described the African enslavement in the Americas and the witch-hunt of women in Europe as two sides of the

Epistemic Racism and the Long Sixteenth Century 39

same coin: capital accumulation on a world scale in need to incorporate labour into the capitalist accumulation process. In order to achieve this, capitalist institutions used extreme forms of violence. Contrary to the epistemicide against Indigenous peoples and Muslims when thousands of books were burned, in the case of the genocide/epistemicide against Indo-European women there were no books to burn because the transmission of knowledge was achieved through the tradition of oral transmission passed down from generation to generation. The ‘books’ were the women’s bodies and, thus, like the Andalusian and Indigenous ‘books’, their bodies were burned alive.

Consequences of the four genocides/epistemicides: the formation of globlal epistemic/sexist structures of knowledge and the hope for a future transmodern world The four genocides/epistemicides of the long sixteenth century created racial/patriarchal power and epistemic structures on a world scale entangled with processes of global capitalist accumulation. In the seventeenth century when Descartes wrote ‘I think, therefore I am’ in Amsterdam,14 in the ‘common sense’ of the times, this ‘I’ could neither be an African, nor an Indigenous person, nor a Muslim, nor a Jew, nor a woman (Western or non-Western). All of these subjects were already considered ‘inferior’ along the global racial/patriarchal power structure and their knowledge was considered inferior as a result of the four genocides/epistemicides of the sixteenth century. In the hegemonic ‘common sense’ of the times, this ‘I’ was a Western man. The four genocides/epistemicides are constitutive of the racist/sexist epistemic structures that produced epistemic privilege and authority to the Western man’s knowledge production and the inferiority of the rest. As argued by Maldonado-Torres (2008b), the other side of the ‘I think, therefore I am’ is the racist/sexist structure of ‘I do not think, therefore I am not’. The latter expresses a ‘coloniality of being’ (Maldonado-Torres, 2008b) where all of the subjects considered inferior do not think and are not worthy of existence because their humanity is questioned. They belong to the Fanonian ‘zone of non-being’ (Fanon, 2010) or to the Dusselian ‘exteriority’ (Dussel, 1977). Westernized universities internalized the racist/sexist epistemic structures created by the four genocides/epistemicides of the sixteenth century. These Eurocentric structures of knowledge became ‘commonsensical’. It is considered normal that only Western males of five countries constitute the canon of thought in all of the academic


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disciplines of the Westernized university. There is no scandal in this because they are a reflection of the normalized racist/sexist epistemic structures of knowledge of the modern/colonial world. When the Westernized university transformed in the late eighteenth century from a Christian theological university into the secular Humboltian university, it used the Kantian anthropological idea (Eze, 1997) that rationality was embodied in the White man living on the Northern side of the Pyrenean Mountains,15 thus classifying the Iberian Peninsula as being within the realm of the ‘irrational’ world along with ‘Black, Red and Yellow people’. It was from basis of this Kantian assumption that the canon of thought of the contemporary Westernized university was founded. Kant’s anthropological racist view, placing the Pyrenees Mountains as a dividing line inside Europe to define rationality and irrationality, followed the seventeenth-century geopolitical power shift from the Iberian Peninsula to North-western European states. In the eighteenth century, Kant applied the same racist views to the Iberian Peninsula that the Iberian Peninsula had applied to the rest of the world in the sixteenth century. This is an important point that enables us to understand why the Portuguese and the Spanish are also out of the canon of thought in the Westernized university today despite being at the centre of the world system created after 1492. From the late eighteenth century, men from only five countries (France, England, Germany, Italy and the US) have monopolized the privilege and authority of knowledge in the Westernized university. In the face of the challenge represented by Eurocentred Modernity and its epistemic racist/sexist colonial structures of knowledge, Enrique Dussel proposes Transmodernity as the project to fulfil the unfinished project of decolonization. The ‘trans’ of Transmodernity means ‘beyond’. What does it mean to go beyond Eurocentred modernity? If the Western colonial project of genocide/epistemide was to some extent successful in particular places around the world, it was a huge failure in its overall results in most of the world. Critical Indigenous, Muslim, Jewish, African and women’s knowledges, as well as many other critical knowledges from the Global South, are still alive. After 500 years of coloniality of knowledge, there is neither cultural nor epistemic traditions in an absolute outside, Eurocentred modernity. All were affected by Eurocentred modernity, and even aspects of Eurocentrism were also internalized in many of these epistemologies. However, this does not mean that every tradition is in an absolute inside and that there is no outside to Western epistemology. There are still non-Western epistemic perspectives that have a relative exteriority to Eurocentred

Epistemic Racism and the Long Sixteenth Century 41

modernity. They were affected by genocide/epistemicide but were not fully destroyed. It is this relative exteriority that, according to Enrique Dussel, provides the hope and possibility for a Transmodern world: ‘a world where many worlds are possible’, to use the Zapatista slogan. The existence of epistemic diversity provides the potential for struggles of decolonization and depatriarchization that are no longer centred in Western-centric epistemologies and worldviews. To move beyond Eurocentred modernity, Dussel proposes a decolonial project that takes seriously the critical thinking of the epistemic traditions of the Global South. It is from these diverse traditions that we can build projects that will take different ideas and institutions appropriated by Eurocentred modernity and decolonize them in different directions. In Eurocentric modernity, the West kidnapped and monopolized the definition of Democracy, Human Rights, Women’s Liberation, Economy, and so on. Transmodernity implies redefining these elements in different directions according to the epistemic diversity of the world towards a pluriverse of meaning and a pluriversal world. If people from the Global South do not follow the Western hegemonic definition, they are immediately denounced and marginalized from the global community, accused of ‘fundamentalism’. For example, when the Zapatistas talk about democracy they are not doing it from a Western-centric perspective. They propose a project of democracy that is quite different from liberal democracy. They redefine democracy from the Indigenous perspective of ‘commanding while obeying’ with the ‘Caracoles’ as the democratic institutional practice. However, to use a different concept of democracy in Eurocentred modernity is often denounced as a form of ‘fundamentalism’. The same is true of the concept of feminism. If Muslim women develop an ‘Islamic feminism’ they are immediately denounced by Eurocentred Western feminists as patriarchal and fundamentalist. Transmodernity is an invitation to produce knowledge from the different political-epistemic projects existing in the world today, a redefinition of the many elements appropriated by Eurocentred modernity as if naturally and inherently European, towards a decolonial project of liberation beyond the ‘capitalist/patriarchal Western-centric/Christian-centric modern/ colonial world-system’. As Dussel states: When I speak of Trans-Modernity, I am referring to a global project that seeks to transcend European or North American Modernity. It is a project that is not post-Modern, since post-Modernity is a stillincomplete critique of Modernity by Europe and North America.


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

Instead, Trans-Modernity is a task that is, in my case, expressed philosophically, whose point of departure is that which has been discarded, devalued, and judged useless among global cultures, including colonized or peripheral philosophies. (Dussel, 2008b, pp. 19–20) Moreover, Transmodernity calls for inter-philosophical political dialogues to produce pluriverses of meaning where the new universe is a pluriverse. However, Transmodernity is not equivalent to a liberal multiculturalist celebration of the epistemic diversity of the world where the power structures are left intact. Transmodernity is the recognition of epistemic diversity without epistemic relativism. The call for epistemic pluriversality as opposed to epistemic universality is not equivalent to a relativist position. On the contrary, Transmodernity acknowledges the need for a shared and common universal project against capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism and coloniality. But it rejects a universality of solutions where one defines for the rest what ‘the solution’ is. Universality in European modernity has meant ‘one that defines for the rest’. Transmodernity calls for a pluriverse of solutions where ‘the many defines for the many’. From different cultural and epistemic traditions there will be different responses and solutions to similar problems. The Transmodern horizon has as a goal to produce pluriversal concepts, meanings and philosophies as well as a pluriversal world. As Dussel proposes, Transmodernity is oriented towards a pluriversal future global philosophy. This project is necessarily trans-Modern, and thus also trans-capitalist … For a long time, perhaps for centuries, the many diverse philosophical traditions will each continue to follow their own paths, but nonetheless a global analogical project of a trans-Modern pluriverse (other than universal, and not post-Modern) appears on the horizon. Now, ‘other philosophies’ are possible, because ‘another world is possible’ – as is proclaimed by the Zapatista Liberation Movement in Chiapas, Mexico. (Dussel, 2088b, p. 20) This discussion has enormous implications for the decolonization of the Westernized university. So far, the Westernized university operates under the assumption of universalism where ‘one (Western man from five countries) defines for the rest’ what is truthful and valid knowledge. To decolonize the structures of knowledge of the Westernized university will require, among other things:

Epistemic Racism and the Long Sixteenth Century 43

1. to acknowledge the provincialism and epistemic racism/sexism that constitutes the foundational epistemic structures as a result of the genocidal/epistemicidal colonial/patriarchal projects of the sixteenth century; 2. to break with the universalism where one (‘uni’) defines for the rest, in this case, the one is Western man’s epistemology; 3. to bring epistemic diversity to the canon of thought to create a pluriverse of meanings and concepts where the inter-epistemic conversation among many epistemic traditions produce new re-definitions of old concepts and creates new pluriversal concepts with ‘the many defining for the many’ (pluriverse) instead of ‘one for the rest’ (universe). If Westernized universities were to assume these three programmatic points, they would no longer be Westernized uni-versities; they would change into decolonial pluri-versities. If Kant’s and Humboldt’s Eurocentred modern racist/sexist epistemic projects became the epistemic foundation of the Westernized university from the late eighteenth century as a result of 300 years of genocide/epistemicide in the world, Enrique Dussel’s Transmodernity is the new epistemic foundation of the future decolonial pluriversity, whose knowledge production will be at the service of a world beyond the ‘capitalist/patriarchal Westerncentric/Christian-centric modern/colonial world-system’.

Notes 1. The long sixteenth century is the formulation of French historian Fernand Braudel, which has influenced the work of world-system scholar Immanuel Wallerstein (1974). It refers to the 200 years that covers the period 1450–1650. This is the period of the formation of a new historical system named by Wallerstein as the Modern World-System or European World-Economy or Capitalist World-Economy. The historical process that formed this new system covers the 200 years of the long sixteenth century. I will use ‘long sixteenth century’ to refer to the longue durée processes that cover the initial formation of this historical system and use the term ‘sixteenth century’ to refer to the 1500s. 2. I believe that the best homage to an intellectual is to take his/her work seriously in order to explore new aspects inspired by their work. 3. I say ‘supposed’ because, as Enrique Dussel (2008) has demonstrated in his essay Anti-Cartesian Meditations, Descartes was highly influenced by the Christian philosophers of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. 4. Note that I make a distinction between Christianity and Christendom. Christianity is a spiritual/religious tradition; Christendom is when Christianity becomes a dominant ideology used by the state. Christendom


5. 6.


8. 9.


11. 12.

Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge emerged in the fourth century after Christ when Constantine appropriated Christianity and turned it into the official ideology of the Roman Empire. For a very interesting discussion on this question see Enrique Dussel (1977, 1995, 2008) and Donna Haraway (1988). It is the recent Western European, North American and Israeli Zionist orientalist literature that after World War II excluded Arabs from the Semite people and reduced the definition of anti-Semitism to racial discrimination against Jews. The latter is part of a perverse Zionist strategy to conflate Arab-Muslims’ critique of Zionism as equivalent to anti-Semitism (Grosfoguel, 2009). It is important to remember that Latin was the written language of sixteenth-century Europe. Since the Christian Church was the authority of knowledge through Christian Theology, the debates about the conquest of the Americas in Spain travelled to other European territories through the Church’s networks. Thus, the debates about Columbus and the Spanish Christian theologians on the New World and the subjects found there were read with particular attention in other parts of Europe. This scepticism about the humanity of other human beings is what Nelson Maldonado-Torres (2008b) called ‘misanthropic scepticism’. I refer to the social classification of the social system. As Maldonado-Torres argues, there were already individuals articulating discourses that could be identified as racialist from a contemporary point of view. However, the social classification of the population in Medieval Europe was not based on racial classification, that is, it was not organized around social logics related to a radical question about the humanity of the social subjects. The social classification of the population based on racist social logics was a post-1492 concept after the formation of the ‘capitalist/patriarchal Western-centric/ Christian-centric modern/colonial world-system’ (Grosfoguel, 2011). Thus, in this chapter the argument about the emergence of racism is related to a post-1492 global social system and not to individual statements before 1492. Scientific racism in the nineteenth century was not, as Foucault argued, a re-signification of the old European ‘race war’ discourse but a secularization of the old Christendom religious theological racism of ‘people without a soul’ in the sixteenth century. The old discourse of ‘race war’ inside Europe was not the foundation of scientific racism as Foucault insisted with his ‘genealogy of racism’, it was the old religious racism of the sixteenth century with roots in the European colonial conquest of the Americas. Foucault was blind to the conquest of the Americas, colonialism and the Iberian Peninsula’s sixteenth century (see Grosfoguel, 2012b). These were the trials against Moriscos that uprised in the Alpujarras mountains outside the city of Granada after the mid sixteenth century. The seminal work of Silvia Federici (2004) is one of the few exceptions. Although Federici’s work does not link these five processes in relation to genocide/epistemicide, she at least links the witch-hunt of women in the sixteenth/seventeenth century with the enslavement of Africans and the conquest of the Americas in relation to global capitalist accumulation, and, in particular, to the early formation of capitalism, that is, ‘primitive accumulation’. Although her work focuses on political economy rather than structures of knowledge, her contribution is crucial for the understanding

Epistemic Racism and the Long Sixteenth Century 45 of the relation between the genocide/epistemicide of women and the other genocide/epistemicides of the sixteenth century. 13. For an analysis of the transformation of the European aristocracy into a capitalist class in relation to the formation of the modern world-system, see the work of Immanuel Wallerstein (1974). 14. It is important to mention that when the Dutch defeated the Spaniards in the ‘Thirty Years’ War’, the new centre of the new world-system created after 1492 with Spain expansion to the Americas shifted from the Iberian Peninsula to North-western Europe, that is, Amsterdam. Dussel’s characterization of Descartes’ philosophy as one produced by someone who is geopolitically thinking from the centre of the world system, the imperial being, is not metaphorical. 15. This geography of reason became commonsense from the end of the eighteenth century with the saying ‘Africa begins at the Pyrenees’, a trope adopted from Cornelius de Pauw that Hegel, among others, perpetuated (Dussel, 2008).

References Anzaldúa, G. (1987) Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (San Francisco: Spinsters/Aunt Lute). Barrios Aguilera, M. (2009) La Suerte de los Vencidos: Estudios y Reflexiones sobre la Cuestión Morisca (Granada: Universidad de Granada). Caro Baroja, J. (1991) Los Moriscos del Reino de Granada (Madrid: Ediciones Istmo). Carrasco, R. (2009) Deportados en Nombre de Dios: La Explusión de los Moriscos Cuarto Centenario de una Ignominia (Barcelona: Ediciones Destino). Castro-Gomez, S. (2003) La Hybris del Punto Cero: Ciencia, Raza e Ilustración en la Nueva Granada (1750–1816) (Bogotá: Editora Pontífica de la Universidad Javeriana). Crenshaw, K. (1991) ‘Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color’, Stanford Law Review, 43, 1241–79. Descartes, R. (2013) Discours de la Méthode (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) [1st edn 1923]. Dominguez Ortiz, A. (2009) Moriscos: la Mirada de un Historiador (Granada: Universidad de Granada). Dussel, E. (1977) Filosofía de Liberación (Mexico: Edicol). Dussel, E. (1979) El Episcopado Latinoamericano y la Liberación de los Pobres (1504–1620) (Mexico: Centro de Reflexión Teológica, AC). Dussel, E. (1992) Historia de la Iglesia en América Latina: Medio Milenio de Coloniaje y Liberación (Madrid: Mundo Negro-Esquila Misional). Dussel, E. (1995) The Invention of the Americas (New York: Continuum). Dussel, E. (2008) ‘Anti-meditaciones Cartesianas: Sobre el Origen del Anti-discurso Filosófico de la Modernidad’, Tabula Rasa, 9 (January–December), 153–97. Eze, E. C. (1997) ‘The Color of Reason: The Idea of “Race” in Kant’s Anthropology’ in E. C. Eze (ed.) Post-colonial African Philosophy: A Critical Reader (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell). Fanon, F. (2010) Piel Negra, Máscara Blancas (Madrid: AKAL). Federici, S. (2004) Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (New York: Autonomedia).


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Foucault, M. (1996) Genealogía del Racismo (La Plata: Colección Caronte Ensayos). Galán Sánchez, A. (2010) Una Sociedad en Transición: Los Granadinos de Mudéjares a Moriscos (Granada: Universidad de Granada). Garrido Aranda, A. (1980) Moriscos e Indios: Precedentes Hispánicos de la Evangelización de México (México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). Grosfoguel, R. (2009) ‘Human Rights and Anti-Semitism After Gaza’, Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, VII (2) (Spring), 89–101. Grosfoguel, R. (2011) ‘Decolonizing Post-Colonial Studies and Paradigms of Political-Economy: Transmodernity, Decolonial Thinking and Global Coloniality’, Transmodernity: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World, 1 (1), 1–38, Grosfoguel, R. (2012a) ‘The Dilemmas of Ethnic Studies in the United States: Between Liberal Multiculturalism, Identity Politics, Disciplinary Colonization, and Decolonial Epistemologies’, Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, X (1), 81–90, Winter%2012/Grosfoguel.pdf. Grosfoguel, R. (2012b) ‘El Concepto de ‘Racismo’ en Michel Foucault y Frantz Fanon: Teorizar Desde la Zona del Ser o Desde la Zona del No-ser?’, Revista Tabula Rasa, 16 (January–June), 79–102. Haraway, D. (1988) ‘Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective’, Feminist Studies, 14, 575–99. Kettami, A. (2012) El Resurgir del Islam en Al-Ándalus (Barcelona: Abadia Editors). Maíllo Salgado, F. (2004) De la Desaparición de Al-Andalus (Madrid: Abada Editores). Maldonado-Torres, N. (2008a) ‘Religion, Conquête et Race dans la Fondation du monde Moderne/Colonial’ in M. Mestiri, R. Grosfoguel and E. Y. Soum (eds) Islamophobie dans le Monde Moderne (Paris: IIIT), pp. 205–38. Maldonado-Torres, N. (2008b) Against War : Views from the Underside of Modernity (Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press). Martín Casares, A. (2000) La Esclavitud en la Granada del Siglo XVI (Granada: Universidad de Granada and Diputación Provincial de Granada). Martín de la Hoz, J. C. (2010) El Islam y España (Madrid: RIALP). Nimako, K. and Willemsen, G. (2011) The Dutch Atlantic: Slavery, Abolition and Emanciption (London: Pluto Press). Perceval, J. M. (1992) ‘Animalitos del señor: Aproximación a una teoría de las animalizaciones propias y del otro, sea enemigo o siervo, en la España imperial (1550–1650)’, Areas: Revista de Ciencias Sociales (Universidad de Murcia), 14, 173–84. Perceval, J. M. (1997) Todos son Uno. Arquetipos, Xenofobia y Racismo. La Imagen del Morisco en la Monarquía Española Durante los Siglos XVI y XVII (Almería: Instituto de Estudios Almerienses). Quijano, A. (1991) ‘Colonialidad y Modernidad/Racionalidad’, Perú Indígena, 29, 11–21. Quijano, A. (2000) ‘Coloniality of Power, Ethnocentrism, and Latin America’, NEPANTLA, 1 (3), 533–80. Santos, B. S. (2010) Epistemologias del Sur (Mexico: Siglo XXI). Wallerstein, I. (1974) The Modern World-System Vol. 1 (New York: Academic Press).

3 Violence and Coloniality in Latin America: An Alternative Reading of Subalternization, Racialization and Viscerality Arturo Arias

Introduction Scholarship is most often produced within the frameworks of Eurocentric domination. With few exceptions, this factor often implies a neglect of coloniality in most academic fields. From within a Eurocentric perspective, social purviews tend to centre on positive valorizations of idealized forms of democracy. The latter is most often identified with an open society guaranteeing rule of law, order and pluralism, traits not always seen in existing democratic nation-states, with some exceptions. Indeed, we can claim that even in hegemonic nations, we now witness with greater frequency violent political convulsions tearing apart the social fabric on which democracies are based. At the same time, we should acknowledge that behavioural patterns of dominant Western democracies are to be measured not only for their internal performance, but also for their external involvements elsewhere in the world. In the second half of the twentieth century, the United States, often allied to Britain and other major European powers, claimed to intervene in the affairs of other nations to consolidate democratic aspirations. Yet, with few exceptions, the result is more often that of violent interventions that destroy from within those same nations, and seldom do they succeed in consolidating a democratic model.1 Such interventions are often labelled ‘low-intensity conflicts’, a name invented in the recent past to justify US-led military interventions that devastated the Central 47


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American region in the 1980s. Contrary to the official rhetoric justifying military interventions, we can claim that, under the guise of democracy, violent rule is imposed authoritatively over invaded nations, leaving behind unstable regimes that generate political chaos for decades, if not longer, as happened in the Americas (in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic or Chile). These models of violence are often explained politically and justified rhetorically as accidental; or, more often, as events unwittingly imposed upon democratic Western powers by the rogue behaviour of civil societies or governments resisting Western hegemony, domination, or control. In the dominant reading of Western nations, violence is always what is inflicted upon the West. Many labels have been employed in the past century and a half to justify aggressive responses, from ‘Anarchism’ in the late nineteenth century, ‘revolution’ or ‘Communism’ during a good part of the twentieth century, to ‘Terrorism’ since 11 September 2001. All these trends, from within Western perspectives, are read as external manifestations threatening the internal wellbeing of the Western world. Yet, for the most part, they are not often related to the structural violence that the West has inflicted upon the rest of the world since at least 1492. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak claims that ‘violence and alibi coexist in a chiasmus rather than as a critical pair’ (2012, p. 125). In effect, this silencing of the everyday violence performed and perpetrated by Western elites upon most of the rest of the world impedes our intellectual understanding of the concept. Argentine-born philosopher Enrique Dussel (1998), in his genealogy of the modern world-system, emphasizes the original violence created by the Modernity/coloniality phenomenon, while reframing the importance of the first Modernity (the one created by the Iberian nations around 1500) to understand not only the nature of coloniality itself, but also its relationship to violence in the discovery of the non-European subject. Dussel implies that in the Portuguese contact with Africans, and the Spanish one with Indigenous subjects, there was both a negation of alterity, and, in consequence the launching of a trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the construction in Latin America of the first peripheral society of Modernity. Puerto Rican philosopher Nelson Maldonado-Torres adds that this happened as the West became embroiled ‘with forms of domination and subordination that were central to maintaining colonial control … in the Americas’ (2007, p. 243). If we are then, to rethink violence from a decolonial perspective, what is it? What is violence indeed, when we attempt to problematize it

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or represent it? Spivak claims, of course, that ‘violence is part of desire, pleasure, education, but acknowledgment of violence distorts the mechanism unless framed’ (2012, p. 125). In this chapter, I will explore the nature of violence exercized by hegemonic elites over subalternized and racialized civil societies, and compare it to the visceral reaction of colonialized subjects as a response to the former. For the latter, I will use the examples of the nineteenth-century Yucatán Caste War and the late twentieth-century Guatemalan civil war.

Webs of violence Violence is not random; all types of violence, national and corporate as well as intra-ethnic, configure the distinctiveness of the US as a modern nation-state. It produces, in consequence, a logic of repression that remains often unsaid, but always traumatic for those who suffer it. We can include in this genealogy of violence a very long list of episodes, from the best-known ones, such as slavery and the Native American genocide in the US, to the small ones, such as the incarceration of males of colour for minute infractions that often would not be punished in similar fashion in most democratic nations. Violence is both a category of analysis and an intensive declaration of difference. Violence generates traumatic events which most often than not affect those subjects located at the intersections of race, sex, gender and class. Their lives are mostly governed by violent acts. Nicole Guidotti-Hernández underlines how ‘trauma manifests itself in people’s behaviour, in both the physical body and the psyche’, and argues that the inability to reckon with the intertwined histories of the US and Mexico ‘forecloses the possibility of reconciliation because individuals and nations on one side of the equation are not willing to take responsibility for the violence’ (2011, p. 7). For her, these violent and traumatic events were overdetermined by racialized nationalist paradigms. In consequence, it is inevitable that peoples from both countries must return to these shared histories to identify violence, both its traces and practices, as the locus of their investigations into the past, thus reconfiguring the meaning of violence itself as a marker of nationalism and nationality. Given this imperial history in the Americas, one where the US has, for over 150 years, forcefully imposed a violent history of invasions, confinement and punishment in all its human and economic variables as a form of domination and political control, it should not be surprising that, in turn, most subjects residing in those same invaded nations, often labelled as the periphery of the West, understand political violence


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in a Fanonian sense. This manifestation closely corresponds both to Bolivian scholar Javier Sanjinés’ concept of ‘viscerality’ that we will problematize further ahead, and to Maldonado-Torres’ depiction of the logical consequences of what he labels the ego conquiro, attributing the origin of the concept to Dussel (2007, p. 245). Maldonado-Torres adds: The certainty of the self as a conqueror, of its tasks and missions, preceded Descartes’s certainty about the self as a thinking substance (res cogitans) and provided a way to interpret it … The ego conquiro is not questioned, but rather provides the ground for the articulation of the ego cogito. (Maldonado-Torres, 2007, p. 245) Maldonado-Torres characterizes this attitude as the beginning of a certain form of violence, because it constitutes a ‘racist/imperial Manichean misanthropic skepticism’, that is, the imperial attitude which configures the Eurocentric Modern Imperial Man. This attitude, in turn, will point in the direction of ‘a fundamentally genocidal attitude in respect to colonized and racialized peoples’. Through this process, he adds, ‘colonial and racial subjects are marked as dispensable’ (MaldonadoTorres, 2007, p. 246). This attitude naturalizes war, conquest and slavery. In the process, it also naturalizes the form of violence justified as a means for disposing of that which originally belonged to others. That is, the West creates an ontological differentiation as a nested set of abstractions to justify imperial goals, differentiating qualitatively between conquering European men, in opposition to those others situated outside of the purview of allegedly superior Christian religion and culture, and attributes to the latter’s lack, or absence, an ‘innate’ inferiority. Thus, violence became normative in the modern world under these premises. However, as Maldonado-Torres notes, before it became ‘constitutive of a new reigning episteme’ (Maldonado-Torres, 2007, p. 247), it normalized relations between colonizers, Indigenous peoples and Black slaves, because war-like behaviour emerged as the norm, without observing, needless to say, the codes of ethics that governed inter-European wars. The justification for violence was anchored on the fact that colonialism enables the conceptualization of Indigenous peoples and African slaves as inferior to conquering European subjects. This ontological naturalization of racism operated at the centre of the everyday violence that governed even the smallest of domestic events. Colonialism radicalized and naturalized the exercise of everyday violence. Conjointly with this behavioural pattern, came others associated to war, such as

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rape. Needless to say, the latter issue affected mostly women, but it also enabled Conquistadors to feminize men of colour, who became de facto penetrable subjects as well. Indeed, Richard Trexler (1995, pp. 60–81) had already pointed out in Sex and Conquest that Spaniards feminized their enemies in warfare, and they often raped both the men and the women they conquered. Racialization thus naturalizes the daily exercise of violence in relation to gender and sex. Maldonado-Torres goes on to argue that we find the roots of violence against non-Europeans in Descartes himself, by stating: If the ego cogito was built upon the foundations of the ego conquiro, the ‘I think, therefore I am’ presupposes two unacknowledged dimensions. Beneath the ‘I think’ we can read ‘others do not think’, and behind the ‘I am’ it is possible to locate the philosophical justification for the idea that ‘others are not’ or do not have being. (2007, p. 252) This logic points already in the direction of Fanon, when he states that, in the eyes of White subjects, Blacks do not have ontological resistance or weight. This phenomenon is linked to the Eurocentric conception of ‘absence of rationality’ in Blacks. In turn, placed in an asymmetrical relation of power, this situation demands an ‘irrational’ response on the part of Black subjects. They more often than not have to exercise violence simply to be heard, so the Black subject can rightly exercise agency, thus manifesting ontological weight. It goes without saying that, in this analysis, ‘Black’ can stand as a trope for any racialized non-Western subject, be her/him Indigenous, Arab, Asian, or any other variant. Yet it is in this same logic that Fanon (1965) refers to Blacks as damnés, that is, the ‘wretched of the earth’. For this singular social category of damnné, life is ‘a permanent struggle against an omnipresent death’ (Fanon, 1965, p. 128) as they eke out an existence in a hellish zone of nonbeing. Backed up against the wall of a semi-death, and lacking any hope for the future, these very damnés thus respond viscerally as they push beyond their bare lives towards assertive self-consciousness; that is, they respond with violence, to counteract a sense of powerlessness in an existence perceived as sordid, unjust, and hopeless. Indeed, this infernal existence in the colonial, or colonialized, world implies also a racialization of these subjects, and gendered inferences. In a Fanonian sense, the racialized subject needs to provoke violence through his assertion of alterity. Only then will she/he be free of the master, and develop some degree of autonomy and fulfilment.


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More often than not, visceral resistance by damnés were confronted by hegemonic powers with a ‘naturalization’ of warfare tactics to normatize civil societies, much along the lines of what the US defined in the 1980s, in its relation to conflicts with Central America, as ‘low-intensity warfare’. Yet for the population affected, for those on the ground in areas of conflict, there is nothing ‘low-intensity’ in these policies. They suffer the full brunt of war-like conditions, from aerial bombardments, to displacement, extermination, murder, rape, torture and genocide. This is why Maldonado-Torres adds that ‘“killability” and “rapeability” are inscribed into the images of the colonial bodies’ (2007, p. 255). It is a social trace of these many histories. Guidotti-Hernández adds that ‘images of violence against the gendered and racialized body – whether in the form of rape, physical torture, or political disenfranchisement – demonstrates that these forces are normalized, enraging, and extraordinary all at the same time’ (2011, p. 7). Given those conditions, the only alternative left to respond to hegemonic destruction of their very beingness has been, more often than not, violence of some kind or another. Colonialized peoples not only lack authority for the most part, but also are perceived by authorities as a constant threat. Often, the smallest action on their part is magnified by the latter into a fully-blown crisis necessitating a hysterical, out-of-proportion response. Colonialized women, in turn, are always prey to the raping gaze of authorities and local elites, who often enact their desires in the most violent of fashions. The same issues generating unspeakable actions and unnatural acts in war are legitimated in modern-day civil societies on a daily basis, when these are composed mostly of subalternized and racialized populations, as has happened in most Latin American nations with significant Indigenous and Afro-descendant populations throughout the twentieth century. In this light, we can see that when Fanon called for a war against colonialism, he was simply politicizing a set of complex social relations based on asymmetrical relations of power precisely because the other was premised to be subalternized and racialized. By extension, social relations with them were already premised on war, and their control had to be normatized as if they were prisoners of war, in daily conditions resembling limit-experiences. Invisible in this context is the humanity of those populations who have been ‘othered’, and it is in their struggle to regain their humanity that they more often than not exercise violence. Needless to say, the consequences of visceral reactions in histories of colonization, or in colonialized settings where ontologies were still denied and visceral acts were perpetrated by subalternized and

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racialized populations in response, their own actions often resulted in further pain and suffering against their bodies. This chain of factors is integral to the production of their subjectivities. In turn, subalternized and racialized populations enacted that very violence precisely to maintain a sense of psychic integrity and a sense of human pride, by contesting violations of their person. Joshua Goldstein has famously argued that to be able to comprehend the nature of conquest, one has to consider that male sexuality is responsible for this aggression, that feminizing enemies is part of the exercise of symbolic domination, and that the phenomenon also consists of exploiting women’s labour. Yet we have to realize that the exercise of these three characteristics can only take place by means of violence, even while coming together as part of the idea of race as Maldonado-Torres argues (2007, p. 248). Violence, in the end, becomes the means of articulating everyday standards of conduct for conquering colonial elites. Machismo is indeed one of the consequences of what Maldonado-Torres labels the ego conquiro, a will to conquer and enslave that he associates with masculine sexuality as source of aggression, as argued. Fanonian violence, on the other hand, represents more the chaos and violence encompassing colonialized beings, and evidence that it would be nearly impossible to eliminate these constraints until a more equitable world and social justice prevailed. Indeed, Fanon argued that ‘absolute violence’ was necessary to interpellate and vanquish colonial forces subjugating colonialized subjects, thus becoming the premier solution for decolonization. In Latin America, Javier Sanjinés has articulated the category of ‘viscerality’ to explain the violent response of colonialized beings to daily oppression. Viscerality is for Sanjinés an apparently anarchic or unexpected violence ‘that helps explain how Indigenous subalternity has resisted giving up its identity to rationalist Western discourse’ (2011, p. 5). It is thus, a ‘bodily metaphor’ that couples racialized and colonialized oppression, an alternative imaginary forcing subaltern subjects to react. In this context, subaltern epistemology appears to only be able to overcome its condition through viscerality. The latter implies the only possible transformative project possible for subalternized and racialized subjects; yet, needless to say, it also implies uncertainty about its outcome. Viscerality is a menace, a shadow of potential terror looming on the horizon of Modernity. Yet it is also chaotic, anarchic, unstructured, and, in consequence, unpredictable in its potential outcome. Still, violence remains at its core. We can see this category in action during much of Yucatán ’s Caste War of the nineteenth century.


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The Caste War The Caste War began in 1847. It is a clearly visceral insurrection, linked to the Maya cosmovision which included a cyclical interpretation of time, a nativist tendency towards segregation and rejection of Spanish culture, the expression of the katunic prophecies, and the presence of the myth of the return of Kukulkán (Quetzalcóatl in Nahuatl) as a liberator figure.2 In typical visceral reaction, it was the murder of a batab (headman, or village leader) named Ysidro Tsib, in February 1847 that precipitated the Mayas’ revolt. Mayas then attacked towns like Tepich, ordered the killing of all ‘White people’, and unchained a spontaneous revolution in the Yucatán Peninsula. Felipe Hernández de la Cruz argues that ‘all the characters in the Caste War turn around this (racialized and cultural) spinal column that, like all rivers in this calcareous land, flows underground’ (2011: 178–9; my translation). That is why, in his understanding, ‘a hurricane of revenge’ (ibid.,p. 183) ravaged entire towns at the outset of the Caste War. By the spring of 1848, the Maya forces had taken over most of the Yucatán, with the exception of the cities of Campeche and Mérida. Though the governor of Yucatán offered to sign a Treaty recognizing Maya rights, the latter, struggling to redeem long-suffering ancestral grievances linked to racialization and exploitation, and engaged in an effort to regain Maya dignity, rejected the offer. The war thus continued, and so did the siege of Mérida, the capital of the State. When Mérida, the capital, was about to be evacuated because its takeover was imminent, Maya troops broke the siege and disbanded. To date, there is a debate as to their reasons for this perplexing action. However, Hernández de la Cruz argues that the real reason for not taking Mérida was ‘divergences about how to govern the new nation that would emerge [from the war]’ (2011: 183; my translation). In his reading, many batabs wanted to kill all ‘White’ people in a clear expression of viscerality, whereas others proposed coexisting with them to avoid what we now would call ‘reverse racism’. The more radical faction, the one desiring the elimination of all ‘Whites’, also argued that it was the only way to survive the onslaught from the central government in Mexico that inevitably would follow the capture and occupation of Mérida (2011, p. 184). Ultimately, a lengthy war ensued between Mexican authorities in the Northwest of the peninsula and the independent Maya army controlling the South-east. Given the stalemate between both forces, the conflict would last for nearly 50 years and kill approximately 275,000 people.

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Another phenomenon linked to racialization also emerged at that moment in time: the apparition of a ‘Talking Cross’. This phenomenon, explained at the time as a way in which God communicated with Mayas, ordered them to continue the war against the Criollos and promised them safety from their bullets. Chan Santa Cruz (Small Holy Cross), the place where the cross appeared, became a place of pilgrimage and worship. In consequence, it also developed into the religious and political centre of the Maya resistance, as the rebellion became infused with religious significance. Devotees were known as Cruzoob (followers of the Cross). The Cruzoob created a truly independent Maya nation, with its own army and government. This nation was also named Chan Santa Cruz, and became the largest of all independent Maya states. The capital, the original Chan Santa Cruz, is now the city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto in the state of Quintana Roo. It is still possible to visit the cross to this day, which is guarded 24 hours a day by Maya principals. The Caste War officially ended with the occupation of the Maya capital, Chan Santa Cruz, by the Mexican army in 1901. According to Hernández de la Cruz, however, ‘the war has not ended officially’, given that there is no signed armistice of any sort (2011, p. 182). The Caste War certainly was an inter-ethnic war, and a much entangled story of ethnic resistance and racialized resentment of the other. It is also a clear example of how for racialized subjects, the very act of appearing publicly became a violent act both for its ontological implications and for its inevitable reception. It also was undoubtedly the first major decolonial struggle in the Americas after independence from Spain. Yucatán became a racialized regime from the Spanish occupation of the peninsula until the Mexican Revolution changed its socioeconomic patterns, and remains emblematic of the failure of such a project. Indigenous racialism was an instrumental image for the body politic throughout this long period, and is fundamental to understand how all other politics were carried out in the Peninsula, such as the invention of a separate identity that attempted to forge an equally separatist identity, as Arturo Taracena (2010) has argued. These complex issues generated moments of crises that transformed anxieties and fears into political forces and social confrontation, escalating to warfare as a result of concerns about the potential subversive nature and the genocidal impulses of the other within this asymmetrical framework. Both colonially and post-colonially, Yucatán was uneven, imperfect, yet blatantly racist. Ultimately, this phenomenon remains one of the best examples of colonialized oppression generating a visceral reaction that is, de facto, unbridled, if justified, violence. Like a hurricane, it did not


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discriminate in its destructive force. The actual violence unchained by Indigenous subjects razed the Yucatán Peninsula, making it inhospitable for both parties. It is also a solid example of a situation where originary violence, enacted by Western elites convinced of their racial superiority, significantly contributed to stifling and encumbering any possibility of peaceful behavior on the part of these same populations.

The Guatemalan civil war A similar case could be argued for Guatemala’s 37-year civil war. In the latter part of that conflict, from 1979 to 1982, there was a spontaneous insurrection in the Maya highlands. The army counter-offensive that begun in the summer of 1982 was brutal. The United Nations Truth Commission has stated that the army wiped out well over 600 Maya villages. More than 100,000 people were killed; primarily older people, women and children, and more than a quarter of a million were driven into exile.3 However, notwithstanding the horror, this genocide led to a Maya cultural revival as well. The war originally had little to do with Mayas. It was a consequence of the June 1954 coup d’état that overthrew democratically-elected President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, elected in 1950 and due to finish his term in 1956. Resistance to the coup turned into armed struggle after a failed counter coup on 13 November 1960. Two trends implemented in the country along the lines of desarrrolismo (developmentalism) in the volatile 1960s to improve economic conditions, and thus attempting to lower discontent and preventing the dispossessed from joining guerrillas, did impact on Guatemalan Maya communities, however, and were ultimately responsible for Mayas’ radicalization. These were the fostering of new crops for export, and new levels of technology and modernization. In consequence, Maya communities grew in unprecedented fashion. Mass communications entered many of these communities for the first time. Reading and writing in Spanish were introduced, and, given the market growth, even monolingual speakers were often forced to learn Spanish. Ideas and knowledge seeped in from multiple sources, primarily via radio. Thus, perspectives and worldviews began to change. The latter had economic and social consequences. As the agricultural land base in Maya communities decreased and as the externally driven commercial activity increased, those Mayas involved in the commercial sector not only consolidated power, but, in many instances, broke religiously and politically with their own town’s principals (see Arias, 1990, p. 233). Mayas linked to this newly-powerful

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commercial sector often joined Acción Católica (Catholic Action, AC) and began to implement new organizational modes learned from AC catechists, such as cooperatives.4 Despite their moderate developmentalist orientation, the growth of cooperatives brought about serious conflicts with entrenched local Ladino power (Mestizos are historically known in Guatemala as Ladinos; however, contemporary Mayas are making the distinction between both terms: for them, a Ladino is a racist subject, whereas a Mestizo is a non-racist subject of mixed Indigenous/ European descent) (see Cofiño, 2008, p. 37), thus accelerating the radicalization of both AC members and their mentors. In consequence, the Guatemalan military dictatorship came into conflict with the Church. Peasant Leagues were formed by AC organizers to defend Maya rights from Ladinos and their authorities. The government reacted in consequence, by claiming this was a guerrilla front, and responded in military fashion. This factor, combined with the ensuing earthquake on 4 February 1976 that killed nearly 20,000 people and left more than 1 million homeless, became a trigger for a visceral reaction. Reconstruction was chaotic and marked by corruption on the part of governmental agents. These events radicalized significant numbers of young Mayas and led to their subsequent incorporation in the revolutionary effort of the late 1970s. Indeed, the armed conflict truly took off when the army occupied the Ixil town of Nebaj for the first time on 1 March 1976, less than a month after the earthquake. Repression began barely two weeks later.5 Events then cascaded. By 1978 Mayas were ready to take the next step and join the guerrillas. The traditional Ladino-led urban revolutionary leftists saw themselves, nonetheless, as the intellectual architects of the revolution. In typical colonialized fashion, they monopolized leadership posts and power/ knowledge relations while Mayas were conceptualized as providing most of the cannon fodder as combatants and logistical support. Mayas, of course, saw it differently. They kept their ethnic goals a secret. They called this la conspiración dentro de la conspiración (the conspiracy within the conspiracy). As verbalized by Maya Ixil leader Pablo Ceto in 1981,6 it consisted of trying to move up the revolutionary ladder as far as possible, but not to further the revolutionaries’ objectives as a whole; rather, they sought to further Mayas’ own secret goals of agency. The Ladino-led revolutionary process became, from a Maya point of view, a mere vehicle for the defence of Maya identity, for gaining agency, and for the future configuration of their enfranchisement. Ladino members of the revolutionary left, however, were blind to this outcome. The Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP – Ejército Guerrillero de los Pobres)


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garnered the highest numbers of Mayas in their midst. However, their political conception remained rooted in the pre-1968 foco-theory as developed by Guevara in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution.7 According to the Ladino history of the Guatemalan civil war, there was from 1979 to 1982 a spontaneous insurrection in the Maya highlands, within a broader revolutionary effort that began in 1974 when the EGP was founded. The Ladino revolutionary organizations were unable to bring the ‘undisciplined’ masses under their centralized control. The revolutionary movement as a whole was neutralized politically by 1982, defeated militarily the following year, and, after lingering in the jungle for more than a dozen more years as a power factor, the movement signed a peace treaty in December 1996 that enabled them to become a legal political party. In this narrative of events, it is clear that, the revolutionaries lost the war. Rethinking the Maya narrative from the Maya perspective however, we observe decentralized sites of struggle where subjugated peoples contest hegemony, recovering local voices; we discover alternative struggles for agency and self-empowerment. On 12 October 1992, Menchú won the Nobel Peace Prize, and her initial gesture was to break with the guerrilla’s Ladino leadership, in the hopes of forming a single and unified Maya movement free from any Ladino/revolutionary/ Marxist-Leninist tutorial role. The Maya movement as such emerged as the one distinctive, rising social movement during the peace accords. Nonetheless, the Ladino left’s verticalism prevented the emergence of a genuinely autonomous cultural citizenship. This lack meant that public processes to generate support for Maya issues in the public arena never took place. It sufficed that military officers and guerrilla commanders negotiating the peace process behind closed doors agreed. Thus, even though in 1996, when peace was signed, it appeared that Mayas were ultimately the victors in this war – despite the huge cost they had paid in terms of dead, disappeared, and immeasurable psychological trauma for hundreds of thousands – once the euphoria of the peace signing faded, most social trends returned to business as usual. At a time when Mayas could have generated a movement similar to the one that led to Evo Morales’ presidency in Bolivia in 2006, the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity’s (URNG – Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca) traditional understanding of politics as an agreement exercised exclusively among top leaders behind closed doors caused this moment to dissipate. Instead, Guatemala slid into an era that Charles R. Hale has labelled, borrowing the term from the Bolivian sociologist and historian Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, that of the indio permitido (the

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‘permitted Indian’), one controlled by Ladino forces across the political spectrum (2006, p. 298). This tragic outcome was part of the heritage of shifting conceptions of global politics, of which the emblematic date stamped on it by either world-systems theorists or the World Social Forum is ‘1968’.8 In other words, this date is emblematic of the differing political views for which 1968 stands as a divide. In Guatemala’s case, the urban Ladino left were tied to a pre-1968 vision of politics: that is, a modern, verticalist, ultimately Eurocentric vision, whereby Mayas were the masses behind an avant-garde political party of Marxist-Leninist inclination that thought and decided in their name, but which also instrumentalized them as subjects, deploying ethnic animosity as a driving force behind class-based revolutionary violence. In other words, the political-military structure of guerrilla organizations politicized ethnicity, without ever reflecting on the implications of the colonial nature of power within their very own organizations. To a large extent, we could go so far as to claim that the manipulation of Maya populations by political military organizations could very well have had a basis in colonial attitudes and practices. Mayas, on the other hand, slid more comfortably into the spaces of the local and into the articulation of Indigenous identity as a site of contestation, even when they were participating in a process that would conform to the era of the indio permitido, when, in Hale’s words, ‘“Maya culture” lost its claim to being a singular, or even predominant, political valence and became the site of constant, profound contestation’ (2006, p. 296). By virtue of their affirmation of Maya rights and identity in the context of a Maya cultural struggle, they had a better basis for redefining their terms of engagement with the State and with Ladino political forces. Thus, without ever conceptualizing themselves as a post-1968 model of multicentric networks, they de facto ended up behaving as just such a network, a loose affiliation of the type that has emerged in the context of the World Social Forum (2007). By returning to the local to re-anchor their identity within a valued identitary horizon that spelled ‘roots’ from within an imaginary or ideational space that bolstered the legitimacy and the self-worth of the community, they became better equipped to reposition their locality within those newer global designs that have emerged since 1968. After all, in Latin America today, indigeneity (from Zapatistas to Mapuches) ‘is a historical formation characterized by its eloquent embrace of Modern and non-Modern institutions’, as Marisol de la Cadena argues (2007, p. 9).


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Even so, by locating their visceral response outside of the disciplinary political mythologies of Western-centred revolutionary progress and the national ideal of mestizaje, the Guatemalan Maya movement prepared the ground for a new, transnational field of political struggle that exceeds the repressive epistemological frontiers of nationhood that had characterized the Marxist-oriented Ladino left. Their political trajectory enables meaning to be abstracted to the generalized plane of continental, Indigenous and international struggle. Their efforts counteract the teleological, universalizing mythology of the linear national story narrated on Western terms, thus offering a positive twist to the visceral exercise of violence. In a corollary to this enterprise, Maya Ixil woman combatants who survived the war, and have published their experiences in a text titled Memorias rebeldes contra el olvido: Paasantzila Txumb’al Ti’ Sortzeb’al K’u’l (2008),9 spoke of txitzi’n, an Ixil word that means ‘deep pain’. However, the idea articulates not only physical suffering, but also ‘a wounded soul’, conceptualizing an image in which a part of the subject is dead. It is a topic at the epistemic borders of Modernity, a different paradigm to convey the unnameable condition of surviving genocide (cited in Peláez, 2008, p. 14) that anchors a discourse articulating a new relation between violence, survival, ethics and politics. Feeling txitzi’n did not preclude agency. On the contrary, it was a prerequisite for meaningful agency, one that contextualized their struggle and constituted them as comprehensible subjects. The need to talk about profound pain, never previously articulated discursively by any of them, or by most Maya women under Western eyes, was followed by the joy of being together again, the memories of their deeds and achievements, of their courage and of their capacity for decision-making and executing. They had to name the past as a way of talking about the future. It made them fully conscious of their identities as ex-combatants, and as women who continue their political struggle as fully-conscious Indigenous subjects and as organized women who refused to self-racialize. As they themselves stated, they lost their fear in the mountains. Whenever they were in a social gathering in a village they recognized females who were ex-combatants. They were always the ones who did not stand quietly and meekly behind their husbands, but who spoke out with assurance and without fear: What the heart says we speak out; there is no fear, there is no trembling, we feel our heart is alive; it’s strong because it’s not fearful. I lost my fear because I rose with the rebels in the mountains, where

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everyone talked, where we were not mute, and here it’s the same; I talk with everyone. (cited in Peláez, 2008, p. 16) Txitzi’n is analogous to trauma, but with a difference. Whereas trauma implies suffering fear or helplessness as a result of an event involving actual or threatened death, the Maya women’s response has not included those effects. This is because for them, txitzi’n is also a mystical or inner experience. Though described in simple, plain words, it is for them another space for the production of knowledge – an ‘other way of thinking’, in the words of Arturo Escobar, pointing to the very possibility of talking about ‘worlds and knowledges otherwise’.10 Mayas believe that there are words too deeply embedded to come up to the surface and make conceptual understanding possible, words that anthropologist Dennis Tedlock conceives of as ‘words that are “in the belly” of a person’ (1996, p. 268). That is, words that a person is unable to bring to his/her consciousness and articulate. Nevertheless, the sensorial perceptions of these words operate as a defence mechanism against violence and oppression. Txitzi’n encompasses both aspects: trauma and healing. Ancestral principles and historic struggles of Indigenous peoples have begun to disrupt, transgress and traverse Western thinking, and this disruption, transgression and traversing, advancing new notions of interculturality and decoloniality becomes evident when we contrast trauma and txitzi’n. The latter removed something of the horror of the violence they witnessed and ameliorated the circumstances of extreme traumatic dislocation they underwent. For the most part, they all claimed that, in the course of the war, and despite its stress, they learned their rights regarding sexual and domestic violence, equality between genders, and their right to choose the number of children they wanted to have. The dichotomy of appropriation/violence generated by the subalternization process of the community as a whole became one of regulation/emancipation (Santos, 2007) within the framework of the guerrilla organization, as alternatives became visible in the eyes of the citizen.

Final thoughts It would seem impossible to think of decoloniality without thinking of violence of some form or another, from symbolic to visceral, given that the dominant attitude of hegemonic Western societies and Westernized local elites is one of ‘originary terror’ in a Lyotardan sense, one where recognition of the other is limited to a différend, a dispute between two


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or more parties, where power/knowledge relations within language games are so different that no consensus can ever be reached. By demonstrating with concrete examples the decolonial underpinnings of three quarters of the world, it becomes easier to better understand the inevitability of violence in just about any political conflict in the modern world. In a decolonial logic, violence is not only inevitable, but it can be, and it is often perceived as, ‘just’; that is, a positive instrument of agency capable of re-empowering subalternized societies. At the same time, we have to recognize that the risk of it leading to anarchic chaos is very much present. The collisions of cosmologies can and do take nasty turns towards uncontrolled, destructive violence. After all, violence, however unwittingly perpetrated, is more often than not a normative imposition. Once unchained, it is easy for communities to become ensnared in cycles of militarism and violence without end. The loss of control over violence always comes associated with a loss of control of anti-democratic actions, where those wielding the more powerful weapons have a greater chance to overpower their opponents. It is then not accidental that so many manifestations of viscerality easily transform themselves in genocidal processes and ‘ethnic cleansing’. At the same time, the actual state of malnutrition, ignorance, sickness and hunger of the vast majority of subalternized populations has to also be understood as institutionalized violence on the part of local elites, usually dependent, or egged-on, by hegemonic Western nations. In most of these cases, adequate change is impossible without resort to violence. Such is the conundrum within which most colonialized peoples find themselves in the early twenty-first century. How to emerge from within such a vortex of violence in constructive and positive fashion remains one of the great unanswered questions at a time when entropic conditions on a planetary scale would make any such outcome improbable.

Notes 1. Perhaps the only recent political outcome would be that of post-apartheid South Africa, regardless of flaws emerging in the last decade. It should be especially noted, though, that this is the one case where there was no foreign intervention to allegedly ease the transit to democracy. Rather, it was an internal struggle where major powers refrained from supporting the apartheid regime, and the latter caved in from within. 2. A k’atun is a calendric period of 20 tuns (7,200 days) or 20 years. Each of the 13 k’atuns has a specific ‘fate’, or set of prophecies, attached to it. These katunic prophecies are most evident in the Books of Chilam Balam and in the

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5. 6. 7.


9. 10.


Ritual of the Bacabs, surviving Maya books written in the colonial period in Yucatec Maya, but using a Latin alphabet. In the spring of 2013 General Ríos Montt was tried and convicted of genocide because of these initiatives, but a higher court ordered a repeat of his trial. Catholic Action was the name of many groups of lay Catholics who, in the nineteenth century, tried to encourage a Catholic influence on society and emergent industrialism in historically Catholic countries that fell under anti-clerical regimes such as Spain, Italy, Bavaria, France and Belgium. Exported to the so-called ‘Third World’ after World War II, these groups eventually converged with Theology of Liberation when attention turned to social and economic issues of development and international relations, and the obligation of rich countries to assist poor ones. In Guatemala, it was originally founded in 1948 as an anti-Communist organization to oppose the democratic governments of the 1944–54 period. All details can be found in Arias (1990, p. 248). Personal communication. Mexico City, Avenida Universidad 1900, spring 1981. Indeed, Guevara had been the godfather of Ramírez’ son with Aura Marina Arreola, during his Catholic baptism in Cuba. Personal communication from Aura Marina Arriola. Mexico City, Sanborn’s de San Angel, January 1983. See Global Democracy and the World Social Forums for an explanation of this paradigm. Other authors involved with world-system theories that have problematized this issue include Immanuel Wallerstein and Giovanni Arrighi. This book was edited by Ligia Peláez. See ‘“Worlds and Knowledges Otherwise”: The Latin American Modernity/ Coloniality Research Program’.

References Arias, A. (1990) ‘Changing Indian Identity: Guatemala’s Violent Transition to Modernity’ in Carol A. Smith (ed.) Guatemalan Indians and the State, 1540 to 1988 (Austin: University of Texas Press). Cofiño, A. and E. Chirix (2008) ‘Emma Chirix Conversa con Ana Cofiño’ in S. Trujillo and G. Gil (eds) Colección Pensamiento 2 (Guatemala: Librovisor). de la Cadena, M. (2007) ‘El Movimiento Indígena-Popular en los Andes y la Pluralización de la Política: Una Hipótesis de Trabajo’, LASA Forum 38 (4) (Fall), 36–8. de Sousa Santos, B. (2004) ‘The World Social Forum: A User’s Manual’ (Madison),, accessed 9 September 2009. de Sousa Santos, B. (2007) ‘Beyond Abyssal Thinking: From Global Lines to Ecologies of Knowledges’, Review, XXX (1), 45–89. Dussel, E. (1998) Ética de la Liberación en la edad de la Globalización y de la Exclusión (Madrid: Trotta).


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Escobar, A. (2003) ‘“Mundos y Conocimientos de Otro Modo”: El Programa de Investigación de Modernidad/Colonialidad Latinoamericano’, Tabula Rasa, 1, 51–86. Fanon, F. (1965) A Dying Colonialism, trans. H. Chevalier (New York: Grove Press). Goldstein, J. (2001) War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Guidotti-Hernández, N. M. (2011) Unspeakable Violence: Remapping US and Mexican National Imaginaries (Durham, NC: Duke University Press). Hale, C. R. (2006) Más Que Un Indio (More Than An Indian): Racial Ambivalence and the Paradox of Neoliberal Multiculturalism in Guatemala (Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press). Hernández de la Cruz, F. (2011) ‘Yax ts’íib e’esajil/Prólogo’ in M. Ceh Moo T’Ambilák Men Tunk’ulilo’ob/El Llamado de los Tunk’ules. (México D.F.: CONACULTA). Lyotard, J-F. (1989) The Differend: Phrases in Dispute, trans. G. Van Den Abbeele (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Lyotard, J-F. (1990) Heidegger and ‘the Jews’, trans. A. Michel and M. Roberts (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Maldonado-Torres, N. (2007) ‘On the Coloniality of Being: Contributions to the Development of a Concept’, Cultural Studies 21 (2–3), 240–70. Peláez, L. (ed.) (2008) Memorias Rebeldes Contra el Olvido: Paasantzila Txumb’al Ti’ Sortzeb’al K’u’l (Guatemala: AVANCSO). Sanjinés, J. (2004) Mestizaje Upside Down: Aesthetic Politics in Modern Bolivia (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press). Spivak, G. C. (2012) An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press). Taracena Arriola, A. (2010) De la Nostalgia por la Memoria a la Memoria Nostálgica: La Prensa Literaria y la Construcción del Regionalismo Yucateco en el Siglo XIX (Mérida: UNAM). Tedlock, D. (trans.) (1996) Popol Vuh: The Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life (New York: Touchstone). Trexler, R. (1995) Sex and Conquest: Gendered Violence, Political Order, and the European Conquest of the Americas (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).

4 Social Races and Decolonial Struggles in France Sadri Khiari

Introduction In France, apart from activists and intellectuals acquainted with the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic1 (PIR – Parti des Indigènes de la République), not many people understand that a French party or movement embraces the task of an anti-racist struggle, points to the need of a decolonial strategy and presents itself as a liberation party.2 These principles may indeed be surprising. Mistakenly, some see this as a will to imitate movements that have struggled, or still struggle, against the colonial occupation of their territories. This, of course, would be nonsense. The condition of the ‘internally colonized’ and the mechanisms of their racial relegation are considerably different from the forms of oppression produced by territorial colonization. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, I will try to explain why talking about liberation and, more precisely, about decolonial liberation continues to make sense as long as the coloniality of power relations – surely, under new terms – persists as an organizing principle of French society, structuring different groups of the population according to a racial hierarchy.

Power is the central issue To approach the race question in France means claiming that the French political field is the site of a power struggle between races. It is true that the features of this struggle do not seem evident – such is the gap between the parties involved. The cleavage right/left, by subsuming 65


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the other points of conflict, appears as the only way of structuring the political field. The myth of a Republic that does not tolerate any orders or castes but only unmarked individuals has been particularly dominant. The struggles of the oppressed races do not present themselves officially as racial struggles nor, a fortiori, as power struggles, but as ‘citizens’’ struggles within the Republican framework. I must therefore start by explaining what I understand by social races. We will not be able to fully grasp the racial question if it is approached within the limits of the French state’s borders. First of all, it must be considered within a global framework and in the long present of Modernity, where colonialism unfolds. Moreover, let us instead use the term coloniality of power relations in order to delink the notion of territorial occupation from that of the subordination of the peoples living there. These notions are central to understanding the contemporary imperial phenomenon but are far from exhausting its meaning. We must question today what is common and what is specific in the social relations of domination introduced worldwide since the sixteenth century. The most generic answer lies, I believe, in the racialization of social relations or, in other words, in the formation and hierarchization of statutory groups, racially defined, throughout the historical process that witnessed the interrelation of the establishment of colonial empires, capitalist expansion and the institutionalization of the system of modern Nation-States. The demarcation boundaries established by the dominant group have shifted; they are held to changing sets of standards, inscribed in natural, cultural and religious characteristics, within a geographic location or a socioeconomic condition; they may be made explicit or silenced; they are mainly conveyed through practices. Thus throughout the centuries a racial distribution of human beings was formulated, an arrangement dominated by the group whose main criteria of belonging – shaped by colonial history – have been inseparable from being White, of Christian origin and allegedly descendent from populations originating from Europe, especially ‘Western Europe’ (Khiari, 2009). From this approach, the resistance of Black peoples deported to America and the Caribbean, anticolonial wars, the converging struggles of the ‘Third World’ following independence or the anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa, should be reinterpreted as racial struggles against White power. It is undoubtedly no accident that Malcolm X breaks with the Nation of Islam’s supremacist and apolitical separatism, and regards the strategy of American Black people in a perspective we can qualify as internationalist decolonial, after his long trip around the

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world when he fully realizes the global character of the colonial-racial domination and the resistance it creates. To claim that the racial question is inseparable from the races’ struggle for power means that races are relations of social forces between the dominant race and the dominated races, the former aiming to preserve its supremacy constitutive of the racial system, and the latter aiming to their liberation. This means that races, and therefore their social boundaries, are built in the process of their struggles for power. Resistance among the dominated races is, at the same time, a frontal struggle – the dominated race wants to destroy the supremacy of the dominant race or to establish its own, while the dominant race seeks to consolidate its supremacy – and a struggle for belonging to the dominant race or, at least, to be as close to it as possible, that is, to climb the stairs of the racial hierarchy. One of the strategies of White power is exactly to expand its own borders, to select who can cross them or to make upward mobility in the social pyramid possible for one or other group. This is both a strategy and a means to exercise its power, reinforced by the strategies of the dominated races, tormented by the ambition of being fully accepted within the White community. In this way, the social hierarchy presents itself more as a pyramid than as an opposition between two homogeneous and strictly defined poles. It is simultaneously bipolar – between Whites and non-Whites, and pyramidal – with different oppressed racial groups facing or rather below the Whites – by levels of colour or culture, each one according to its position in mankind or civilization, its rights and its obligations, lost and won battles. Racial stratification also produces a distribution of people and groups along class lines – and I do not need to specify who the main beneficiaries of this distribution are. It is easy to show that on a worldwide scale the dominated races are located in the lowest position within the division of labour. Nevertheless, if the dominated races are broadly confined to the lower layers of the subaltern classes, they are themselves no less socially differenced. In the same way, the set of powers and honours (political, symbolic, and so on) fall down from the top of the racial pyramid to the humblest layers.

The White republic Political struggles among immigrants and in marginalized neighbourhoods (banlieues) in France are part of this same racial battle – with all due respect to those who insist on confining them to the narrow limits of ‘the Hexagon’ or merely to the deprived neighbourhoods. From


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a strategic point of view, it is crucial to analyze the specific ways in which racism is formed and exercised in France. It is necessary to understand it by what it is: the French conversion of a worldwide system of racial domination, and not only a phenomenon that could be explained solely by logics inherent to the contemporary French society. It is significant that a global approach of this kind, common to the analysis of economic and social questions, is often neglected in the understanding of racism. In other words, to ignore the imperial character of racism leads to missing a part of the actual challenges around which social struggles revolve (this blind spot is particularly manifest in the discussion of Islamophobia since 11 September 2001). The French state, and broadly the devices of racial power in France, work indeed as a mediation of the international White supremacy. This does not mean that the French state is a mere transmitter; it has also its own issues: bureaucratic, class related and national. The French state, that is, the imperial nation-state, is not the nation-state. It is the nation-state shaped through colonial domination (Khiari, 2009) and in competition, even at war, against other imperial nation-states as well as in the matrix of the racial hierarchy of powers on a world scale. The bourgeois hegemony over the subaltern classes in Republican France has been institutionally anchored in what can be called a social-national-racial pact – the Republican Pact, which is embodied in all the mechanisms that organize the stratification and integration of subordinate classes to the nation, that is, to the state: democratic devices like universal suffrage, social devices that took the form of the Welfare State, national devices that draw statutory boundaries between domestic and foreign, and racial devices conferring privileged status to Whites versus non-Whites. Indeed, the Republican Pact was not conceivable without granting the White lower classes a privileged position in the stratification of labour – at a global and local level, without the redistribution for their benefit of a share of the revenues originated in the exploitation of oppressed peoples, without, in short, the fundamental symbolical reward of belonging to the superior race, ruler of the world, owner of wisdom and the only values that are worthy – this is something that French Marxism seems unwilling to understand. Similarly, national and colonial wars would surely not have been possible if French people would have not been integrated through the arrangements of the national-racial state. In a democratic state, human dignity is given by citizenship; in the national State, human dignity is given by belonging to the national body; in the racial state, human dignity is being White. The Republic is all that at once.

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Thus the Republic transformed the White lower classes into accomplices of international White power. The citizen, entitled to democratic rights and ‘social gains’ – I admit, sometimes these gains have been won at great cost – imperatively identifies her/himself as French and White. And s/he must fight to stay on top. In fact, racism, prejudices, and related practices constitute the battle to preserve racial privileges, which are the foundation of the racial state. From this point of view, it seems completely unreasonable to say that the White working class would not be racist, but rather stupid receptacles of the ruling classes’ phony-baloney discourses aiming to divert them from the class struggle. In these times of crisis, the White working class defends their ‘gains’ and one of them is precisely to be White. This is also the easiest gain to defend: it is defended through battering those weaker than oneself and it is supported by the state and the main political forces. One could say that the hegemony of the dominant classes over the working class lies mainly in the political and symbolic domination of all White classes over the all non-White classes. This is what the French left regards as a simple tactic to ‘divide the working class’. In fact, since the early 1980s many arrangements of the Republican Pact started falling apart. The Welfare State is gradually dismantled, the model of the sovereign nation-state is beaten in the face (the construction of the European Union, financial globalization, and so on), while new capitalist powers emerge in the Southern countries. The impact of post-colonial immigration on France’s demographics becomes remarkable, resistances flourish – especially in marginalized neighbourhoods; they challenge discrimination, demand equality and recognition of their dignity and their cultures; and they claim their share of power (voting rights for immigrants, the eradication of the state of exception in which they find themselves, participation in the management of municipalities and, more generally, in politics). Prisoners of their allegiance to the ruling class and international finance, partisans belonging to the left and right of the political field cannot consider other alternative solutions for re-accommodating the arrangements of the Republican Pact – that guarantees the White working classes’ consent – than reinforcing its racial dimension. Repressive measures against immigration, police parades in the marginalized neighbourhoods, reinforcing urban segregation, manoeuvrings and strategies to boycott the organization of non-Whites, the institutionalization of state control of Muslims together with their exclusion from the public sphere, the rehabilitation of colonial history, the flourishing of racist and Islamophobic public speeches: all these practices constitute


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the many tactics that make up the strategy to restore the bourgeois hegemony while consolidating White supremacy, and protecting it against non-Whites’ struggles. The consolidation of White solidarity between dominant classes and working classes also becomes crucial for the reactivation of imperial policies, evident since the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. The growth of Islamophobia in France thus responds to both internal and external strategic imperatives – the French state, engaged in imperialist wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, needs to secure consent of the popular White classes, identifying themselves more and more with the ‘civilized’ and Euro-American world. In this struggle between White and Indigenous forces – yet deeply unequal – the uprising in the marginalized neighbourhoods of Paris in November 2005, followed by many similar events in cities across the country, was a decisive moment, upsetting power relations and strategies. It has most likely contributed, in the presidential elections of 2007, to the electoral victory of Nicolas Sarkozy who had made the fight against immigration and marginalized neighbourhoods one of the central pillars of his campaign. However, the uprising of 2005 also contributed to impose an increasing presence of non-Whites in different spheres of society, including the media and the political arena. To give evidence of this in the institutional sphere: the relevant amount of candidates who are descendants from colonization and post-colonial immigration – ‘descendants from diversity’– in the different elections, including here lists of candidates endorsed by White political parties. It is however necessary to properly assess these changes. It is not enough merely to denounce the electoral demagogy and the political exploitation of the half-open institutional realm to ‘diversity’. Without questioning the racial policies defended and implemented for years, it is clear that the White parties are now forced to take into account the Indigenous political power and to adapt their strategies. White forces are increasingly turning towards opening up a space for the recognition, the social promotion and inclusion in political institutions of the ‘elites’ and the Indigenous middle classes, in order to prevent their political radicalization and to separate them from the people of the marginalized neighbourhoods. In other words, White power operates both in the field of class – of socio-economic differentiation among Indigenous populations – and in the field of race. We know from experience – we see this every day – that this can be a winning strategy, but it is not easy to implement. On the one hand, it generally involves a tension with the other axis of the politics of power, namely, the renewal of the White dimension of the Republican Pact.

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On the other hand, despite the inclination among the intermediate categories of the dominated race to comply with the existing order as long as it gives them a place, a faction may encourage – for its own promotion – the organization and politicization of those who remain at the bottom of the scale – in terms of both class and race. In terms of an Indigenous strategy, the articulation between class and race struggle means, in contemporary France, to encourage a coalition between the most endowed Indigenous sectors and the subordinate Indigenous fringes, and thus to hamper a White power strategy to introduce political divides – according to socioeconomic cleavages – among the different sectors of the indigénat. This necessary convergence, however, does not constitute the whole decolonial strategy. A number of fundamental questions must also find their own solutions.

The French sociologists The idea of a racial struggle for power may indeed shock the abundant French scholars and activists deemed antiracist. It will probably also annoy those – yet too few – who do not hesitate to approach race as a social formation. In the 1970s, the intensification of the struggles of immigrant workers allowed the latter to gain some points in the field of theory. Accordingly, Colette Guillaumin (2002 [1972]) defended the need to take into account the reality of racial groups, socially constructed. In its wake, some intellectuals,3 now shocked by the revolts in marginalized neighbourhoods, also distanced themselves from the dominant conceptions of racism to state the persistence of a racist imaginary inherited from the colonial period and its performative character in terms of the racial stratification of the social body. These authors agree to recognize the reality of race as a social phenomenon; frequently they do not hesitate to challenge state policies and some of them devote their work to decipher the mechanisms and logics that produce and reproduce racial inequalities in different spheres of society. However, they have all too often an unfortunate tendency to think race in the exclusive and reductive focus on the ‘imaginary’.4 Certain sociologists who try to show the roots of contemporary racism in colonial history address precisely the reproduction and survival of administrative systems, police, and so on, initially implemented in the colonized territories; or they emphasize the ‘analogy’ between certain colonial practices and current approaches to the ‘management’ of immigrant populations. All this is not obviously irrelevant, but White power is inventive enough to generate new forms of racist domination


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apparently unrelated to mechanisms of governance specific of previous colonial times. Despite these quite different approaches, there is something in common between these sociologists: they do not normally recognize race as a social relation of struggle, as a relation of political forces, and even less define the central issue within this struggle: power. Their approaches feed the representation of the ‘racialized’ as past participle, only an object of a racist action of which they are the victims. From this point of view, the ‘cure’ for racism is necessarily seen as external to the racial relation, an ‘exterior’ that we find hard to locate if not in a relationship that we hope is virtuous between a ‘conscious’ intelligentsia – that presumably has risen above the social imaginary of racism – and a regenerated state, finally harmonized with its Republican ideal. Thinking race without thinking racial conflict, without thinking the issue of power – and, within it, state power – prevents antiracism from being regarded as a political strategy. Although social scientists recognize racism as a form of social existence – the practical reflection of an imaginary as tough as a stain of tomato sauce – race, as such, must certainly neither become the political body nor a historical reality. The hypothesis of a racial struggle for power can actually be embarrassing: as political struggle, it involves the exercise of coercion – power relationships – and the hatred between the two racial poles. The ‘racialized’ is not just an innocent victim. S/he also becomes a ‘racializer’. ‘Anti-White racism’ could become reality. A reality all the more unpleasant that the White racists will not hesitate to seize and disarm an anti-racist left that requires from the dominated to be as clean as right out of the washer. Their struggle, to be legitimate, should be – according to them – an expression of humanistic universalism. The anti-racist struggle is accepted as banally particular and it is the universal that bursts into a million pieces. That is, the White intellectual cannot renounce to this universal idea – without which s/he would be immediately rejected as White in the heart of the racial conflict – while as an anti-racist intellectual, s/he rises above the particular for being her/himself universal – this is the specificity of the dominant White. To be simply White is a terrible humiliation. Not being the epitome of the Human is not easy to digest. Being recognized as a member of the oppressor group, endowed with privileges and powers, is simply unacceptable. The White antiracist intellectual fears as death the shock that would imply the awareness of its non-universality, the reverse case of the Caribbean’s ‘metaphysic’ trauma, as described by Frantz Fanon, discovering with horror that s/he is not White but Black, a Negro

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like anyone else (Fanon, 2006 [1964]). At this stage, the White leftist does not have much choice. As there is no way for her/him to join her/his brothers, those racists proud to be White, s/he can attempt to maintain her/his ‘universality’ – that is to say, her/his ‘purity’ as Human – by means of ‘betraying’ White dominance and/or assigning to the ‘racialized’ a duty of ‘purity’ and ‘universality’ that would ensure her/ him to be on the safe side of the fence. However, this is an uncomfortable position, even if you can find some comfort in it. There is another solution, more mundane, namely, denial. Éric Fassin (2006; Fassin and Fassin, 2006) has perfectly described this phenomenon that prevents people from recognizing the racial formation of French society. We can complete his analysis including another process of denial, one that prevents the White left intellectual, aware of this racial formation, from seeing the nature of racial conflict, that is to say, the struggle for power.

The White and the Indigenous political fields Decolonial strategic thinking involves breaking with the idea of a single, homogeneous political field. This conception of political space-time has been forged throughout the history of political and class struggles – between progressive and conservative forces, between the right and the left, or between the working class and the bourgeoisie – and it is also the result of colonization. Colonialism has not only occupied spaces, it also occupied time. Colonialism has imposed, by force of arms, a racialized conception of time and space, presupposing a racial division of the world and a universal linear Eurocentric history carried out by the advent of Modernity and progress, which relegates other spaces and other histories to non-history or to the earlier stages of history. The dismantling of instruments and devices of power and knowledge that enables, even today, the colonial occupation of space and time, ultimately represents one of the guiding principles of liberation. This perspective is alien to that of universal emancipation, built itself within the ideology of the single homogeneous space-time that embraces a unique political field where struggles against various forms of oppression naturally converge and where ‘reactionaries’ and ‘progressives’ necessarily oppose. However, this area of conflict never existed independently of other areas of struggle, organized according to other parameters. Thus, in the 1950s, the national liberation struggles in the French colonies were spread in space and time scales that were not those of class struggles in France; this, of course, does not mean that


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they developed independently from each other. However, the territories and institutions within and through which the two dynamics were developed, their collective actors, their cultural rootedness, their issues and their historical significance cannot be confused. That is why before the eyes of a Eurocentric leftist – Euroleftist, one might say – it seems ironic that anti-colonial struggles and workers’ struggles in France have not spontaneously helped each other. If, from a Eurocentric point of view, recognizing the relative autonomy of the political fields in the context of a war of liberation that involves two separate territories is difficult enough, it is even harder to recognize a similar disjunction for the struggles of a single territory, the French territory. Apparently, the political field is one, ordered by the state and its power networks, both structured and cleaved by the conflict between right and left, the first representing the reaction and the forces of oppression, the second identified with progress and the universal movement towards Human emancipation. The struggles of post-colonial immigration populations would fall in the second movement, where they would only be a particularity, circumscribed to some specific claims (abolition of ‘discrimination’, suppression of ‘racial prejudice’). They are basically a form derived from the struggle against the ‘reactionary ideology’ or the class struggle. This is nonetheless a façade, an expression of specifically unbalanced power relations in the field of racial struggles. White power is so prominent that the White political field appears to be the only field of conflict, preventing the conflict between Whites and non-Whites from emerging as a political field. The truth is that the Indigenous struggle only to some extent pertains to the visible structure of political rivalries. The most obvious reason for this is surely the exclusion of non-Whites from the official political society – that is to say, from power – with the exception of their inclusion in a subordinated position. This exclusion, constitutive of the White political field, is at the heart of the racial arrangements because it concerns the access to places of power. But this reason does not exhaust the question. Certainly, the claims of post-colonial immigrant populations sneak into many fundamental dimensions of the White political field, like class struggles, but they are also attached to a different space and different temporalities, produced throughout the process of colonial domination and the related resistances, as well as immigration and the multiplicity of forms of racial segregation in France. The internally colonized are not inserted into the space of the French state but they live in several territories, even when they stay in their neighbourhoods; they do not have the same historical legacy, the

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same references, the same memory struggles; they do not belong to the same cultural space. They are indeed socialized in France: they go to school and work when they can, they watch the same TV shows and consume largely the same goods, but all this is assimilated, recycled, transformed and reinvented in the space–time matrix to which they belong. This is not the eternal tradition – so dear to culturalisms – but the space–time of populations oppressed and mixed by colonization, also forged by the anti-colonial struggles; populations transplanted into the enemy’s territory, reduced again to the Indigenous racial status, compelled to reconstruct their territories of evasion, memory and resistance, that is to say, of course, power. White and Indigenous subaltern classes share, let us say it again, all sorts of problems that form a shared political space, but they do not live in the same system of oppression. Moreover, the Indigenous oppression protects White racial privileges. The Indigenous life and resistance structure, and their imaginaries, are determined by the sum of racial rules inflicted on them: discrimination, urban repression, cultural and religious oppression, exclusion from citizenship. Their demands, their aspirations, the issues that make sense to them, only partially relate to those of Whites, including the Whites with whom they share the same social conditions. In short, the structure of the non-White political field is particular in the sense that it is primarily determined by racial power and Indigenous struggles.

Integrationist anti-racism Decolonial politics in France faces many challenges. The most important is certainly the fragmentation of the sites of Indigenous resistance. This is due to many factors: different communities live within non-White populations, with their specific historical paths, cultures, spiritualities and particular expectations. Additionally, the forms of colonial occupation and the conditions under which independences were gained are multiple. Different communities have different immigration trajectories, forms of integration and racialization, class conditions, and they are subjected to diverse techniques of governmentality that change alongside the forms and contents of their resistance. Antagonisms and conflicts cross indefinitely and blur each other. The racial struggle that permeates this amalgamation of conflicts hardly emerges to the surface of the political field. Its challenges remain unclear and the means for their achievement equally imprecise. In other words, spontaneous or


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organized resistance was most often thought without overcoming the historical, community, religious, national or even colour boundaries that separate, hierarchize and oppose the various segments of the dominated race. Above all, it has been designed and conducted without crossing the boundaries of that Republican framework of national and racial standards, as well as its conception of citizenship. In fact, the integrationist perspective – the Indigenous spontaneous ideology – has remained predominant. Although born in France and living there, sometimes for ages, the Indigenous remain more or less convinced of their illegitimacy. They would not claim any rights over France. The Hexagon is the property of the White French. Indeed, they increasingly dare to claim an improvement of their living conditions, equality and cultural recognition; despite this, they would not have the necessary legitimacy for questioning the Republic’s major cultural norms or historical institutions, except, of course, if this means to support a reform project carried out by Whites. As a political process, integrationism consists of claiming the right to be White, that is to say, to expand the notion of whiteness: renegotiating the racial boundary in order to be included in the dominant group while retaining, or not, some identitarian particularities. Historically, the integrationist strategy has not always been inefficient. For some racially oppressed groups, it has not led to their inclusion in the privileged race but, at least, allowed them rise up in the racial ranks. Most often, of course, this was an illusion. Behind integrationism lies the avoidance to challenge the colonial racial matrix. Its extreme form is assimilation, which implies a complete acculturation, but this is rarely endorsed today in France. Post-colonial immigration movements have long challenged the call to integration by the governments since the 1980s, because this term’s function within public discourse is to hide inequalities. They rightly saw there the will to exclude them from citizenship or to ensure their compliance with an assimilation order, while at the same placing the principal responsibility for racism on them. Different alternatives to integration have been proposed without being able to get rid of integrationism. These alternatives are articulated into two approaches, sometimes conflicting, sometimes associated, as it is also the case of protest movements considered as radical. The first revolves around the claim for equality (equal opportunities, equal rights, tangible equality): to challenge discrimination in different spheres of social and political life. The second focuses on the cultural issue: to gain recognition of some identity markers within the framework of a more or less institutionalized liberal multiculturalism. I do not intend here, of course,

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to challenge the relevance of specific claims aiming to achieve equality in employment, housing, political rights and cultural recognition. The issue is rather to question the notion, too widespread, that the keyword equality – associated or not to that of the recognition of cultures within the Republican framework – constitutes a sort of programmatic background of the anti-racist struggle. Undoubtedly, the equality and multiculturalism slogans – yet not outside an integrationist perspective – still have a significant potential to challenge racial hierarchies. As they are used today, they can open a way ahead, systematically confront colonial power relations and their institutional arrangements; that, however, is hardly enough to achieve the goals of the liberation movement, in this case, to pursue the decolonization until the total disintegration of White supremacy.

The imperative of a border strategy In the former colonies, liberation is expressed in terms of political independence. In the United States, Black nationalism is expressed in terms of Black self-determination, of a separate state, or with the polysemic formula of Black Power. Beyond the proposed institutional forms, the obvious logic is the configuration of autonomous political power. This is a crucial and inevitable path within the liberation process. In the French context, the demand for a separate state would be obviously inappropriate. However, liberation – as a way of thinking and an organizational practice and struggle – may be conceivable in terms of a conflict that incorporates the powerful idea of an Indigenous selfdetermination into the paradoxical imperative of conflicting solidarities within both the Indigenous political body under construction and the White popular segments. Liberation movement is the construction, through the self-determined Indigenous practice and the conflicting solidarities with other sectors of the population, of the cultural and political seeds – that is, power relations – which may lead to the emergence of a decolonial majority power. The liberation strategy cannot therefore be a separatist strategy of confrontation between Indigenous and Whites, but a border strategy conceived as a struggle with separate but overlapping periods and sites – including separation, cohabitation and rearrangement; conflicts, alliances and temporary compromises. This strategy is developed on the border that divides and connects many disjointed dynamics, even antagonistic, between Indigenous integrationism and the liberation perspective, between institutional action and non-institutional resistance, between Indigenous aspirations


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and White interests; that is, between the imperative of pursuing the political independence of the internally colonized and the need to build alliances. Contrary to the White extreme left’s assumption, this strategy is not a question of adding up anti-capitalism, anti-racism and anti-imperialism, or ‘articulating’ progressive and emancipation struggles within a homogeneous political space, but rather it is about taking into account the fragmentation, heterogeneity and hierarchization of spaces and temporalities that partly overlap. A politics of alliances thus cannot be exclusively grounded on the field where each other’s interests meet, which would eventually be emancipation according to the White Eurocentric imaginary. It can only be part of a border strategy that recognizes the dislocated sites and disjointed temporalities of emancipation and liberation struggles. To think a ‘decolonial programme’ follows a similar approach, since it will have to consecrate the racial division in order to abolish racial hierarchies that produce races, to keep the nation in order to overcome the unified and homogeneous nation (Khiari, 2006); it will preserve secularism (la laïcité) in order to overcome the bourgeois separation between the political and the spiritual; defend individual citizenship in order to engender a citizenship that is both individual and collective, social and cultural; guarantee equal rights in order to achieve social and cultural equality; walk the path of emancipation while confronting it with our own conception of liberation.

Notes 1. The notion of ‘Indigenous of the Republic’ used here has a particular referent in French colonial history. It refers to the status of the indigénat in the former French colonies, that is, the regime of administrative sanctions applied to colonial subjects. Throughout this chapter, I will use different notions interchangeably: Indigenous, internally colonized, post-colonial immigrant populations, descendants from colonization and immigration, and so on. See Bouteldja and Khiari (2012) and Khiari (2006). 2. See ‘Principes politiques généraux du PIR’, March 2010, in Bouteldja and Khiari (2012, pp. 263–70). 3. To avoid encumbering this chapter, I will not focus on specific works. To do so would require a further highlighting of differences between the diverse approaches; rather, in this chapter, I am interested in a general trend, more or less shared by each other, including those evoked by Houria Bouteldja in her analysis of the ‘BBF border’ – Blanchard, Benbassa, Fassin and others (see Bouteldja, 2011). 4. Elsewhere (Khiari, 2010) I have tried to emphasize the ways in which an approach exclusively in terms of ‘imagination’ would lead to certain contradictions.

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References Bouteldja, H. (2011) ‘Beyond the BBF Border (Benbassa – Blanchard – Fassin(s))’,, accessed 10 July 2013 (Original intervention at the Centre of Social Studies – University of Coimbra, Lisbon, 19 March). Bouteldja, H. and S. Khiari (2012) Nous Sommes les Indigènes de la République (Paris: Éditions Amsterdam). Fanon, F. (2006) ‘Antillais et Africains’ in F. Fanon, Pour la Révolution Africaine: Ecrits Politiques (Paris: La Découverte) [1st edn 1964]. Fassin, D. and É. Fassin (eds) (2006) De la Question Sociale à la Question Raciale?: Représenter la Société Française (Paris: La Découverte). Fassin, E. (2006) ‘Aveugles à la Race ou au Racisme ? Une Approche Stratégique’ in D. Fassin and E. Fassin (eds) De la Question Sociale à la Question Raciale?: Représenter la Société Française (Paris: La Découverte). Guillaumin, C. (2002) L’Idéologie Raciste, Genèse et Langage Actuel (Paris: Gallimard) [1st edn 1972]. Khiari, S. (2006) Pour une Politique de la Racaille : Immigrés, Indigènes et Jeunes de Banlieue (Paris: Textuel). Khiari, S. (2009) La Contre-Révolution Coloniale en France de de Gaulle à Sarkozy (Paris: La Fabrique). Khiari, S. (2010) ‘Pap Ndiaye Tire à Blanc’ in H. Boutledja and S. Khiari, Nous Sommes les Indigènes de la République (Paris: Éditions Amsterdam).

5 Towards a Critique of Eurocentrism: Remarks on Wittgenstein, Philosophy and Racism S. Sayyid

Introduction Now that the Age of Europe seems to have receded into the past, there is uncertainty as to what has taken its place. Among the various labels used to describe this set of circumstances is post-colonialism. Post-colonialism is rather an ambiguous term. Empirically it is used to designate the post-war regimes that emerged in the wake of the decolonization of European empires. The use of the prefix ‘post’ suggests that colonialism is sous rature (under erasure), that is, there is a recognition that the category of colonialism is no longer adequate to describe the current ordering of the world, but it is clear that the current conjuncture continues to be haunted by coloniality. It is important to understand that post-coloniality does not suggest the end of colonialism. Outside the most dogmatic of unreconstructed dependency theorists, however, most people would accept that in some senses the European empires have been dismantled. At the same time, formal dismantling of the European empires has not simply meant the recovery of a world prior to the Age of Europe. Post-colonial denotes an interregnum; between the end of the Age of Europe and something as yet undefined to come. Conceptually the post-colonial is associated with the field of literary and cultural studies, where it seems to present a Third World analogue to the advanced capitalist countries’ post-modernism. Thus post-colonial studies tend to become based around questions of representation in the form of critiques of cultural production, at the 80

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expense of considerations of issues of power, social and economic inequalities and injustices. The chronological based understanding of post-coloniality makes difficult to grasp the profound ways in which the Age of Europe, which is synonymous with the establishment of a global colonial (and racial) order, has transformed the world. It has ushered in a second axial age. A definition of the post-colonial which sees it as a condition not a chronology allows us to grasp the way in which cultural, philosophical and geopolitical forces and processes were marshalled in the service of the European-centred world order. Thus, the dates of formal independence cannot be used to announce the beginning of the post-colonial, whether it is 1825, 1947 or 1961. If the post-colonial is considered to be a condition then it emerges at any point when it becomes possible to disclose the limits of the European colonial enterprise and the world it made. The post-colonial condition cannot refer simply to a critique of representations as long as distinction between representation and constitution is kept discreet and sharp. In this chapter I want to try out a thought experiment into the emergence of the post-colonial as distinct from its conventional settings. In other words, I want a decolonization of the post-colonial. In the forward to his Philosophical Remarks, Wittgenstein declares that his book is ‘different from the one that informs the vast stream of European and American civilization in which all of us stand’. The difference that Wittgenstein alludes to is not merely philosophical but also cultural; his remarks seem to locate his work as being in the West but not of the West.1 It is remarkable that he should do so in such a way, since any reader of Wittgenstein is confronted with the broadness of this statement which seems to be at odds with the narrowness of his work. Wittgenstein is not a system-builder and his ‘philosophy’ is almost devoid of any substantive engagement with Political Philosophy or related disciplines. There is little evidence that he ever seriously addresses problems that animate Political or Social Philosophy (for example, ‘what is a good society?’), nor was he someone who made interventions as a public intellectual in social or political debates of the time. There is strong anecdotal evidence to support that Wittgenstein’s opinions of some of the issues of the day were not particularly considered or thoughtful. Wittgenstein was not a systematic philosopher and, furthermore, on many issues like nuclear disarmament or women’s suffrage, there are enough biographical anecdotes to suggest that Wittgenstein was rather dismissive of such activism. For example, it is reported that Wittgenstein opposed women’s suffrage because apparently he thought most of the women he knew were ‘idiots’ (Heyes,


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2003: 2). Likewise, Wittgenstein is disdainful of the political activism of colleagues such as Bertrand Russell. So why should we open his Philosophical Remarks with such a bold declaration? I want to take my cue from Wittgenstein’s declaration and see it as implying a critique of Eurocentrism. A critique that entwines cultural and epistemological questions. In the shadow of this implicit critique, it is possible to carry out a hermeneutical labour which delivers a decolonial Wittgenstein. What follows in this chapter is a series of remarks that seek to tease out a possibility rather than a full exposition. Partly, this is a consequence of the way in which Wittgenstein developed his work, but also of the way in which I want these remarks to be merely a prelude to what a possible decolonization of the post-colonial might look like.

The man who knew too much I have already pointed to the meagreness of resources that Wittgenstein seems to provide for any student of Eurocentrism and racism. There is nothing among his work which seems to show an overt and sustained concern with these questions. This is, as we have seen, the consequence of Wittgenstein’s specific intellectual trajectory, but also the product of the way in which dominant traditions of Western Philosophy have seen it as a discipline unsullied by associations with racism. Its unsullied reputation is maintained even when strong evidence has appeared in which philosophers are caught in acts that by most conventional accounts of racism would be considered racist. Whether it is Kant’s anti-Semitism, or Sartre’s fantasies of rescuing White women from African brutes, there is a smell of racism around many philosophers. The normal defence of this smell is to argue that we need to separate the private human being from the philosopher. Philosophers may share with their society prejudices and stereotypes but this does not condemn their philosophy. An eloquent version of this argument is presented by Richard Rorty, who offers an alternative history of Heidegger’s relationship with Hannah Arendt (1999, pp. 190–7). In this version, Heidegger’s love for Arendt forces him to turn his back on Nazis, condemn anti-Semitism, lead the intellectual opposition to Nazis, support his Jewish colleagues in Freiburg and generally behave in a way most people would consider to be noble and worthy of praise. In other words, this alternative Heidegger is not petty-minded, a social climber, or an egomaniac, willing to betray friends and principles for the chance to be the guide to the Fuhrer; rather, this alternative Heidegger is a person of integrity and courage, willing to do the right thing at

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risk to livelihood and reputation. In Rorty’s fable one could imagine Heidegger displaying the same laconic avuncular integrity that could find expression in a movie in which he would be played by Jimmy Stewart. Even if this was the case, Rorty suggests, it would not alter his philosophy or its significance. In other words, being graced with profound philosophical imagination does not insulate anyone from making foolish, shallow and self-centred decisions in life.2 In contrast, there is the picture painted most assiduously by a number of recent scholars, which show how the racism of philosophers came to contaminate their work. In this regard, the reading of Robert Bernasconi of Hegel’s commentary on the King of the Ashanti is exemplary. Bernasconi traces most of Hegel’s source material on Africa to four principal writers; however, Hegel’s descriptions are in significant ways not supported by his principal sources (Bernasconi, 1999, p. 45). For example, while Hegel maintains that the King of the Ashanti practiced cannibalism, the source material available to him does not suggest this is a valid description (ibid, p. 47). Bernasconi sees in the discrepancies between Hegel’s probable source material and his presentation something systemic. It seems that Hegel distorts the ‘truth’ to make it conform to the racist caricature of what an African potentate should be like. In competition between the Western mythologies of Africa and truth, Hegel goes for the myth. This connection between Philosophy and biography was also mobilized during the Paul de Man affair. Many opponents of French post-structuralism saw in the discovery that Paul de Man had written a number of anti-Semitic tracts during the German occupation of Belgium an explanation of his penchant for proclaiming the death of the author and endorsing post-structuralism since it removed authorial intention (and thus responsibility) from the production of texts. It seems that while the biographical cannot be reduced to the philosophical, nor is it the case that it can be entirely disarticulated. Ray Monk notes Wittgenstein’s anti-Semitic outburst(s) and there is nothing in his main published works to suggest that racism was a major concern of Wittgenstein. The second approach is willing to see the philosopher as playing a key role in the development of ideas of race and racism. Certainly, based on Wittgenstein’s major writings and themes of his work, there is very little to suggest that his ideas are important in the development of the category of racism and race. And yet, there are hints in many of his comments that if we move our analytical gaze from a focus on race and racism to a focus on Eurocentrism there is a sense in which Wittgenstein provides clues to the relationship between


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Eurocentrism, epistemology and racism. To make my case that despite this apparent poverty of resources, there is something to be gleaned from an engagement between Wittgenstein and the study of racism and Eurocentrism, I have to reconstruct the figure of Wittgenstein and recontextualize some aspects of his investigations. The figure of Wittgenstein represents many themes familiar to the idea of a tortured eccentric genius. This is despite other facets of his biography that clearly point to the social capital that his position as scion of one of richest families of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire provided: his wealth and social connections allowed him to pursue his interests in and out of the academy on his terms (Collins, 2000, p. 736). His assumption of Chair in Philosophy at Cambridge, which confirmed his position within the Anglophonic academic hierarchy;3 his eccentricity is most obviously marked by his refusal to play the role of an Oxbridge don with any great consistency or care; his abrupt vocational changes, his half-concealed disdain for the academic profession, his fondness for Westerns and American ‘hard-boiled fiction’, all helps to cast him as an outsider both professionally and culturally. This sense of cultural displacement arises not only in relation to his own rather idiosyncratic attitudes to life and work, but also as consequence of the way in which major historical events engulfed his world, culminating with the Anschluss and disappearance of his homeland. One can detect in some of his responses a number of familiar tropes, tropes which flesh out the difference between those considered to be part of the national majority and those considered to be mere members of ethnically marked subaltern populations. For example, the experience of an established academic in a premier institute of higher education feeling it necessary to begin his lecture by apologizing for his poor English.4 Or his disdain for the playing of national anthems at the end of the cinema.5 I would suggest that Wittgenstein exhibits many of the features of what I describe as ironic citizenship, that is, continuing doubts about the story that the national majority tells about the Nation and its future (Sayyid, 2006, p. 8). In other words, Wittgenstein’s detachment from the conventions of professional academic life were paralleled by his sense of cultural distance from British social conventions. Hannah Arendt’s analysis of the subject positions open to Europe’s Jewish population suggested two performative strategies: the pariah and the parvenu (Arendt, 1958, p. 66). The openly excluded and the problematically included. The parvenu prominence of Wittgenstein hints at the potential of a post-colonial reframing of his work and his relevance to the analysis of racism and Eurocentrism.6 Rather, to see some of his

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responses as attempts to navigate in a situation that many ethnically marked people confront and the ways in which they develop similar strategies. The figure of Wittgenstein provides sufficient fissures to allow us to suggest a post-colonial recontextualization, to read his sense of being out-of-sync not as a purely biographical exercise, a product of his unique personality and eccentric behaviour.

Vertigo The obvious and convenient point to begin to sketch out a post-colonial reframing of Wittgenstein is through an engagement with his remarks on The Golden Bough. Of course, these remarks are a series of marginal comments made on James Frazer’s classic work of Western Anthropology, published during the height of European ascendancy over the rest of the world. It is not very likely that Wittgenstein read the entire multi-volume study, nor is it the case that his remarks and comments were meant for publication (Monk, 1991, p. 310). Despite these caveats it is possible to see in his remarks a rejection of Frazer’s epistemology on ethnocentric grounds. This critique undermines the claims of Anthropology to be able to transcend Eurocentrism by showing that its epistemology is shot through with Eurocentrism. Wittgenstein’s irritation is provoked by Frazer’s assumption of Western supremacy and its constitutive contrast with the ‘stupidity of the Indigenous’ – that Eurocentrism that remains for the most part hidden from its practitioners. In this linking of the question of Eurocentrism with not only cultural or geopolitical forms but epistemological issues, we see a move that echoes one made by post-colonial and decolonial thinking. For Wittgenstein, Western identity finds expression both culturally and philosophically; the scientific way of thinking is not merely academic but it reflects a way of looking at the world which goes beyond its concerns. What is implicit in Wittgenstein’s critique of Frazer’s observations is the relationship between epistemology and general culture. This is more than Wittgenstein’s idiosyncratic traits, more than his scorn for the Eurocentrism of Frazer’s Anthropology. His ironic disposition regarding the claims of Western world order is what makes Wittgenstein’s insight a potential resource for decolonial work. For – unlike Hegel, whose presumption of the Africanness of Africans leads to exaggerate and fabricate the evidence available to him, Wittgenstein sees in Frazer not the universal and uncritical assumption of superiority of Western ways of knowing the non-Western, but rather its limits. For what seems to drive Wittgenstein’s scorn at Frazer’s presumption about the ‘stupidity of the native’ is the idea that culture trumps Philosophy.


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This, I would argue, justifies the hard hermeneutical labour that may be needed to bring Wittgenstein into a decolonial berth.7 There is however another seam to mine with Wittgenstein, a seam that is not dependent on a reading of the parvenu performances of Wittgenstein, a seam that is not dependent on the comments that he made regarding Frazer; this is the seam which sees in Wittgenstein’s broader attack on the ‘metaphysics of presence’ a decolonial possibility. Wittgenstein explicitly links his position on philosophy to a critique of modern Western civilization. He does this because he sees himself railing against one of the key components of the Western enterprise: its particular formation of philosophy. What is specific to Wittgenstein is the way in which he is able to identify the Western enterprise not only as a socio-economic project or cultural entity but also as embodiment of a philosophical outlook based around a referential account of language. It is a referential account which underpins the scientific world-view which is presented as one of the greatest achievements of the West and also the cause of Western global hegemony. Over a series of lectures and interventions, Wittgenstein began to develop the view (a view that was not altogether absent even in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus) that the confusion that arises and animates much of philosophical endeavour is due to the way in which Philosophy establishes itself as distinct from forms of life. The prevailing reading of Wittgenstein’s work has concentrated on its ‘philosophical’ content, and as I have said given Wittgenstein’s unwillingness (or inability) to play the role of a public intellectual it is not altogether surprising this has been the case. There is, however, another factor that needs to be taken into account: Philosophy as an academic discipline has tended to disavow questions of racism, Eurocentrism or Orientalism as being neither important nor relevant to its concerns. Thus, the focus on the narrowly philosophical does not facilitate an understanding of Philosophy’s place in broader culture and as consequence Wittgenstein’s declaration of the place of his intervention is reduced to the ‘philosophical’ and decoupled from the ‘the stream of American and European civilization’. Implicit in Wittgenstein’s opening remarks is the idea that what he is offering is the possibility of an alternative picture, but that alternative is not purely philosophical but has broader cultural connotations. This can be seen most clearly in relation to his view about meaning. The conventional picture of language sees meaning as being locked in the names by which objects are referred; in other words, language is (to borrow a phrase from Rorty) a mirror of nature. In contrast to this

On Wittgenstein, Philosophy and Racism


view, Wittgenstein wants to suggest a way of thinking about language that is not bound by a metaphysics of presence. Wittgenstein proposes that we understand that language is not referential but pragmatic, that is, language does not describe reality so much as it entwines the world. Thus we learn language through the learning of the ways in which it is used. Words are not simply descriptive labels but rather prompts and cues. It is the use of a term that defines it, not its etymology. The meaning of a term, a phrase or a word is the product of its accumulated usage (Pitkin, 1993, p. 85). That is, meaning is dependent on the context (Pitkin, 1993). It is the context then that introduces culture, and that leads Wittgenstein to advance the idea of language games. Languages are models of simplified languages and serve a heuristic purpose in showing how language is not to be understood as a system for representing facts, but as a social activity, the diversity of which undermines any claim for privileged essence of language (ibid., pp. 39–49). This has the effect of also subverting the claim that Philosophy is a meta-language that transcends all other forms of accounting for phenomena. By speaking about language games, Wittgenstein focuses on the performative aspect of language, thus drawing attention to the role of context in giving meaning to the performance. In a language game the meaning of words and actions are determined by the way in which a series of responses are appropriate to the context of the particular game being played. The introduction of the context is crucial to the construction of understanding. This suggests that the European episteme cannot merely be the uncovering of the essence of the world, its power and authority, its ability to make sense, is a function of its context. While Wittgenstein does not dwell too much on what context would be, it leaves open the possibility of seeing the context not in epistemological terms but in terms of social relations. In other words, Wittgenstein opens the possibility of presenting the Western episteme entwined with empire in philosophical rather than just in geopolitical terms. This facilitates a shift from a Sociology of Knowledge to what could be described as a decolonial ‘deconstruction’. A Sociology of Knowledge explores the links between the European colonial enterprise in terms of institutional mechanism, financial flows, a mapping of degrees of separation between colonial administrators and academic experts on non-Western subject, and so on. A Sociology of Knowledge sees Eurocentric scholarship primarily in terms of bias and undue influence. Eurocentric epistemology appears as instrumental. A decolonial ‘deconstruction’, by blurring the distinction between epistemology and ontology, allows Eurocentrism to be a form of life arising out of the


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formation of the world by the European colonial enterprise. Such an approach focuses on the way in which cultural practices inform and embed social relationships and identifications. In this understanding, social relations are mediated through and are only understandable as cultural forms. The post-colonial dimension of this approach is based on the assumption that conventional categories continue to rely upon a conception of power/knowledge that privileges Western historical development as the norm. Thus, categories which arise either indirectly from or in opposition to a specific framing of Western history require a critical engagement as means of ‘testing’ their applicability in contexts different from those based on Western history. Wittgenstein’s unravelling of the claims of Western Philosophy and his insistence on the practice in specific contexts as object of enquiry, helps opening an academic and intellectual space where multiple language games give meaning without requiring the meta-narrative of Western Philosophy to unify them or discipline them. Eurocentrism is not then simply a system of beliefs and values but rather a practice, which is instutionalized in organizations and protocols that order our everyday lives. More than just the recognition of the significance of Eurocentrism, Wittgenstein’s later work opens the path to an understanding of the world which can go beyond the metaphysics of presence, metaphysics that underpinned the European global project. Critical race thinkers have been instrumental in putting forward the idea of the racial state, a configuration of state form that is not isomorphically related to common ways of understanding state forms in Political Science. So, for example, it is possible for racial states to have modes of governance which could be designated as democracies or one-party rule or military dictatorship, and so on. The explicit recognition of European nation-empires as racial states (Sayyid, 2013a), the recognition of the persistence of racist governmentality in communist regimes,8 have all helped to promote an analysis in which racism is not simply related to the experience of marginalized populations, but rather seen as being intrinsic to modern state form, in which colonial, racial and technological elements combine to produce a distinct ensemble of institutions regulating and disciplining populations over which they hold sway. Wittgenstein’s hints at the possibility that the assemblage which produces the ‘American and European civilization’ of his time may itself be the result of a picture of the world which rests upon essentialism. This essentialism denies contingency. The recognition of contingency and focus on grammatical readings of discourses helps to historicize the racial formation of the world. In other words, what I am

On Wittgenstein, Philosophy and Racism


suggesting is that Wittgenstein’s critique of a metaphysics of presence hints at the way in which this metaphysics of presence is spatialized. His attempt to escape from the view of the world grounded in this metaphysics can proceed by recognizing that this world has a name and a history. The world order that emerged over the last five hundred years came to be organized around a primary difference, that is, a violent hierarchy between the West and the Rest. This violent hierarchy had a military, a social, an economic, a cultural and philosophical dimension. Wittgenstein’s shift from a referential theory of language to our understanding of the world in terms of language games helps to unravel the strands by which the European episteme tied in with a world centred on the Western colonial order. The dismantling of that colonial order will remain incomplete, as many have pointed out, as long as the thinking that made the imagining of such an order possible continues to hold sway. Wittgenstein’s critique of essentialism points us to the embedded ways of such forms of thinking, but also suggests a way out.

Conclusion One of the more pernicious forms of essentialism would see in Wittgenstein a privileged (if not indulged) European man and thus would exclude him from the decolonial on the grounds of class, gender and ethnicity. Such exclusions are fairly common arising from an understandable suspicion of the way in which the articulation of the hegemonic subject position is based on the silencing of the subaltern. It seems hard to argue for the subalternity of Wittgenstein in these essentialist terms. What is at stake here is the difference between being European and Eurocentrism. Alas, Eurocentrism is not exclusive only to Europeans. This does not undermine the broader point that the search for epistemological alternatives to Eurocentrism cannot reproduce the hierarchy of the West over the non-West, but nor should we succumb to Eurocentric claims that consider that even the critique of Eurocentrism is European. For Eurocentrism delineates a project; it cannot and is not synonymous with being European. The decolonization of Europeans is necessary as the decolonization of those that were subjects of the European colonial enterprise. The relevance of Wittgenstein to a critique of Eurocentrism arises from the way in which his interventions can be mobilized towards decolonial ends, it is the tools that Wittgenstein makes available for a deconstruction of Eurocentrism that is of ultimate significance.


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In this chapter, I have shown that an engagement with Wittgenstein’s work may be of great utility for undermining Eurocentric epistemology. Wittgenstein’s relationship to the Western world order is complex and in parts paradoxical, both temperamentally and intellectually, but there are sufficient clues and cues which would allow a decolonial critique into the assumptions of Eurocentrism’s articulation of Philosophy. There is no argument that without Wittgenstein a critique or displacement of Eurocentrism would be impossible nor is the claim being advanced that no ‘Southern’ voices can empower a critique of Eurocentrism; but rather that Wittgenstein provides tools which those with a particular imaginative bent may find useful in the struggle against Eurocentrism. Wittgenstein does not offer a royal road to wisdom, but simply a tool-kit, which may be worth experimenting with. As Wittgenstein himself wrote towards the end of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical, when he has used them – as steps – to climb up beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it). (Wittgenstein, 2002 [1922], p. 89)

Notes 1. Echoing the double consciousness that confronts members of the African diaspora, see Gilroy (1991). 2. In his autobiographical essay ‘Trotsky and the Wild Orchids’ (Rorty, 1999, pp. 3–22), Rorty makes a similar point arguing that his youthful interest in bird watching and collecting orchids had no significance for the development of his philosophy. 3. Collins sees Wittgenstein’s rise to philosophical prominence in the Anglophonic world as being enabled by a ‘personality cult’ in which Wittgenstein’s social and cultural capital was harnessed to his passionate idiosyncrasies to produce an image of ‘unique genius’ (2000, p. 736). 4. For example, he begins his Lecture on Ethics by apologizing for English not being his first language. 5. I do not want to say that this experience is exclusive to ethnically marked minorities, but rather that they form a range of responses that are repeated among those who are considered to be ethnically marked subaltern and read as indicating a degree of detachment from the national majority. 6. Of course, Wittgenstein and his family had a complex relationship with Judaism. According to the Nuremburg Law of 1935, the Wittgensteins would have been classified as Jewish and all that entailed under Nazi rule. I owe much of these insights to discussions with Brian Klug.

On Wittgenstein, Philosophy and Racism


7. See Cressida Heyes’ comments on the challenges that Wittgenstein presents and effort required to make his ‘enigmatic’ thought yield insights for political philosophy (Heyes, 2003, p. 3). 8. Ian Law’s recent work on the persistence of racism in communist countries such as Cuba, People’s Republic of China, as well as former Soviet Republics and the Russian Federation. Law demonstrates that despite official proclamations and declarations that explicitly rejected racism, these states continued to carry out practices which he defines as racist. See Law (2013).

References Arendt, H., (1958) The Origins of Totalitarianism, (New York: Meridian Books). Baker, G. P. and P. M. S. Hacker (2004) Wittgenstein: Meaning and Understanding: Essays on the Philosophical Investigations (Oxford: Blackwell). Bernasconi, R. and T. Lott (eds) (2000) The Idea of Racism (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing). Bernasconi, R. (1998) ‘Hegel at the Court of the Ashanti’ in S. Barnett (ed.) Hegel After Derrida (London: Routledge). Bernasconi, R. (2000) ‘With What Must the Philosophy of World History Begin? On the Racial Bias of Hegel’s Eurocentrism’, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 22, 171–201. Bernasconi, R. (2001) ‘Who Invented the Concept of Race? Kant’s Role in the Enlightenment Construction of Race’ in R. Bernasconi (ed.) Race (Oxford: Blackwell). Bernasconi, R. (2003) ‘Will the Real Kant Please Stand Up: The Challenge of Enlightenment Racism to the Study of the History of Philosophy’, Radical Philosophy, 117 (January/February), 13–22. Collins, R. (2000) The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press). Dreyfus, S. and H. L. Dreyfus (1980) A Five-Stage Model of the Mental Activities Involved in Directed Skill Acquisition (Washington, DC: Storming Media). Gilroy, P. (1991) The Black Atlantic (London: Verso). Heyes, C. J. (ed.) (2003) The Grammar of Politics: Wittgenstein and Political Philosophy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press). Monk, R. (1991) Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius (New York: Penguin Books). Law, I. (2012) Red Racisms: Racism in Communist and Post-Communist Contexts (London: Palgrave Macmillan). Pin-Fat, V., (2010) Universality, Ethics and International Relations: A Grammatical Reading (London: Routledge). Pitkin, H. F. (1993) Wittgenstein and Justice (Berkeley: University of California Press). Rorty, R. (1980) Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, (Oxford: Blackwell Basil). Rorty, R. (1999) Philosophy and Social Hope (London: Penguin Books). Sayyid., (2006) ‘BrAsians: Postcolonial People, Ironic Citizens’ in Sayyid, et al. (eds) A Postcolonial People, London: Hurst. Sayyid, S. (2013a) ‘Empire, Islam and the Postcolonial’ in G. Huggan (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Postcolonial Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Sayyid, S., (2013b) A Measure of Islamophobia, Islamophobia Studies Journal, Vol 2, No.1, Spring 2014, pp. 10-25.


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Winch, P. (1990) The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy (London: Routledge). Wittgenstein, L. (1958) Philosophical Investigations, trans. G. Anscombe (Oxford: Blackwell). Wittgenstein, L. (1980) Philosophical Remarks (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press). Wittgenstein, L. (1993) ‘A Lecture on Ethics’ in J. C. Klage and A. Nordmann (eds) Philosophical Occasions (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing). Wittgenstein, L. (2002) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, trans. D. F. Pears and B. F. McGuinness (Taylor & Francis; Kindle edition) [1st edn 1922].

6 How Post-colonial and Decolonial Theories are Received in Europe and the Idea of Europe Montserrat Galcerán Huguet

Introduction This chapter is a first attempt at considering the effects of post-colonial and decolonial theories on the idea of Europe. We begin with one evident observation: despite the fact that these studies are fairly thorough and widely disseminated, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, their reception in Continental Europe is late in coming and complex. One factor is undoubtedly the lack of unity amongst these studies, the multifaceted character of the subjects addressed, as well as a certain ambiguity in their approaches. The reiterative post debate is reminiscent of the problems applied to post-modernism: does post refer to a mere chronological reference, in which case it would designate what comes after colonialism, or does it involve an epistemic question: how to think beyond the colonial framework?1 At the same time, other authors point out the problem posed by the culturalist leaning of these studies, which drove post-colonialist scholars to distance themselves from the critiques of the 1960s and 1970s that were more linked to decolonization struggles; they turned their attention particularly to text analysis. In my opinion, this critique, rightly justified with regards to historical and/or sociological works, scorns the enormous importance attributed to texts in the framework of the colonizing process. This means that an analysis of scholarly and literary texts by authors from the colonies writing in the imperial language – be it English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German or 93


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Italian – is not at all superfluous. Certain efforts strive to prevent the dominating culture, in this case, that of the metropole, from engulfing what is written in its language by authors nevertheless situated in a non-metropolitan surrounding, who are at times critical with this very language and culture. An example would be distinguishing between English and english to differentiate English literature in the former and that which is written in english in the latter. This concern, which may seem exaggerated, has to do with the intermediate position in which the post-colonial author writes. On the one hand, he uses the colonizer’s language because there is no other, as expressed by Caliban in Shakespeare’s famous The Tempest. In all colonial processes, colonization was accompanied by suppressing native languages and cultures or rendering them inferior, and by imposing the language of the colonizer who orchestrated a set of educational institutions for this purpose. The teaching of dominant languages and cultures – English in the British colonies, French in the French colonies or Spanish in Latin America – gave birth to a set of native or mixed-race intellectuals that had to cope with this inheritance. On the other hand, these authors, educated in the imperial culture and scholars of the dominant culture, quickly discover they are different when exposed to the metropole. Stuart Hall expresses this idea extremely clearly: I always had a problematic relationship with my intellectual education and culture. Just as many Afro Caribbean intellectuals and artists, I also arrived in Great Britain to escape the provincialism of colonial society, ten years before Jamaica’s independence. However, I found myself in a London full of Blacks that had come from the same society that I had left, asking myself lots of things. I lived in a typical ‘brown family’ from the Jamaican ‘middle class’ that despised the Blacks. This made me very unhappy. (Hall and Mellino, 2011, p. 75; my translation) We find similar terms in Frantz Fanon regarding his experience as a student in France; in C. L. R. James, as a Trinidadian intellectual in London; or in Edward Said, a Palestinian trained at an English school. Thus it is not surprising that from this difference, this discomfort with the received culture, a consideration emerges which questions it; one that brings about cultural studies and further on, both post-colonial and decolonial studies. As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the reception of these studies in Europe has been slow in coming and difficult. It

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meets resistance from European academics and intellectuals that are sometimes unfamiliar with them or, if they are, resist considering them as a corpus of interest to the European tradition. An example of the latter in France would be Jean François Bayart’s book, Les études postcoloniales: Un carnaval académique (2010). Here, after ascertaining the ambiguity and heterogeneity of these studies, he tends to consider them superfluous, suggesting that the subject – the critical analysis of colonialism – has already been studied much more in depth by French scholars devoted to the topic, beginning with Georges Balandier. Bayart, himself an Africanist, recovers this legacy and criticizes what in his opinion is one of the pernicious effects of these studies: its political penchant for ethnicizing social issues: In France, [these studies] contribute, for example, to ethnicizing the social and political issue of the banlieues and to present what falls under ‘class struggle’ or forms of ‘classism’, in exclusively racist terms, at the risk of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. (Bayart, 2010, p. 45; my translation) With this, the author refers to the interest that these studies have piqued in France regarding the descendants of immigrants from the former colonies who emigrated to European metropolitan hubs in the past century. Their offspring and grandchildren, born and educated in France, encounter new types of discrimination. He includes an explicit reference to the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic (PIR –Parti des Indigènes de la République),2 a political party established in 2005 (see Khiari, in this volume). This party emerged as a result of the suburban uprisings in several French cities in 2005, when young people from these neighbourhoods led serious clashes with police following the death of two of their peers aged 17 and 15, Ziad Benna and Bouna Traoré, electrocuted in an electric substation transformer while hiding out from a police persecution. For several weeks the acts of violence spread through these banlieues. Subsequent research established that the same night of 27 October, a police teargas bomb had been thrown inside a mosque in Clichy-sous-Bois, sparking the rage of the Muslims gathered there. As a result, three people died and several hundred were arrested. Most of them were youths, French children of migrants from various African regions, especially French-speaking ones. The texts of the Indigènes, for example those written by Houria Bouteldja, one of the party leaders, charge the French Republic of


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colonial conduct regarding this sector of the population and explicitly call for their decolonization: the French Republic was established at the same time as the colonial empire. What needs to be decolonized is the White power structure and the social relations determined by this power which creates hierarchies between Whites and non-Whites. (Bouteldja, 2012, p. 185; my translation) This is not to say that there is homogeneity amongst all the Indigènes that live and come from different situations and histories, but generally they are people who share many common interests and especially a common condition – oftentimes living in urban ghettos, experiencing discrimination in gaining access to work and housing, and are frequently the object of police violence. They do not, however, pool their efforts. (ibid., p. 186; my translation) It is interesting to note that the commonality claimed by the author places ‘memory’ at the forefront. While dominant sectors tend to ‘turn the page’ and forget or underplay the weight of colonialism as something from another time, these discourses demand that we revisit certain past events that continue to permeate present-day discriminations. In this sense, these political movements pose a strong challenge to the right-thinking European conscience. It is precisely in this sense that Jean-François Bayart speaks out against the ‘invention’ of a colonial past: In France the Indigènes of the République create both their nightmare and their dream colonies, that is to say, their struggle against exclusion, social injustice and plain racism. This myth of postcolonial nationhood, with its Indian and Latin American equivalents, is politically legitimate, but it tells us nothing about the colonial moment. The colonial myth will be to the banlieues, as the Cathar myth was to the Midi region: a political invention of tradition, historically inept. The danger for post-colonial studies is that they become an ‘alterconservatism’, persistent on consigning the Indigenous to a fantasy colonial condition, while what Aimé Césaire pled for was a ‘right to

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History’ more than a ‘duty to memory’. The thankless role of Social Sciences is to remind us of it. (Bayart, 2010, p. 98; my translation) Bayart’s conclusion is not only that post-colonial studies invent the myth of the colony but that serious French scholars do well to ignore them since they contribute nothing to existing studies and only serve as ‘an ideological myth’ for a determined politics. But if we speak of myths, we must recognize that the myth of Europe as a defendant of human rights does not hold up against historical findings either. Similarly, in other European countries such as Germany or Holland, post- and decolonial theories pique interest amongst those layers of the people which, as European citizens, come up against different types of discrimination due to family origins, skin colour or even names. Here is where it becomes interesting to understand that the colonial matrix of power implies new ways of ‘colonizing’ these people within the European countries themselves. The official discourse of these countries puts into play unrecognized forms of marginalization, when in all regards they are citizens like everyone else. In this case, discrimination therefore does not derive from their being migrants, since they are obviously not, having been born and educated in Europe. It derives, rather, from a reactivation of the colonial discourse, whose classifications and history have not been challenged. Upholding the idea that ‘European identity’ rests on the discourse of freedom and equality, non-violent conflict resolution and human rights, is not only a refusal to recognize colonial history but, on the contrary, a perpetuator of it. For these reasons, I argue that it is just as important for White European men and women to face our own history, since we cannot recognize the figure of the dominated without challenging the symmetrical figure of the dominator. Post-colonial and decolonial studies thus force us to rethink our identity as ‘Europeans’ and furthermore challenge us to a Europe capable of decolonizing itself instead of ignoring its own past as if it never happened or worse, as if it had no impact whatsoever on the current struggles within and outside the region.

Cultural and post-colonial studies Up to a certain point, one could argue that the approach to the subject is incorrect, since post-colonial studies – just as their precursors, cultural studies – have European roots. The former emerge from universities of the North, especially in universities in the United States, while the latter


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were born at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, directed by Stuart Hall at the University of Birmingham, Britain.3 However, if we look at the promoters, we see that they are mostly scholars from colonial countries working in these universities and research centres. In their attempt to develop critical theory on culture and its origins, their peculiar situation changes the conception of these ideas. These authors are the heirs of structuralism, Foucauldian analysis and Gramsci scholars, and thus see culture as the builder of discursive and political hegemony. It is discursive because it is put down to text and discourses that have the ability to generate meaning in the context of human practices, and political, because these practices build agency and generate power. Therefore, regarding colonial practices, one must examine culture in a context marked by colonialism, where subaltern voices intervene in different ways, but they themselves are remodelled by colonial culture itself. As Santiago Castro-Gómez and Eduardo Mendieta point out: the issue (meaning a critical intellectual standpoint) gets complicated when scholars … become aware that they are speaking from a double position of hegemony: on the one hand, hegemony with regard to their places of origin, as persons who live and work in elitist First World universities; on the other, hegemony that guarantees knowledge and the arts, as opposed to the position of other immigrants, most of whom fight daily to survive in the service sector. This situation calls for rethinking the role that anti-colonial and third-world narratives had assigned to the ‘intellectual critic’ and seek new forms of reconciling theory and praxis. (Castro-Gómez and Mendieta, 1998, p. 11; my translation) We have already stated that post-colonial theories join into the European trend called post-structuralism, most notably regarding writers such as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. These theories are especially influential in some works, for example in texts by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak or Homi Bhabha. In this manner, we could say that ‘post-colonial’ is a type of mélange of European theories conceived from or combined with intellectual experiences emerging from the colonies, yet active in First World centres. In Spivak’s words, this makes them relatively unstable intellectuals in a permanent state of questioning, lacking in roots to one sole place, sharpening their sensitivity to challenging contemporary cultures that in themselves belong to citizens of nowhere.4 The ‘post’ of post-colonial theories points to a place – dealing as it does with texts that form part of non-traditional contexts

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– where the identity of social subjects is constructed in interaction with globalized processes without defined borders. The globalized contemporary world’s absence of ‘exteriority’ means that there is no untouched place from which to cast criticism. For this reason, we can neither negate colonial culture, nor consider these authors as mere interpreters of colonized positions or of silent voices. Rather, they tend to overstep the binomial and place themselves in an intensely conflictive area where worldwide Westernization is taken as a given. Stuart Hall expresses this in the aforementioned interview: [On arriving in Britain] I found myself amongst all the Afro Caribbeans that had come with the Windrush, and I asked myself: what will happen now to Jamaican culture? How do they cope, in cultural terms, with their new situation, their new place? Many of them at that time said and thought that they would soon return home, but I saw that for most of them, that wish would never come true. There was no other option, then, than to live there. (Hall and Mellino, 2011, p. 76; my translation) This option opens up various paths that exceed the simple assimilation of the dominant culture or the maintenance of ghetto culture; it envisages other possibilities of hybridization, cultural transformation and modification of cultural practices. This idea, however, needs no updating, since what these studies underline is precisely that the European project was founded on the enslavement of other peoples and cultures – categorized as barbarians or primitives – whose members have these processes branded into their lives and experiences. Thus, this self-examining, critical character so renowned in European culture will always be lacking if it does not take into account that ‘excess’.

European identity A ‘European identity’ has been the object of debates for many years. We find a classic reference in the well-known book by Paul Hazard who, in the 1960s, wrote an extensive contribution to this question. In his famous The Crisis of the European Conscience (1961), re-edited several times, the author traces the formation of the European spirit in the 18th century, elements of which are usually employed to characterize this identity. They consist in the primacy awarded to the rights of man and citizen in a social and political framework regulated by law. It is interesting to note that the author analyzes the formation of this


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‘identity’ as the result of all types of struggles shaking Europe at that time in history, divided by constant aggressions of one people against another and thrust into incessant wars. He gives no role, however, to the colonization process that was doubtlessly in full expansion. So the author asks: What is Europe? A raging fight amongst neighbours. Rivalry between France and England, France and Austria; the War of the Grand Alliance, the War of the Spanish Succession. General war, according to historical treaties, that peers into the minute details of these conflicts. The agreements yield only short truces, peace is a mere nostalgic notion, the people are exhausted and war continues: the exercise recommences its campaign each spring. Leibniz, seeing that it is impossible to keep the Europeans from fighting, proposes turning this warmongering outward … in such a way that all those soldiers, all those muskets, canons, can at least be used against savages and infidels … What is Europe? In one contradictory fashion, it is both strict and uncertain. It is a complication of barriers and before each of them, people whose job it is to collect passports and demand taxes paid, any possible obstacle to fraternal communication. Land so craftily defended that there is no time to cultivate it; no tract of land that has not been disputed for centuries and that does not enclose its owner … However, … a hymn slowly comes to the ears which rises to celebrate the merits of a Europe whose strength, intelligence, kindness and splendour no world power can match … Europe preserves an inherent sense of privilege, an originality that is reinforced with every comparison, an inalienable and unique value. (Hazard, 1988 [1961], pp. 362–6; my translation) This text reveals, in my opinion, how the discourse creates a somewhat contradictory image of Europe: bellicose and at once defender of the peace, expansionist and at once civilizing, and always, in any case, portrayed as a region of the globe, small by extension but called to great feats in universal history, convinced of the legitimacy of its privileges. This self-congratulating image, in a more subtle approach, can still be found in programmatic texts on the identity of Europe. In recent times, we could regard 2003 as one of the most outstanding moments of this debate, on the occasion of the drafting and approval of the Constitution for Europe. Post-colonial and decolonial studies had already been in existence for a long decade and had drawn serious attention and numerous criticisms. It is strange however, that we find

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few echoes of them in the elaboration of said document and none in the constitutional Preamble (EU, 2004) where European identity is defined. Here it states that the Constitution draws inspiration from ‘the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law’ (ibid.,p. 3). Moreover, that Europe reunited after bitter experiences, intends to continue along the path of civilization, progress and prosperity, for the good of all its inhabitants, including the weakest and most deprived; that it wishes to remain a continent open to culture, learning and social progress; and that it wishes to deepen the democratic and transparent nature of its public life, and to strive for peace, justice and solidarity throughout the world. (ibid.) The Fathers of the Constitution are convinced that ‘while remaining proud of their own national identities and history, the peoples of Europe are determined to transcend their former divisions and, united ever more closely, to forge a common destiny’ and ascertain that: ‘United in diversity’, Europe offers them the best chance of pursuing, with due regard for the rights of each individual and in awareness of their responsibilities towards future generations and the Earth, the great venture which makes of it a special area of human hope. (ibid.) Neither in this text, nor in the ensuing debate on the Constitutional Referendum, did the European gaze waver from its regional territory. European history considered itself marked by wars between different powers across the twentieth century, and on reaching the year 2003, in the very midst of the invasion of Iraq and widespread protest against it, the Union portrayed itself as a bulwark against American hegemony. The issue was the difference between Europe and (North) America, not what separated Europe from the rest of the world, especially its former colonies. In my opinion, this position is clearly expressed in the manifesto written by two celebrated European intellectuals: Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida (the latter, a mentor of post-colonialism). In ‘What Binds Europeans Together: A Plea for a Common Foreign Policy’, published in important European journals, both authors take it for granted that the ‘image of a peaceful, cooperative Europe, open toward other cultures


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and capable of dialogue, floats like a mirage before us all’ (Habermas and Derrida, 2003, p. 293). It is not clear whether this statement refers to past European history or to the project for the future. In any case, both issues seem to mesh when the authors state that This [European civic solidarity] raises the question of ‘European Identity’. Only the consciousness of a shared political fate, and the prospect of a common future, can halt outvoted minorities from the obstruction of a majority will. The citizens of one nation must regard the citizens of another nation as fundamentally ‘one of us’. This desideratum leads to the question that so many skeptics had called attention to: are there historical experiences, traditions and achievements offering European citizens the consciousness of a political fate that has been shared together, and that can be shaped together? (ibid.) In other words, the text specifically charges against the sceptics, those who the authors consider to be an ‘outvoted minority’, since they take for granted that the Constitution will enjoy the favour of the majority and thus be approved. It also appeals to the ‘political fate that has been shared together’ that can only be the painful destiny of the twentieth century with its two world wars and Nazism – perhaps Stalinism as well. Habermas and Derrida consider that the great European victories in recent years are its conciliating role in the international arena and the construction of its welfare States that guarantee or guaranteed high levels of social justice. Consequently, the idea is for Europe to spread these achievements to the international domain. As if Edward Said had never existed, our authors continue by saying: Insofar as Christianity and capitalism, natural science and technology, Roman Law and the Code Napoleon, the bourgeois-urban form of life, democracy and human rights, the secularization of State and society have spread across other continents, these legacies no longer represent a propium. The Western form of spirit, rooted in the JudeoChristian tradition, certainly has its characteristic features. But the nations of Europe also share this mental habitus, characterized by individualism, rationalism and activism, with the United States, Canada and Australia. The ‘West’ encompasses more than just Europe. (ibid., p. 294)

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Of course they are right. Western ‘form of spirit’ embraces much more than just Europe, but at no time do they ask what this expansion is due to, seeming to suggest that the answer is in its most perfect state. Why would European culture or Western ‘mental habitus’ have spread so widely if it were not essentially better than other cultures, if ‘individualism, rationalism or activism’ were not intrinsically better than collectivism or communitarianism, better than the instilment of magical thought or other cultures’ lack of initiative and confidence in destiny? Moreover, areas that are also Western, meaning the US, Canada and Australia, as indicated in the text, coincide with wealthy, powerful regions that, although initially colonies, share First World hegemony with Europe. So what happens to countries in the South that continue to be in positions of domination? Are they not also part of the West? Can we accept unquestioningly that Europe-West and First World identity? The authors further state that: ‘The threshold of tolerance for the use of force against persons lies relatively low’ (Habermas and Derrida, 2003, p. 295) but they do not indicate what the terms for comparison are. Perhaps much more violent societies like America or African societies racked by continuous wars? In any case, it is certain that what prevails is ‘the desire for a multilateral and legally regulated international order’, as opposed to American unilateralism, ‘within the framework of a reformed United Nations’ (ibid.). It is only at the end of the text where we find a tenuous reference to the imperial-colonial past of European powers: Each of the great European nations has experienced the bloom of its imperial power. And, what in our context is more important still, each has had to work through the experience of the loss of its empire. In many cases, this experience of decline was associated with the loss of colonial territories. With the growing distance of imperial domination and the History of colonialism, the European powers also got the chance to assume a reflective distance from themselves. They could learn from the perspective of the defeated to perceive themselves in the dubious role of victors who are called to account for the violence of a forcible and uprooting process of modernization. This could support the rejection of Eurocentrism, and inspire the Kantian hope for a global domestic policy. (ibid., p. 297) The authors use the term ‘bloom’ to describe the dawning age of imperial power and ‘decline’ to refer to the moment at the loss of the empire. This is far from any self-criticism that allows for seeing imperial


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power as, by definition, a violent exploitative power and that the loss of the empire is nothing more than the restitution of a territory that has been conquered and exploited by others, to its legitimate occupants. The role of the victors from the perspective of the defeated is not ‘arguable’ but rather, subject to denunciation – precisely from the same criterion of social justice that, as the entire text points out, is one of the achievements of European thought. This is exactly what spurs further challenge of Eurocentrism. However, I am not convinced that this leads to the abandonment of it, given the manifestations of Eurocentrism presented in this text. I shall concede, however, that it does present an achievement in the move towards reflection on ‘European Identity’, the subject of this chapter. In a former article, Habermas himself drives the argument further, by pointing out that it is precisely due to this capacity for self-criticism that allows for reflection – the result of European thought in a post-colonial context: the critique of Eurocentrism itself emerges from a continuing selfcriticism. The secularization of the egalitarian and individualist universalism that informs our normative self-understanding is not the least among the achievements of modern Europe. (Habermas, 2001, p. 19) So to some extent, the argument is turned on its head and uses the presence of intellectual motivations coming out of a European tradition in post-colonial studies as proof of the capacity for European thought itself to be self-critical. It does not, however, challenge its universality and reinforces Eurocentricity, just the opposite of what these theories intend to do. If we now analyze the dossier that the French journal Multitudes devoted to the problem of the Constitution of Europe, neither here do we encounter many echoes of post-colonial criticisms. This is worthy of mention, since this journal publishes some of most celebrated critical voices on the French intellectual scene, adopting a radical position. In the different articles included in the dossier, the difference between the US and Europe – the former a defender of unilateralism and the latter, of multilateralism – is a repeated topic. This polarization is obviously the outcome of different powers’ alignment regarding the Iraq war and Germany and France’s refusal to second the North American enterprise. It does, however, allow for certain curvatures that insist on linking

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‘European Identity’ to the predominance of the idea of Law as a way of regulating conflicts over the recourse to violence. In a very interesting article by Franco Berardi Bifo, titled ‘For a Lesser Europe’, the author tells us that There are two basic philosophical elements upon which European culture has erected its foundation: the affirmation of human rights derived of universal reason, product of the Enlightenment; and the affirmation of a popular, national, territorial identity, product of Romanticism. But these two inalienable fundamentals of European cultural identity seem to be disappearing off the face of the earth. (Berardi, 2003; my translation) By pointing out that these two elements have lost all ability to configure European policy due to the predominance of strong particularities, Bifo does not seem to question whether such ‘ideals’ effectively guided European policy at another time, that is, in Modernity. Postand decolonial theory, by insisting that the flipside of Modernity is European colonialism, challenges this very thrust, since, although we can admit that in metropoles (even if only to some extent) the principle of universality and legality was put into practice, it was never so in the colonies. The colonies were not however, marginal territories but rather, as economic studies of the era show (for example, a priceless piece by Eric Williams, Mercantilism and Slavery), the wealth accumulated in the colonies was the basis for bourgeois accumulation and even underpinned the French revolution itself. As a consequence, with few exceptions, stated ideals never truly served political principles, and were always subordinate to the principle of private property. We have an extraordinary example of this collision in the Haitian revolution; in the conflict between ‘freedom and equality’ the first principle prevailed and the Revolutionary Convention did not eliminate slavery in the colonies until 1794. As we know, Napoleon reintroduced it later in 1802, thus France did not abolish slavery definitively until 1845.5 Back to the special edition of the journal which serves as my base for this analysis, only Rosi Braidotti’s article takes feminist and postcolonialist thought into account: The notion of European post-nationalist identity, focus of my work, refers to the opening theses by Spinelli that I combine with a reading of the nomad subject inspired by post-structuralist philosophy. Spinelli’s theses on European federation rest on a series of postulates


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that I consider to be fundamental: anti-fascism, criticism of European nationalism, the rejection of anti-Semitism and all forms of racism. To Spinelli, as to all founding fathers, a common European space implies the extension of the same practice of democracy over the supranational plane … It means revisiting the criticism of classical humanism, that the masters – Marx, Freud and Nietzsche, distrusters of Modernity – already undertook a century ago and push it toward a political practice that sanctions multiple and contradictory ownership, by opposition to common ownership of a fixed identity denominated ‘European civilization’. (Braidotti, 2003; my translation) Braidotti thus presents an idea of a post-national, internally disarranged Europe that would be able to recognize citizen’s rights to all those living in their territory, independently of their roots, origins, and even maintaining other badges of national identity. As she herself states, this may perhaps be the only Europe that could make us dream.

Latin America and Spain Latin America and Spain occupy a specific place in this constellation, not only because of the emergence of an active group of Latin American intellectuals linked to the decolonial project, but because of the incipient echo they are having in Spain. To some extent, it would seem logical, due to their common language, that post-colonial studies in Spain would have been related to Latin American works that already enjoy decades of development. However, this is not the case; instead, we are seeing the appearance of translations of Anglo-Saxon texts. Does this by any chance have to do with the traditional inferiority complex of Spanish intellectuals regarding the cultural production of other European countries and the US, as well as their sense of superiority regarding Latin American authors? The Latin American decolonial project sprang up initially within the framework of the Latin American Subaltern Studies Group, formed at the beginning of the 1990s. This group took its inspiration from the South Asian Subaltern Studies Group, made up of Asian historians, active in the previous decade and headed by Ranajit Guha. The term ‘subaltern’ had been introduced in a discussion by Raymond Williams in his text Marxism and Literature (1977) and sprang from works by Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci on the culture of popular or subaltern classes. The group would use Gramsci’s works to reach an alternative approach to Indian historiography, one imprisoned between two registers – one

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nationalist, and the other, Marxist-worker. These authors maintain that in neither of these discourses is a voice given to the lower class colonized subjects, whose uprisings and insurrections kept the British colonial power on edge for decades. These groups, however, were only presented as being subordinate to a leadership led by elitist nationals or as spontaneous and unpredictable uprisings doomed to fail because of an unorganized working class. By insisting on the subaltern classes, the historiography developed by these authors challenges historians’ triple elitism: that of imperial historians, especially British; that of the nationalist bourgeoisie, especially Indian, and that of Marxist historians. It also shows how at the same time there was another politics, differing from that of the elitists, that they define as the politics of the people, since it is made up of the subaltern classes: What is clearly left out of this un-historical historiography is the politics of the people. For parallel to the domain of elite politics there existed throughout the colonial period another domain of Indian politics in which the principal actors were not the dominant groups of the Indigenous society or the colonial authorities but the subaltern classes and groups constituting the mass of the labouring population and the intermediate strata in town and country – that is, the people. This was an autonomous domain. (Guha, 1982, p. 97; my translation) The subaltern struggle is one of resistance against colonial power and the nationalist bourgeois elite, making the alliances woven between different sectors a complex tapestry, far from the simple dichotomy between colonizers and colonized. I will be frank in saying that the lack of rigour in the use of the term ‘subaltern’ is the main reason for critiques against this innovative endeavour. Guha and his school use this category to describe the ‘demographic difference between the total Indian population and all those whom we have described as the “elite”’ (ibid., p. 44; my translation). This implies the existence of an entire category built on subtraction, that is, all of those who do not fit into the elitist category. Put into positive terms, these citizens are a combination of subsistence farmers, artisans, women, small merchants; all of those subjected in terms of caste, gender, class, race, nation, religion, craft or any other; for them, the specific oppression they suffer is connected to the oppressions suffered by others, but perhaps without having an alternative project. It is precisely the lack of such a project that is key to explaining the ‘historical failure of the Indian nation to constitute itself


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as one’ (ibid., p. 54; my translation). Thus, this historiography would be able to explain precisely that deficiency. Yet another criticism is added to the above. No historiography can readmit the historical narration of those subjects who were expelled from it, as Spivak (1988) pointed out in an outstanding text titled ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ In this chapter, I shall not enter into the dissection of such a complex and highly valued text. I shall merely remark on its insistence that the subaltern, especially the ‘woman subaltern’, cannot be easily reinserted into a historiography of a more or less positivist sort, since her ‘voice’ is woven out of the silences in her culture and she is not audible in the frameworks of the dominant culture because of their imperialist and sexist character. A fervent admirer of Derrida, Spivak insists that in order to approach this subject, a philological and textual weapons store would be needed to shift dominant interpretations.6 Even with these nuances, it is interesting that this production contributed to the beginning of post-colonial studies in Latin America that later developed little by little into decolonial studies. According to an account by a member of the group, Ramón Grosfoguel (2008), the Latin American Subaltern Studies Group exploded at the end of the 1990s. The explanation for this is that the members, Latin Americans who were living in the US, tended to discount the voice of the intellectuals coming from regions they had studied. According to this author, they gave epistemic privilege to thinkers coming from the Global North. In his view, this is something in common with dominant post-colonial studies, and concretely in the use of the register of post-modern authors, like Derrida or Foucault (Grosfoguel, 2008, p. 2). The author begins with the idea that Eurocentric postulates are not debated in these terms, which are none other than assuming the universalism of the European discourse itself as a departure point of the European discourse and its supposed naturalism. Stated in the beautiful portrayal of Chakrabarty, what European culture shares with any other culture is its ignorance. But while no other intellectual in the surroundings can ignore European culture, its thinkers, poets and artists, European culture ignores everything having to do with others. This ‘asymmetrical ignorance’ is the mark of European culture’s supposed superiority that consequently believes its postulates to be universal and its positions to be natural to human thought. Thus Grosfoguel clearly distinguishes ‘between those who read subalternity as a postmodern critique (which represents a Eurocentric critique of Eurocentrism) and those who read subalternity as a decolonial critique’ (Grosfoguel, 2008, p. 2). The difference between post-colonial and decolonial studies would thus

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not only be the geographical and cultural sphere of reference but also the use of critical categories regarding dominating thought, taken from subaltern experiences, as well as addressing the place that the origins of this discourse have in globalized capitalism, a question that tends to be avoided in most post-colonial production. Scholar Walter Mignolo introduces another nuance. According to him, the locus enuntiationis (place of enunciation) of post-colonialist theories is the British colonial legacy, so it is necessary to find a critical categorization of Westernism that takes place in Latin America. For this, he approaches a sociophilosophical tradition in Latin American thought that since the 19th century took up critical positions towards Spanish colonial legacies – as well as the threat of English and North American colonialisms. This type of critical consideration is called by Mignolo ‘post-Westernism’, neither post-colonialism nor post-modernism, using the expression suggested by Cuban Roberto Fernández Retamar (cited in Castro-Gomez and Mellino, 1998, p. 17). Here we add a different chronology, or genealogy. Thinkers from the decolonial school place the emergence of Modernity in the year 1492 with the arrival of the first Spaniards to America and its subsequent conquest and colonization. Thus, they place the emergence of Modernity in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, not in the eighteenth century as do post-colonial and other mainstream European studies. This difference in perspective not only allows them to rewind Modernity a couple of centuries and swing the importance of metropolitan France and England to Portugal and Spain, but to take this so-called First Modernity to be much more transparent in its brutality than the second, as it does not come with a hidden discourse as was seen from the 18th century onward, but rather addresses the problems in a clear and open manner. Post-colonial studies focused on India are limited nearly exclusively to British Empire colonial domination. Latin America, however, was colonized by nearly all European states, beginning with Spain and Portugal, followed by Holland, France and England, thus Latin American history had to confront colonial domination from all European empires, not only one. As a consequence, from their point of view, the inter-imperial struggles become less important. Pushing back the date of the onset of Modernity to the first colonial expansion becomes highly important for the reinterpretation of Spain’s history, since Spain, instead of playing a minor role in imperial European history, is placed at the very forefront of it. Spain becomes resituated as a type of pioneer for capitalism, albeit capitalism based on trade and finance versus industry.


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If we now ask ourselves what characterizes Modernity, Immanuel Wallerstein offers a structural response: Modernity commences the moment that Europe is seated at the centre of the world system, defines a world market though virtually uncontested expansion and develops epistemic privileges bond, at the time, to the power of the Church.7 Moreover, from this standpoint, we would be witnessing a sort of boomerang process where the outer ring created by European capitalist centres over the centuries applies pressure on the centre, transporting attitudes to that metropolitan centre that only existed earlier in the colonies. This is the interpretation of fascism that Aimé Césaire proposes: what occurred in Europe in the 1930s and what in some form is happening again with practices against migrants, is nothing more than a new edition of the usual colonial practices, now shifted to the metropolitan centres of the First World and supported by a continuation of the uncriticized colonial discourse with its constant treatment of others as inferiors. This theory defines Modernity as Europe’s construction of its world domination starting with the New World, thus making colonialism and Modernity function hand-in-hand. Stated otherwise, Europe would not have acquired this First World condition if it had not been backed by colonial domination. ‘European identity’ does not rest on the Enlightenment ideals of reason that only recently rationalize European colonialism, and extend it. European identity rests, thus, on the spread of European domination throughout the world starting with the colonization of the American territories. From a discursive standpoint, the cornerstone is the configuration of the ‘colonial difference’ which always portrays the native in a negative light and at best, less positively than Europeans. It is in this context that the category of race comes into play. In a synthetic expression, the concept of Reason would be constructed on the colonial difference, since it presumes the excellence of intellectual superiority attributed to White Europeans (conquistadors), manifest in the act of the conquest itself. It also attributes intellectual and cultural inferiority to all other peoples on earth, manifest in their very condition of being dominated. This admits the argument that domination is carried out in benefit of the dominated with the aim of ‘civilizing’ them, and can be perceived in their hypothetical development.

Conclusion As we have seen in the texts of P. Hazard’s book formerly quoted, European superiority has been considered unquestionable since the

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seventeenth century and is even defended by eminent philosophers such as Leibniz, who suggests that war be shifted outward, where at least it was waged ‘against savages and infidels’. This is a constant consideration in European culture and a reason why, in my opinion, before accepting the correctness of the discourse on the ‘sublime character’ of our culture, we should open our minds to the criticisms coming from post-colonial and decolonial theories. Decolonizing Europe could mean critically approaching our own culture to construct an idea of Europe that is not blind to the brutalities of our own history. In contrast to the theses put forth by Bayart, I do not see these studies as superfluous, but just the opposite. They are especially indispensable in metropoles such as ours that are also becoming post-colonial. Moreover, from the epistemic point of view, it is very important to consider this legacy. We cannot continue to defend universalist discourses that result in the imposition of European codes upon other cultures. This imposition does not recognize them as their own – and thus call into question Europe’s presumed universality – and prevent post-colonial peoples from thinking about their experiences, condemning them to silence. That is, the other side of epistemic universality is the acculturation of colonized populations. This question occupies an increasingly important place since decolonial and post-colonial theories call into question the epistemic privilege of the dominant European culture in the Universities worldwide (see Grosfoguel, in this volume). It requires the recognition of other categories used by other ways of thinking. For example, the notion of ‘individual’ is not at all a relevant category. This issue results in the need for a critical approach to our own categories as the only way to establish valid intercultural translation protocols. As there is not a language of languages, there is not a culture of cultures and there is not a unique philosophical tradition. It is time to leave behind the ‘ignorance’ of the traditional European culture, a dominant feature of the imperial heritage.

Notes 1. Some authors distinguish between ‘postcolonial’ and ‘post-colonial’, the former referring merely to a chronological issue, while the latter marks a change in paradigm (Gupta, 2007, p. 218). In this chapter I will not hold to this distinction. 2. The term ‘Indigenous’ was used by the French Administration to refer to citizens from the colonies. The Party Indigènes de la République recovers this designation, pushing it further to refer to natives of the Republic who are




5. 6.


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nevertheless discriminated against because of the colonial origins of their ancestors, explicitly because of their names, beliefs, skin colour, or cultural characteristics, amongst other factors. This gives room for some critics, such as Bayart’s (2010) following Arif Dirlik (1994), to reject these studies as being Atlanticist production, extended more due to the hegemony of US universities than to their implicit value. In ‘Resident Alien’, Spivak makes use of the US Administration’s label for people with resident status but no citizenship to qualify herself as a post-colonial intellectual speaking from the metropole, in Goldberg and Quayson (2002). On the subject, refer to C. L. R. James’ extraordinary text, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938). A strong point in her analysis is the discussion around Sati, the ritual in which widows commit suicide by laying on their husbands’ funeral pyre, next to his body. This is a ritual that cannot be understood without making a detailed analysis of how women are considered, their place and their context – including material or economic dimensions, such as the struggle to survive – and family rivalries in the case of her inheriting her husband’s estate. This ritual practice also needs to be understood in relation to the meanings of the notion of ‘the good wife’. From this perspective, the shift from epistemic protagonists of ecclesiastical tradition to scientific practice would be an internal conflict for epistemic privilege but it would not affect the existence of privilege itself.

References Bayart, J-F. (2010) Les Études Postcoloniales. Un Carnaval Académique (Paris: Karthala). Berardi Bifo, F. (2003) ‘Pour une Europe Mineure’, Multitudes, 14, http://, accessed 10 July 2013. Bouteldja, H. (2012) ‘Las Luchas Políticas Locales/Globales en Francia: el Imperativo de la Descolonización. Entrevista a Houria Bouteldja del Movimiento de los Indígenas de la República en Francia’, Relaciones Internacionales, 19, 185–7. Braidotti, R. (2003) ‘L’Europe Peut Elle Nous Faire Rêver?’, Multitudes, http://, accessed 20 August 2013. Castro-Gómez, S. and E. Mendieta (1998) Teorías sin Disciplina (Latinoamericanismo, Poscolonialidad y Globalización en el Debate) (México: Porrúa). Dirlik, A. (1994) ‘The Post-Colonial Aura: Third Worlds Criticism in the Age of Global Capitalism’, Critical Inquiry, 20 (2) (Winter), 328–56. European Union – Conference of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States (2004) Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe, Brussels, 29 October,, accessed 15 April 2013. Goldberg, D. and A. Quayson (2002) Relocating Postcolonialism (Oxford: Blackwell). Grosfoguel, R. (2008) ‘Transmodernity, Border Thinking and Global Coloniality’, Eurozine,, accessed 10 May 2013.

Post-colonial and Decolonial Theories in Europe 113 Guha, R. (1982) ‘Historia y Poder en la India Colonial’ in Las Voces de la Historia y Otros Estudios Subalternos (Barcelona: Crítica). Gupta, A. (2007) ‘Une Théorie Sans Limite’ in M. C. Smouts (ed.) La Situation Postcoloniale. Les Postcolonial Studies dans le Débat Français (Paris: Presses des Sciences Po.). Habermas, J. (2001) ‘Why Europe Needs a Constitution’, New Left Review, 11 (September–October), 5–26. Habermas, J. and J. Derrida (2003) ‘February 15 or What Binds Europeans Together: A Plea for a Common Foreign Policy’, Constellatioins, 10 (3), 291–7. Hall, S. and M. Mellino (2011) La Cultura y el Poder (Buenos Aires: Amorrortu). Hazard, P. (1988) La Crisis de la Conciencia Europea (Madrid: Alianza) [1st edn 1923]. Spival, G. C. (1988) ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ in C. Nelson and L. Grossberg (eds) Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (Urbana: University of Illinois Press). Spivak, G. C. (2002) ‘Resident Alien’ in D. T. Goldberg and A. Quayson (eds) Relocating Postcolonialism (Oxford: Blackwell).

7 Africanist Scholarship, Eurocentrism and the Politics of Knowledge Branwen Gruffydd Jones

Introduction Of all regions of the world, Africa is perhaps most often subject to external analyses, diagnoses and prescriptions which purport to offer solutions to internal socioeconomic and political ills. African peoples have been subject to several centuries of ideological construction in the hands of European traders, missionaries, explorers, philosophers and jurists. The ambition to construct scholarly knowledge on a social scientific basis, in order to inform policy and help resolve Africa’s ‘problems’, is more or less specific to the twentieth century. This chapter examines the rise and endurance of Africanist scholarship, exposing the problems of Eurocentrism at the heart of this academic enterprise. In delineating a field which I term Africanist and which I will argue is characterized by features of method, attitude and content, I have no intention of reducing the far broader academic study of Africa to this narrower terrain. Africanist knowledge has long been explicitly challenged by critics in and beyond Africa, while scholarship about Africa produced within Africa and globally is extremely varied, informed by numerous theoretical strands and an important site of theoretical and methodological innovation. Yet, despite strong critiques, Africanist ways of knowing persist and remain dominant especially in teaching and research about Africa in the West. The chapter first examines how the geopolitics of colonial rule, decolonization and the Cold War shaped the emergence of Africanist scholarship in Europe and America in the twentieth century. In order to plot the emergence of contemporary Africanist scholarship it is necessary 114

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to chart two overlapping institutional and geopolitical contexts and trajectories of knowledge production, and their related epistemological bases. The first is the production of knowledge about Africa by European scholars and administrators in the metropole and colony in the context of colonial rule. The second is the post-war establishment of ‘area studies’ by and in the United States, and the creation of an institutional network for Africanist scholarship.1 The chapter then explores the methodological habits and instincts of Eurocentrism which structure Africanist scholarship. Post-war Africanist scholarship failed to shed significant features of its colonial antecedents; instead those features were reconfigured in forms specific to the mid twentieth century.

The emergence of Africanist scholarship in Britain and America The Africanist establishment in Europe began integrally as an element of colonial rule.2 During the nineteenth and early twentieth century, European knowledge about Africa derived especially from the writings of missionaries and explorers. The relation between exploration, colonialism and knowledge is epitomized in the figure of Harry Johnston, who undertook several expeditions to chart the continent’s interior during the 19th century, was an ardent advocate of colonial rule, and served as President of the Royal African Society from 1903 to 1921. The Royal African Society, founded in 1901, established the Journal of the Royal African Society.3 In the first issue Johnston outlined his thoughts regarding potential areas for research, explaining: After twenty-two years’ personal experience of Africa from Tunis to the Cape of Good Hope and from Senegal to Zanzibar, I have come to the conclusion that we, myself included, still possess very little in the way of accurate scientific knowledge of this mysterious continent. The following are a few headings of African subjects to which attention – I mean, scientific attention – might be directed with profit to our knowledge and perhaps to our commerce. (Johnston, 1901, p. 17) His proposed topics were: food products, rubber, cattle diseases, locusts, languages, African names, study of native races, fossil remains, rainfall and soil, minerals, and malaria. As European powers annexed ever greater expanses of territory and embarked on the military and political conquest of the continent in the final decades of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, enquiry


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about African societies came to be organized on a more academic basis, primarily within the discipline of Anthropology. Anthropological knowledge about African societies contributed to the legitimation of colonial rule in international law (Anghie, 2005), and anthropologists helped to train and worked alongside or indeed as colonial administrators (Van Hoven, 1990; Tilley and Gordon, 2007). In 1926 the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures (IIALC) was founded in London to coordinate ‘anthropological investigations’ across the whole of Africa. The inaugural Chair, Sir Frederick Lugard, previously High Commissioner of the British Protectorate of Northern Nigeria and Governor-General of the Protectorate of Nigeria, explained: the distinctive characteristic of the Institute is that its aims will not be restricted exclusively to the field of scientific study, but will be directed also towards bringing about a closer association of scientific knowledge and research with practical affairs. All the work of the Institute will be based on strictly scientific principles and carried out by scientific methods … But it will at the same time attempt to relate the results of research to the actual life of the African peoples, and to discover how the investigations undertaken by scientific workers may be made available for the solution of pressing questions that are the concern of all those who, as administrators, educators, health and welfare workers, or traders, are working for the good of Africa. (Lugard, 1928, p. 2) Nevertheless, the study of Africa lacked systematic funding, as Harry Johnston bemoaned in 1921 on the occasion of his retirement from President of the Royal African Society: During the past eighteen years I have lectured and privately pleaded in most of our great provincial cities and subsidiary capitals on the need for a Society like ours, which undertakes the scientific study of Africa. I have pointed out that to maintain successfully and permanently our enormous commerce with Africa and our rule over such a large proportion of that continent, we must come to understand Africa, and to understand, not only British Africa, but also self-governed South Africa, French Africa, Italian, Spanish, Belgian, and Portuguese Africa, and the native states that are either independent or at any rate self-governing. But I have preached to deaf ears. (Johnston, 1921, p. 86)

Africanist Scholarship and the Politics of Knowledge


It was only during and after World War II, in the face of growing anti-colonial protest and organization that European colonial powers began to construct a stronger institutional basis for research about their African colonial territories and subjects. In Britain, the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts of 1940 and 1945 sought to consolidate colonial rule through a new approach putting greater emphasis on improving social conditions in the colonies. This included provision of up to £500,000 a year for research. The Secretary of State for the Colonies appointed the Colonial Research Committee to assist in the management of these funds, and in 1944 the Colonial Social Science Research Council was established to advise the Secretary of State with regard to social inquiry. After visits to East and West Africa, Malay and Sarawak the Council concluded that a first priority should be to establish centres of research in the main colonial regions. In Africa, funding was provided to establish Institutes of Social Research in Uganda at Makerere College, and Nigeria at the University College, Ibadan (American Anthropologist, 1949; Mills, 2002). The new approach to colonial policy was informed in part by the ideas developed in the African Survey, a multi-authored survey of existing research capacities in all areas of knowledge production in and about Africa conducted in the mid 1930s under the direction of Lord Malcom Hailey (Hailey, 1938). The essential purpose of the African Survey was to better inform colonial policy – to establish a scientific basis for the administration of colonial territories and the government of colonial peoples (Tilley, 2011, pp. 69–114). Although prior to World War II, as Harry Johnston had noted with despair, European governments did not invest in research about their colonies in Africa, such knowledge production was precisely a central concern of the large American philanthropic foundations: Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford. These foundations were established at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries on the basis of vast fortunes amassed in America’s industrial and oil sectors. Reflecting the values and interests of the elite group and class controlling their resources – White, male, Christian, liberal capitalists primarily of the East coast – the foundations sought to consolidate, both within the US and globally, a social order conducive to capitalist development and expansion through private enterprise (Parmar, 2012, pp. 32–59; Arnove, 1980a, pp. 2–3). Founded at a moment of ‘psychic crisis’ in America – a time of mass strikes and protests, but also of the unprecedented creation of millionaires and enormous individual fortunes – the vision of the foundations was essentially elitist and ameliorative (Parmar, 2012, pp.


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32–45). They sought actively to forge societal consensus consistent with their values of individualism, private enterprise, market society and liberal internationalism, and to enable the management of society on the basis of expert, scientific knowledge (Howe, 1980). Accordingly support for higher education was a central concern: ‘education – and higher education, in particular – has been the primary target of foundation funding activities’ (Arnove, 1980a, p. 3). From the 1920s the foundations were especially active not just in seeking to shape America’s polity but in promoting the projection of American power globally, advocating a strategy of engagement with the rest of the world in place of the isolationism of the inter-war period. This entailed efforts to build both national and international networks to facilitate the circulation of people and ideas (Berman, 1984; Parmar, 2002, 2012). The role of these foundations in supporting the establishment of Area Studies from the 1950s has been well documented (Cumings, 2002; Wallerstein, 1997), but their influence in supporting the study of Africa extends further back. In the inter-war period the Rockefeller Foundation gave substantial financial support to the International Institute for African Cultures and Languages (Fisher, 1980, p. 249), whose focus on anthropological research to inform colonial administration meshed with Rockefeller’s concern to enable social control informed by scientific knowledge (Fisher, 1986; Salamone, 2000). Rockefeller also funded Raymond Buell of the Bureau of International Research at Harvard to undertake a major survey of colonial administration across the continent (Buell, 1928; Tilley, 2011, p. 90), while the Carnegie Foundation funded Hailey’s multidisciplinary African Survey. At the University of London’s School of Oriental Studies the study of Africa began in the early 1930s, made possible by a Rockefeller grant for the study of African languages. When the Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa was made permanent in 1936 the school’s name changed to School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Born thus in the colonial context, the origins of SOAS went beyond academic scholarship per se; ‘the students who passed through the School were colonial civil servants, missionaries of various denominations, and other individuals who had some practical reason for learning an African language’ (Flight, 1988, p. 267). After World War II, with financial support from the British government, SOAS expanded rapidly and its Africa department made 24 new appointments between 1944 and 1954 (Phillips, 1967). Having supported social scientific research as an integral tool of European colonial rule, in the aftermath of World War II the foundations

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played a central role in the formation of Area Studies in American universities (Taylor, 1964; Parmar, 2012; Arnove, 1980b). This followed the 1943 report of the Committee on World Regions of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) which advocated the ‘need for social scientists who know the different regions of the world’ (SSRC, 1943, p. 1, cited in Wallerstein, 1997, p. 195). In its new position as a global power, the US needed knowledge of the world. The SSRC set up the Committee on World Area Research in 1946 and, with substantial support from the foundations, promoted and coordinated new institutional bases and networks for ‘the academic conquest of the non-Western world’ (Taylor, 1964, p. 4). This combined with concerted efforts by the SSRC and foundations to reformulate social research on a positivist ‘scientific’ basis (Seybold, 1980; Hauptmann, 2012; Gilman, 2003, pp. 113–54). In the early post-war years the Area Studies impetus focused mainly on Russia, China and Japan – the Association for Asian Studies was the first ‘area’ association to be established (Cumings, 2002). Initiatives to promote African studies followed in the 1950s. The African Studies Association (ASA), established in 1957, ‘owed its creation to largesse from the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation’ (Berman, 1980, p. 221). Already in 1947 ‘meetings had been held in Washington looking forward to the establishment of such an Association, and in 1953 at a conference in Princeton, sponsored by the Carnegie Corp., the question of an association was discussed at some length’ (African Studies Bulletin, 1958a, p. 13). Carnegie granted further funds for the founding conference held 24 March 1957 in New York, while Ford provided a total of $275,000 to support the development of the ASA (African Studies Bulletin, 1958a; Sutton and Smock, 1976, p. 69). By this stage Cold War tensions had prompted the Eisenhower administration to commit to funding Area studies. Support for the strategic expansion of university teaching and research in the Social Sciences, including Area Studies, International Studies and foreign languages was formalized by the Eisenhower administration through the National Defence Education Act of 1958. Provision for Area Studies was stipulated under Title VI, which secured Federal government funding for a series of National Resource Centres in Area Studies at universities across the country (Wallerstein, 1997; Cumings, 2002). The major foundations continued to expand their funding for African studies alongside the Title VI grants: Ford provided long-term large grants to several African studies centres at Boston, Chicago, Wisconsin, Berkeley, Stanford, Indiana, Columbia, Yale, and Michigan State universities in the 1960s (Sutton and Smock, 1976, pp. 69–70). By 1960 Ford had


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funded 89 ‘young Americans from various fields’ to study in Africa, and by 1974 had provided around $20 million in support of African studies and funded 350 research fellowships (Sutton, 1960: 2; Sutton and Smock, 1976, pp. 68–9). Sutton and Smock underline that the aims of such initiatives were by no means exclusively academic. It was intended that it would help meet national needs for expertise in government, the press, and, indeed, wherever international competences needed strengthening … The Ford Foundation has always conceived itself to be concerned in the first instance with the contemporary problems of the nation and the world rather than with the building of disciplines or pure scholarship and research … The need for good Africanists has been an easily persuasive one for a Foundation concerned to promote development and international order. (Sutton and Smock, 1976, p. 69) These developments in the US, supported by the foundations and later by the government, in turn influenced the post-war expansion of Social Sciences and area studies in Britain. In the aftermath of World War II, government support for the study of Africa, and the Social Sciences more broadly, expanded. In 1944, Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden appointed the Interdepartmental Commission of Enquiry on Oriental, Slavonic, East European and African Studies to examine requirements for research into non-Western regions. The Commission’s Report noted ‘the special claims of Africa on the people of this country for an intelligent understanding of her problems’, and recommended that ‘an organized effort … be made over a period of years to establish oriental and African studies and to maintain them on a permanent basis in the higher education institutions of Great Britain’ (Foreign Office, 1947, pp. 161, 69). These recommendations were accepted, but it was not until the 1960s that significant government support for the expansion of African studies was provided. In 1959 the University Grants Committee appointed Sir William Hayter, former Diplomat to Russia, to review the requirements for research in Oriental, Slavonic, East European and African Studies, in light of the changing world order. The report’s recommendations were inspired by the Area Studies approach of the US (Hayter, 1961, 1975). Hayter’s Sub-Committee visited ten universities in the UK, as well as several universities in the US on a trip funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Hayter noted that ‘This visit had a powerful effect on our

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recommendations’ (Hayter, 1975, p. 169). The report recommended the expansion of the study of ‘the non-Western world’ beyond language departments and a classical focus to wider disciplines with a more modern focus, and the creation of six to eight ‘“area centres” on American lines’ (ibid., p. 171). If there is one feature which defined the attitude of Africanist scholarship from its colonial origins to its expansion from the 1950s, it was the determination to study and resolve Africa’s ‘problems’. The purpose of Boston’s new African Studies programme was to ‘provide graduate students with an opportunity for studying the basic problems of Africa in an integrated manner’ (African Studies Bulletin, 1958b, p. 7). Lord Bailey, at the opening of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for African Studies in 1963, urged attention to the ‘most dynamic problems of contemporary Africa’ (Little, 1963, p. 240). These directly echo Lord Hailey’s 1938 African Survey: A Study of Problems Arising in Africa South of the Sahara; while in 1923 Lord Lugard explained that the new International Institute of African Languages and Cultures: will be a co-ordinating agency, a central bureau and a clearing-house for information … It will make it possible for those who are working at a problem in isolation to learn more quickly and clearly than they might otherwise be able to do the kind of help and suggestion that they may obtain from those who are dealing with analogous problems in other parts of the Continent. (Lugard, 1928, p. 1) Francis Sutton, Ford Foundation’s officer in Nairobi, observed in 1965 that the ‘multiplication of Africanists in recent years has been so impressive that fears are sometimes expressed that they may run out of topics’ (Sutton, 1965, p. 301). The considerable efforts to establish a broad institutional infrastructure of African studies in the West, above all in the US, secured the dominance of Western scholarship about Africa even as these same organizations gave substantial support to the expansion of higher education in Africa. This dominance was considerably reinforced when many African universities suffered crisis from the 1980s (Zeleza, 1996; Mkandawire, 1997). The organizational construction of Africanist scholarship in the 1950s was dominated by White American and European scholars, a domination later explicitly challenged within the African Studies Association (ASA) by African and African-American scholars (Gershenhorn, 2009). The content of scholarship is of course not determined by its organizational infrastructures nor by the identity or nationality of scholars. While a number of


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prominent scholars were directly inserted in circuits of communication between universities, foundations and the government, many area specialists – scholars of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa – sought to distance themselves from government interests, explicitly criticizing US policy in these regions and establishing committees to sustain the critique. The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) Report on the Americas, the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars and the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) were established in 1967, 1968 and 1971 respectively; the Association of Concerned African Scholars (ACAS) was formed in 1978, especially to contest American policy towards Angola and apartheid South Africa (Wiley, 2012, pp. 148–9; see also the special issue of the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars (1997, 29 (1)). In the 1980s the resistance of US-based Africanists to complicity with state power was formalized when the directors of the twelve Title VI Africa National Resource Centres rejected an offer of funding from the Defence Intelligence Agency and resolved not to accept military or intelligence funding for African studies (Wiley, 2012, pp. 150–1). Thus the relationship between economic support, political interests and the content of academic knowledge about Africa or other regions cannot be assumed. Nevertheless, a significant outcome of the powerful construction of an Africanist scholarly enterprise during the twentieth century has been the enduring dominance of certain methodological orientations which continue to characterize much academic analysis of Africa. As Johannes Fabian noted in his critique of Anthropology, it is not powerful interests alone which invalidate knowledge; ‘for that to happen it takes bad epistemology’ (Fabian, 2002, p. 33). In addition to tracing overt articulations of political interest in the sphere of scholarship, it is the normalization of certain ways of knowing which requires attention.

The method of Africanist scholarship While not determining, the relationship between powerful interests and the content of knowledge was not insignificant. One of the clearest instances of the relationship between US geopolitical interests and the content, terminology and method of social inquiry is manifest in modernization theory. By the end of the 1950s – thanks not least to the efforts of the SSRC and the foundations – positivist methods and, more specifically, behaviouralism had been established as the dominant approach in Political Science and International Relations,

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and the study of non-Western regions was dominated by Comparative Politics (Seybold, 1980; Gilman, 2003, pp. 113–54). An emphasis on comparison was in itself not new: the European or Western production of knowledge about non-Western peoples had long been structured on a comparative basis of some form, since the cosmographies and early Anthropology of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Hodgen, 1964; Mudimbe, 1994). What was new was the reformulation of the comparative method on positivist ‘scientific’ grounds, understood as the quest for generalizable patterns and relationships between observable social and political variables. Modernization theory rested fundamentally on the notion that with political independence, traditional societies were emerging from colonial rule into the modern world. Developed mainly in the US by scholars in several fields in the 1950s and 1960s, modernization theory remained for many years the dominant lens through which to examine social, political and economic conditions and processes in Africa and other non-Western regions. American strategic interests in regions of Europe’s former colonies were shaped by the imperatives of an expansionary capitalist economy and political, ideological and economic rivalry with the Soviet Union. This informed concerns that newly independent states would remain politically stable and friendly towards the West, allowing continued access to raw materials including strategic minerals, to existing and potential military bases and strategic air and sea routes, and to existing and potential markets. The fear was of instability, revolutionary change, and a turn to the left. The conditions of ‘economic underdevelopment’ were seen as constituting a potential basis of vulnerability to the overtures of the expansionist Soviet Union (Gilman, 2003). The overriding policy concern was to secure an orderly and stable process of gradual political, social and economic change pursing a capitalist path, supportive of international capitalist interests, and led by a moderate or conservative elite. This was formulated intellectually in terms of the transition from tradition to modernity via the process of political, economic and social modernization and development (Gendzier, 1985). A number of leading modernization theorists were closely inserted into networks of policy- and decisionmaking in government and the foundations (and a few with links to the CIA) (Gilman, 2003; Cumings, 2002). Modernization theory went far beyond the outlook or roles of such scholars, however; across the disciplines of Area studies, Development Studies, Comparative Politics, Economics, and International Relations it constituted the dominant


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approach to the ‘problems’ of ‘development’ in newly independent states at least until the mid 1970s and the challenge of dependency theory. Born thus into the geopolitical context of the Cold War and the epistemological context of modernization theory, behaviouralism and positivist comparative politics, early Africanist scholarship focused on questions of political transition and instability, nationalism, political parties, leadership, the role of elites – all understood essentially in terms of the problems and perils of static traditional societies experiencing rapid change as they embarked on the transitional process of modernization. Zolberg, for example, began his analysis of nationalism in the ‘new state’ of Côte d’Ivoire by observing: the appearance of a bevy of new actors has deeply altered the nature of the international political system. How will they act on the international stage? How can they be influenced to behave in a manner compatible with Western interests? Faced with unusual problems, political decision-makers in the West have often turned to students of politics to obtain some guidance. (Zolberg, 1963, p. 36; emphasis added) And he summarized the importance of this new area of inquiry: ‘the juridical birth of the new States is significant mainly because it provides the institutional cocoon in which the metamorphosis of traditional societies into modern nations has begun to occur’ (Zolberg, 1963, p. 36). In a similar vein, Coleman saw in the emergence of nationalism ‘the awakening of the African to political consciousness’ (Coleman, 1954, p. 404), while Jackson and Rosberg considered the ‘paradox of African independence that it awakened both national and ethnic political awareness’ (Jackson and Rosberg, 1982, p. 15). The study of Africa within and across diverse disciplines has expanded dramatically since the early days of Africanism. Yet there is one approach which both manifests the essence of Africanist scholarship and demonstrates its ongoing influence on the production of academic knowledge about Africa today: the notion of neo-patrimonialism. The concepts of patrimonialism and neo-patrimonialism sit at the centre of an extended family of concepts related by shared assumptions, method, content and style. Close relations include clientelism, the concept of the ‘big man’ or ‘strong man’ in African politics, personal rule, and prebendalism. The notions of patrimonial and neo-patrimonial rule were developed in the 1960s and 1970s, specifically with regard to Africa but also

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applied to other non-Western regions. This discourse drew inspiration from Weber’s concept of patrimonialism, one of three distinct types of political domination – charismatic, patrimonial, and bureaucratic-legal – set out in the context of his attempt to develop a general sociological theory and to account for the rise of the West. Weber’s massive volume Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, published in 1922, was only fully published in English in 1968, with the title Economy and Society. Weber conceived of patrimonial rule as a mode of domination developed on the basis of patriarchal forms but elaborated on a larger scale (Weber, 1922, pp. 1006–69). Over many pages Weber dissected the attributes of patrimonial regimes, consistently contrasting patrimonial rule with the modern bureaucratic-legal form that he saw as characterizing power in Western European societies. The entire account essentially constituted an elaboration of the differences between the traditional and the modern: while bureaucratic-legal power is based on the official’s ‘commitment to an impersonal purpose’ and obedience to ‘abstract norms’ which ‘are established rationally, appeal to the sense of abstract legality, and presuppose technical training’, patrimonial domination is rooted in relations of personal loyalty and ‘the sanctity of tradition’ – ‘the belief in the inviolability of that which has existed from time out of mind’ (ibid., pp. 1006, 1008). Initially, Africanist and other Area scholars turned to the notion of charisma in their analyses of politics in ‘new’ and ‘developing’ states, but in 1968 the German scholar Guenther Roth published an article in World Politics arguing that in dwelling on the notion of charismatic leaders this approach had overlooked the breadth of Weber’s scholarship and, in particular, the utility of the patrimonial ‘type’ (Roth, 1968). Patrimonial politics, Roth argued, involved processes of influence and distribution of material incentives and rewards on the basis of personal relations. Roth noted that this form of ‘personal rule’ endures in modern Western societies, but is especially characteristic of ‘new states’ such as those in Africa and Asia. These ‘new states’, at an earlier stage of the nationbuilding process, he argued, are characterized by fragmented and diverse social and cultural conditions, and so a patrimonial form of politics where power, political allegiance and personal loyalty are sustained by means of material reward is highly suited to such conditions. Other Africanists produced similar analyses, proposing a variety of frameworks and typologies to make sense of social and political dynamics in the ‘new states’. René Lemarchand proposed the concept of clientelism, denoting a practice of forming ties of loyalty between individuals of unequal power – patrons and clients. Ties of loyalty would extend to


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all areas of social life and constitute an informal, ‘shadowy’ system of political allegiances based on personal loyalties. These patrimonial and other political connections of ‘clientelism’, argued Lemarchand, ‘may be said to have guided social and political relationships in traditional Africa’ (Lemarchand, 1972, p. 72). Shmuel Eisenstadt coined the term neo-patrimonialism, to denote contemporary political forms which combined both ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ features (Eisenstadt, 1972). Jean-François Médard drew on Eisenstadt’s work to propose an analysis of the post-colonial African state as neo-patrimonial, in which the rational logics of modern bureaucracy introduced under colonial rule had been grafted onto traditional pre-colonial relations, practices and cultures of politics, resulting in the neo-patrimonial hybrid. The endurance of traditional cultures of primordial identity characteristic of African pre-colonial societies, Médard argued, meant that bureaucratic institutions functioned not according to modern rational norms but to the traditional affective ties of tribalism and personal loyalty (Médard, 1982, 1990). Other prominent French Africanists developed the idea of neo-patrimonialism, including Lemarchand, Jean-François Bayart, and Patrick Chabal. This was complemented by the work of American and British Africanists such as Robert Jackson and Carl Rosberg, Thomas Callaghy, Nicholas Van der Walle and Michael Bratton, Victor Le Vine and Christopher Clapham. Today neo-patrimonialism remains central to western scholarship in Political Science and International Relations about Africa (for example, Bach and Gazibo, 2012; Taylor, 2010). Diverse aspects of Africa’s contemporary condition are attributed to the prevalence of neo-patrimonialism. Neo-patrimonialism occupies a central place in courses on African politics in European and North American universities, in textbooks on African politics (Hyden, 2012; Thomson, 2010; Moss, 2007), and in policy research undertaken by development organizations, consultants and academics (Brinkerhoff and Goldsmith, 2002; Cammack, 2007). This approach to the theoretical analysis of conditions and processes in Africa, with a primary focus on politics but extending more widely to encompass virtually all aspects of Africa’s post-colonial condition, encapsulates the inherent methodological flaws of the Africanist approach. It rests essentially on a profound theoretical and substantive mischaracterization of both Africa’s pre-colonial political structures and practices, and the character and legacy of colonial rule. This can be summarized in three fundamental errors. First, in accepting the notion of neo-patrimonialism Africanists have assumed that Weber’s ‘ideal type’ of patrimonialism constitutes

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a valid characterization of Africa’s pre-colonial forms of political rule. Second, Africanists have assumed that Weber’s notion of bureaucratic-legal rule correctly characterizes the institutions and practices brought to Africa by European colonial rule. Third, Africanists have assumed that colonialism involved the unchanged reproduction of the pre-colonial or traditional alongside the introduction of these new, modern institutions. To say the least, the ready subsumption of a continent’s political history under Weber’s ‘ideal type’ denies the enormous diversity of institutional forms and practices which existed across Africa at the time of colonial conquest at the end of the nineteenth century. African polities are placed in a static realm of tradition outside of world history, a move which denies both the specificity and diversity of actual political orders and any notion of broader regional and global processes and relations within which these social and political orders existed in dynamic historical relationships. The incorporation of African polities into the colonial state did not entail the continued and unchanged reproduction of previously existing forms. Olúfémi Táíwò has adopted the notion of ‘sociocryonics’ to characterize the legacy of colonial rule in Africa: an intervention which secured the ‘frozen preservation of outmoded and moribund social forms’ (Táíwò, 2010, p. 80). However, as Mahmood Mamdani has documented, the incorporation of existing political institutions into the colonial state entailed the preserving and consolidation of only certain attributes. The colonial state maintained and strengthened only the centralized and authoritarian elements of existing political institutions where they existed, while deliberately rejecting other structures and practices designed to enable shared participation in decision-making and popular restraint of centralized power (Mamdani, 1996, pp. 37–61). Thus, ‘once European administrators adopted sociocryonics as colonial policy, African progress was arrested in the name of preserving (the cryonic moment) what they, the rulers, decided was the African way of being human’ (Táíwò, 2010, p. 11). The new forms of political relation and practice introduced by European colonial rule were invariably authoritarian and backed up by violence, with powers fused in the despotic figure of the village, district or regional administrative ‘chief’, a feature in most cases entirely contradictory to previous practices (Mamdani, 1996). Institutions of colonial rule introduced by governors such as Lugard and Angoulvant bore little relation to the abstract norms of rationality and justice described in Weber’s ‘ideal type’ of modern legal-


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bureaucratic rule (Táíwò, 1999; Mann, 2009). As Chakrabarty observes, the European colonizer ‘preached this Enlightenment humanism at the colonized and at the same time denied it in practice’ (Chakrabarty, 2000, p. 4). Africanist scholars have noted despotic, arbitrary and violent rule and the centralization of powers in the figure of the ruler as defining features of postcolonial authoritarian regimes in Africa. They have understood these features to be inherited directly from pre-colonial political traditions, while the modern legal and rational modes of practice introduced under colonial rule failed to take root and exist only as a shallow façade. In doing so they have unquestioningly accepted what the colonial administrators decided was the African way of being human. In fact it was precisely the features of fused, arbitrary and unaccountable power backed up by routine violence which most clearly characterized the general system of colonial rule (Mbembe, 2001; Suret-Canale, 1971; Falola, 2009). The general framework of modernization theory and comparative politics and the more specific analysis of neo-patrimonialism presuppose a specific philosophy of history. This is a philosophy of history which positions African societies in a time separate from and prior to that of Europe or the West. As we have seen, this was rendered explicit in early Africanist scholarship which understood African peoples to have recently awoken from the realm of static tradition into the dynamism of the modern world. The language of modernization and development articulates this trajectory in apparently ahistorical, descriptive terms which nevertheless clearly denote a path of progress already trodden by the West, and which Africa has yet to complete. In other analyses, earlier phases of European history serve as models to understand Africa’s present. Callaghy turned to seventeenth-century France in order to analyze what he termed the early modern, neo-traditional, patrimonial and absolutist state in postcolonial Zaire (Callaghy, 1984); while Richard Sklar turned to medieval Europe, ‘an epoch in transition between ancient and modern forms of mixed government’, to comprehend contemporary African politics (Sklar, 1993, p. 86). Dipesh Chakrabarty has characterized this ‘first in the West, and then elsewhere’ philosophy of history, an understanding of Modernity as emerging first within Europe and then gradually spreading to the rest of the world, as historicism. Historicism is a mode of thought which has structured Western knowledge about the world since at least the eighteenth century (Meek, 1976), and has been deeply tied to the practice of colonial rule: ‘Historicism enabled European domination of the world in the nineteenth century … historicism … came to non-European

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peoples in the nineteenth century as somebody’s way of saying “not yet” to somebody else’ (Chakrabarty, 2000, pp. 7–8). Africanist scholarship, born under colonial rule and maturing under American post-war hegemony, inherited this same historicist consciousness but expressed with a new vocabulary, replacing primitive with traditional, civilizing with modernizing. With regard to Africa in particular, the historicist mode constitutes an enduring form of racialized thought – forms of conceptualization, theorization and analysis which position societies and peoples on a linear trajectory of time, and a vertical hierarchy of superiority and inferiority, differentiated by cultural, racial or other forms of distance (Grovogui, 2001). This is manifest in both the style and the explanatory content of Africanist scholarship. In terms of style much Africanist scholarship pathologizes its object of inquiry, characterizing African politics, culture and practice as essentially corrupt, flawed or inadequate. African states are seen as not only further behind, but as failing, as essentially lacking the capacity for modern governance, rule, statehood, development and progress. This is most explicit in the recent discourse of ‘failed states’ but pervades Africanist scholarship quite broadly. The expressed pathologization is reinforced at the level of explanation. A corollary of historicism is what Johannes Fabian termed the denial of coevalness: the examination of conditions, processes and features ‘internal’ to another society as if it existed in a separate historical time from that of the observer. Discussing the method of Anthropology, Fabian demonstrates the ‘persistent and systematic tendency to place the referent(s) of Anthropology in a Time other than the present of the producer of anthropological discourse’ (Fabian, 2002, p. 31). This prevents critical examination of the concurrent relationships between the West and the rest, both past and present. The historicist method of Africanist analyses prevents a critical focus on the past and the external or extended relations of contemporary conditions and processes in Africa. The character and legacy of colonialism and, before that, three centuries of slave trade, as well as the ongoing role of international forces and interventions in the structuring and constitution of the post-colonial present, are generally overlooked or mischaracterized. This internalist form of analysis issues in a racialized understanding: the implication is that current conditions of sociopolitical and economic crisis in Africa are essentially African in origin, due to an African culture, style of politics, practice of economy, and mode of social interaction.


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Conclusion The academic study of Africa today cannot be reduced to the field of Africanist scholarship. Nevertheless the influence of this scholarship is manifest in the very broad acceptance of the notion of neopatrimonialism as a suitable characterization of African politics, and in the widespread and easy acceptance of the terminology of ‘failed’ and ‘fragile’ states by many far beyond the mainstream. The vocabularies of neo-patrimonialism and state failure have acquired a status of common sense among many scholars studying Africa, both critical and mainstream. This betrays the far-reaching methodological influence of an approach and attitude which looks at Africa from a distance, seeking to produce expert scientific analyses of African ‘problems’ in order to inform externally generated solutions. This chapter has traced the origins of such a conception and practice of knowledge to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when social research began to be organized specifically to inform colonial rule in Africa. The main disciplinary locus of Africanism has shifted from Anthropology to Political Science and International Relations. The rationale of Africanist research has oscillated between Harry Johnston’s frank identification of the relationship between knowledge, political rule and commercial interests, and the philanthropic discourse of first Lugard and then the American foundations, producing knowledge to inform those ‘working for the good of Africa’, and for the promotion of ‘development and international order’. At the time of the establishment of post-war Africanist scholarly networks in the 1950s, European colonial officials and American government officials and advisers were explicit in their doubts regarding the capacity of African people to govern themselves, viewing African peoples as backward and primitive (Nwaubani, 2001; Borstelmann, 2001; Meriwether, 2006). Such explicitly racist views are no longer expressed. Yet the notion of a lack of capacity to govern well or properly endures, implied in the international policy discourse of ‘good governance’ and ‘state failure’ and reproduced via the methodological features of mainstream Africanist scholarship, which continues to dwell mainly or exclusively on internal aspects of African ‘tradition’, culture and behaviour as the causes of socioeconomic and political crises. Africanists essentially attribute the causes of authoritarian rule, corruption, political violence, conflict and economic crisis to a too-hasty decolonization (Hyden, 2012; Kreijen, 2004). Robert Jackson considers that

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Chad was a failure of statehood almost from the time of independence in 1960. Sudan has been largely a failure since the British departed in 1956. ‘Failed States’ are a consequence of the end of empire. They are a price of unrestricted self-determination of former – usually colonial – dependencies (Jackson, 1998, p. 3), while Goran Hyden finds the central cause of Africa’s current political and economic malaise in the ‘still untamed nature’ of African politics (Hyden, 2012, p. 1). The historicist consciousness of the nineteenth century told the colonized to wait, warning ‘not yet’ (Chakrabarty, 2000, p. 8). In a loud echo, the Africanist consciousness of today laments the passing of colonial rule – ‘Too soon, too fast!’

Notes 1. My focus is mainstream Africanist scholarship. Critics have rightly underlined that the academic study of Africa in the US began much earlier in the scholarship and activities of African-Americans, which was then marginalized with the birth of Africanist area studies in the 1950s (West and Martin, 1999; Zeleza, 1997; Robinson, 2007). 2. This chapter focuses mainly on Britain and America but attempts to situate these strands of scholarship more broadly. 3. Renamed African Affairs – Journal of the Royal African Society in 1944.

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Hauptmann, E. (2012) ‘The Ford Foundation and the Rise of Behavioralism in Political Science’, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 48 (2), 154–73. Hayter, W. (1961) Report of the Sub-Committee on Oriental, Slavonic, East European and African Studies (London: University Grants Committee and HMSO). Hayter, W. (1975) ‘The Hayter Report and After’, Oxford Review of Education, 1 (2), 169–72. Hodgen, M. T. (1964) Early Anthropology in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press). Howe, B. (1980) ‘The Emergence of Scientific Philanthropy, 1900–1920’ in R. Arnove (ed.) Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism: The Foundations at Home and Abroad (Boston: G. K. Hall). Hyden, G. (2012) African Politics in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Jackson, R. H. (1998) Surrogate Sovereignty? Great Power Responsibility and ‘Failed States’ (Vancouver: Institute of International Relations, University of British Columbia) [working paper 25]. Jackson, R. H. and C. G. Rosberg (1982) ‘Why Africa’s Weak States Persist: The Empirical and the Juridical in Statehood’, World Politics, 35 (1), 1–24. Johnston, H. H. (1901) ‘Notes on African Subjects of Special Interest for Future Investigation’, Journal of the Royal African Society, 1 (1), 1–-22. Johnston, H. H. (1921) ‘Sir Harry Johnston’s Address on Retirement from the Presidency’, Journal of the Royal African Society, 20 (78), 83–8. Kreijen, G. (2004) State Failure, Sovereignty and Effectiveness: Legal Lessons from the Decolonization of Sub-Saharan Africa (Leiden: Brill/Martinus Nijhoff). Lemarchand, R. (1972) ‘Political Clientelism and Ethnicity in Tropical Africa: Competing Solidarities in Nation-Building’, American Political Science Review, 66 (1), 68–90. Little, K. (1963) ‘Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 1 (2), 239–40. Lugard, F. J. D. (1928) ‘The International Institute of African Languages and Cultures’, Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, 1 (1), 1–12. Mamdani, M. (1996) Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). Mann, G. (2009) ‘What Was the Indigénat? The “Empire of Law” in French West Africa’, Journal of African History, 50, 331–53. Mbembe, A. (2001) On the Postcolony (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press). Médard, J-F. (1982) ‘The Underdeveloped State in Africa: Political Clientelism or Neo-Patrimonialism?’ in C. Clapham (ed.) Private Patronage and Public Power: Political Clientelism in the Modern State (London: Frances Pinter). Médard, J-F. (1990) ‘L’etat Patrimonialise’, Politique Africaine, 39, 25–36. Meek, R. L. (1976) Social Science and the Ignoble Savage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Meriwether, J. H. (2006) ‘“A Torrent Overrunning Everything”: Africa and the Eisenhower Administration’ in K. C. Statler and A. L. Johns (eds) The Eisenhower Administration, the Third World, and the Globalization of the Cold War (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield).


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Mills, D. (2002) ‘British Anthropology at the End of Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Colonial Social Science Research Council, 1944–1962’, Revue d’Histoire des Sciences Humaines, 6, 161–88. Mkandawire, T. (1997) ‘The Social Sciences in Africa: Breaking Local Barriers and Negotiating International Presence’, African Studies Review, 40 (2), 15–36. Moss, T. (2007) African Development: Making Sense of the Issues and Actors (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner). Mudimbe, V. Y. (1994) The Idea of Africa (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press). Nwaubani, C. (2001) The United States and Decolonization in West Africa, 1950–1960 (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press). Parmar, I. (2002) ‘American Foundations and the Development of International Knowledge Networks’, Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs, 2 (1), 13–30. Parmar, I. (2012) Foundations of the American Century: Carnegie, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and Us Foreign Affairs, 1920–2005 (New York: Columbia University Press). Phillips, C. H. (1967) The School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, 1917–1967: An Introduction (London: University School of Oriental & African Studies). Robinson, P. T. (2007) ‘Area Studies in Search of Africa: The Case of the United States’ in P. T. Zeleza (ed.) The Study of Africa, Vol. 2: Global and Transnational Engagements (Dakar: CODESRIA). Roth, G. (1968) ‘Personal Rulership, Patrimonialism, and Empire-Building in the New States’, World Politics, 20, 194–206. Salamone, F. (2000) ‘The International African Institute: The Rockefeller Foundation and the Development of British Social Anthropology in Africa’, Transforming Anthropology, 9 (1), 19–29. Seybold, P. J. (1980) ‘The Ford Foundation and the Triumph of Behaviouralism in American Political Science’ in R. Arnove (ed.) Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism: The Foundations at Home and Abroad (Boston: G. K. Hall). Sklar, R. I. (1993) ‘The African Frontier for Political Science’ in R. H. Bates, V. Y. Mudimbe and J. F. O’Barr (eds) Africa and the Disciplines: The Contributions of Research in Africa to the Social Sciences and Humanities (Chicago, IL: University Of Chicago Press). Social Science Research Council (SSRC) (1943) World Regions in the Social Sciences: Report of a Committee of the Social Science Research Council (New York: SSRC, Committee on World Regions). Suret-Canale, J. (1971) French Colonialism in Tropical Africa, 1900–1945 (London: Hurst). Sutton, F. X. (1960) ‘The Ford Foundation’s Development Program in Africa’, African Studies Bulletin, 3 (4), 1–7. Sutton, F. X. (1965) ‘Review of Political Parties in French-Speaking West Africa by Ruth Schachter Morgenthau’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 3 (2), 299–301. Sutton, F. X. and D. R. Smock (1976) ‘The Ford Foundation and African Studies’, Issue: A Journal of Opinion, 6 (2/3), 68–72. Táíwò, O. (1999) ‘Reading the Colonizer’s Mind: Lord Lugard and the Philosophical Foundations of British Colonialism’ in S. E. Babbitt and S. Campbell (eds) Racism and Philosophy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).

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8 Scientific Colonialism: The Eurocentric Approach to Colonialism Sandew Hira

Introduction A distinctive feature in the rise of colonialism was the transformation of knowledge production from Theology to science. Knowledge production went from an exercise in search for the truth in the Holy Script to a discovery of the laws of nature and society and man’s ability to understand these laws. But when it comes to understanding the ‘laws’ that govern human societies a new problem arises: is knowledge production a matter of searching for the truth or preventing the truth from being discovered? This question becomes relevant when science tries to deal with colonialism and tries to understand the nature of that peculiar system. Is knowledge production regarding colonialism science or ideology? Is it a discovery into the nature of social development or an attempt to prevent such a discovery? In this chapter, I argue that a major school in Social Sciences in the study of colonialism is to be regarded as ideology rather than science. Almost 60 years after the start of the invasion of the Americas by Spanish barbarians, King Charles V organized a debate between two theologians from the School of Salamanca, Bartolomé de Las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, on the question of how the Spanish Empire should deal with the Indigenous people of the Americas. In 1492 the barbarian Christopher Columbus had opened the gate of colonialism for Europeans. The Spaniards had committed all kind of atrocities to the Indigenous people. Las Casas was an eye-witness and a chronicler 136

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of these cruelties. In 1550 the King had set up a Junta in the city of Valladolid to decide on the matter after hearing the arguments of both theologians. Grosfoguel and Mielants (2006) sum up the positions: Sepúlveda argued that Indigenous people had no soul and therefore were not humans and could be enslaved without representing a sin in the eyes of God … While Las Casas argued that they were savages with a soul, that is culturally inferior, childlike but ultimately humans to be Christianized rather than enslaved. (pp. 3–4) There are three elements in the debate that need further elaboration: knowledge production in Europe, the concept of the ‘other’ in Western intellectual thought, and the absence of the view from the ‘other’. The main aim of this chapter is to engage with these crucial elements.

Knowledge production The criterion for deciding on the nature of the ‘creatures’ that the Spanish barbarians encountered in the Americas was not based on scientific knowledge, but on Theology. The difference is that scientific knowledge is based on gathering data and developing a theoretical and intellectual framework to understand and explain these data, while Theology is based on applying the concepts laid down in the Holy Script to determine (not to understand or explain) the attitude towards a particular phenomenon. In the debate of Valladolid the framework deployed was theology. That is why the criterion at the centre of the debate was the question of ‘soul’ and the ‘concept of God’. Not science but ‘belief’ in the truth of the Bible was the issue. Las Casas interpreted his experience in the America’s with the Indigenous people from his belief that they were human beings, although inferior to the Spanish. Sepúlveda believed that they were creatures without a soul, like animals. In fact, Las Casas also held this belief for the Africans, but not for the Indigenous people of the Americas. That is how Las Casas argued his case for the enslavement of Africans. In the sixteenth century, Spain and Portugal were the main colonial powers. From the seventeenth century, England, France and the Netherlands became their fiercest competitors. In that process, there was also a shift in knowledge production: the White Enlightenment replaced theology as the source of knowledge production through scientific research. A new stream of philosophers helped to create an


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intellectual framework to produce knowledge based on reason. The theological discourse on the Iberian Peninsula was transformed in a scientific discourse in Western Europe. Descartes’ dictum ‘I think therefore I am’ signified that knowledge production was not based on religious belief, but on reason. However, the application of reason to an understanding of race relations has not led to the production of scientific knowledge but of racist ideology.

The concept of the ‘other’ The Valladolid debate had put a mark on the relationship between Europeans and non-Europeans that would determine race relations for the next five centuries. Maldonado-Torres (2008, p. 13) states that ‘the idea that the Indigenous were like a tabula rasa without subjectivity, and that they were to be viewed as merely another interesting element among the flora and fauna “discovered” in the New World, gave rise to the question of whether or not Indigenous people had souls’ (cited in Grosfoguel and Mielants, 2006, p. 2) introduce the concept of ‘otherness’ to explain the basic form of discrimination: ‘The first marker of “otherness” in the “European/Euro-American ChristianCentric Capitalist/Patriarchal World-System” was around “religious identity”’ (Grosfoguel and Mielants, 2006, p. 2). Within the theological framework the concept of the ‘Other’ – the non-European – was based on having a soul, a religious concept. The Eurocentric scientific framework of the White Enlightenment did not get rid of the concept of the ‘Other’, but changed the argument. It was not about soul, but about race. Maduka Eniymba (nd) has collected material from different philosophers of the White Enlightenment that shows how European thinkers (for example, Hume, Kant, Hegel) had a concept of Africans as human beings who were inferior to White Europeans. The ‘Other’ as an inferior creature was then argued with a ‘scientific’ notion of classification of human beings. The classification was based on racial traits, as it was common in the Natural Sciences: skin colour, hair texture or physical appearances. In the last four centuries, the dominant feature of the idea of ‘Other’ continues to be based on race. That is why now we are using racism as a general concept for Eurocentric discrimination of the non-European people. But it is a general notion of the ‘Other’, the non-European, as a creature of inferior nature compared to the European. We might conceptualize the theological argument as ‘theological racism’ and the ‘scientific’ argument as ‘biological racism’. In the first case the argument

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of inferiority of the other is based on a theological concept about soul. In the second case it is based on biological traits. In the case where the argument is based on measuring these physical traits the term ‘scientific racism’ is used. How did the transformation take place from theological racism to biological racism? Grosfoguel argues that this is linked to the changing nature of the authority of knowledge production (Hira, 2013, part 1). In the early stages of colonialism the authority of knowledge production was theology. With the rise of White Enlightenment this authority shifts to science. Two elements need to be added to this argument. The first element is evolution of science. In the seventeenth to the early nineteenth century, science was predominantly Natural Sciences with Philosophy as the cornerstone of epistemology. The natural sciences tried to find answers on the laws of nature; hence, race relations were seen through the spectre of the natural sciences. At the end of the nineteenth century and in the course of the twentieth century, Social Sciences brought in another element: the social laws that govern society. The inferiority of the ‘Other’ is then argued from the concept of ‘inferior’ cultures. Non-Western cultures and societies are seen as inferior. In Marxist analysis (for example, Dunn, 1982; Hindess and Hirst, 1975), the capitalist mode of production in Europe is seen as the highest stage of social development. In cultural Anthropology (for example, Doda, 2005, pp. 39–40), non-Western societies are analyzed in terms of earlier stages of development of human development, with European societies at the top of human social development. The second element is the transformation of science into ideology. Where science tries to discover the truth or dismantle lies, ideology deliberately tries to hide the truth and create a view that is not based on what the reality is (whatever the epistemological view of reality might be) but that creates a false reality. There are disputable issues here: what is truth, what is reality, and so on. But the point I want to make is that science tries to find an answer to the question of what reality is, while ideology tries to find an answer on how to mask the reality, which by the way can only be done by telling lies. This transformation is most clear in the conception of the ‘Other’. Erickson (1993) has collected images of Black people in visual arts in Europe before the eighteenth century. He notes a dramatic shift from Blacks being portrayed as normal human beings before the eighteenth century and thereafter. Table 8.1 helps to explain this shift. The table shows the number of Africans deported from Africa during the Transatlantic Slave Trade across time. It demonstrates that the change in the European image of Blacks came about with the


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rise of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. More interesting is the fact that the rise of White Enlightenment took place in the period of the rise and not the demise of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Table 8.1 Number of enslaved Africans deported from Africa during the Transatlantic Slave Trade Period 1500–1600 1601–1700 1701–1800 1801–1866 Total

Deported 277,506 1,875,631 6,494,618 3,873,580 12,521,335

Source: Slavevoyages (2006).

And this brings us to the question of the relationship between science and ideology. How is it possible that European intellectuals from the Enlightenment could develop scientific activities as an ultimate expression of human freedom while at the same time Europe was committing a crime against humanity in the colonies and ruthlessly crushing the freedom of others? The irony is that this is not a contradiction, but quite consistent with the role of science in Europe. In regard to colonialism, the role of the scientist changes from researchers of the truth to defenders of the status quo. That is the context of the rise of science in Europe during White Enlightenment. The defence of slavery in the colonies by European intellectuals was to be found in the numerous books and articles that describe the colonies. On a theoretical level, there is the attempt by Arthur de Gobineau to present a classification in which the Negro is ‘the lowest, and stands at the foot of the ladder’, the yellow man ‘tends to mediocrity in everything’ and the White man is ‘gifted with reflective energy, or rather with an energetic intelligence … [with an] immense superiority … in the whole field of the intellect’ (1915 [1853–55], pp. 205–7). A similar attempt was made by Immanuel Kant (1775) who distinguished four classes of the human race: Whites, Blacks, Kalmuck and Hindustanic. Of course, in his classification Whites are superior to the rest. After the abolition of slavery and the continuous rule of colonialism in adapted forms we see the rise of scientific racism in European thinking: the use of pseudo-scientific techniques, especially in physical Anthropology, to demonstrate the superiority of Whites and the inferiority of non-Whites.

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In the course of 500 years there is both change and continuity in European intellectual thinking regarding the ‘Other’. The continuity lies in the notion of linking superiority/inferiority to Whites/‘Other’. The changes are found in the way this notion is expressed. In the fifteenth century the concept of the ‘Other’ found its expression in theological racism. Between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries it was expressed in biological racism and rooted in the rise of natural sciences. At the end of the twentieth century the notion of superiority/ inferiority is expressed in cultural racism and rooted in the rise of Social Sciences. Grosfoguel (2010, p. 33) explains how Social Sciences expresses racism in a cultural form in which Western-Christian culture is regarded as superior to non-Western cultures, more specifically Islamic cultures. He points out how in the analysis of Max Weber ‘it is only the Christian tradition that gives rise to economic rationalism and, thus, to Western modern capitalism. Islam cannot compare to the “superiority” of Western values in that it lacks individuality, rationality and science’. The expression of the notion of the inferiority of the ‘Other’ in regard to Western man is now argued in terms of culture, not race. As Grosfoguel (2010) explains, cultural racism was rooted in European intellectual traditions dating from the nineteenth century. But it gained political prominence with the rise of the extreme right in the new multicultural societies of Europe as a reaction to a new generation of immigrants demanding full equal rights in Europe (Hira, 2012a).

The absence of the view from the ‘other’ In the whole debate in Valladolid, the view of the ‘Other’ was absent. That is typical for the European discourse on race relations. The view of the other does not matter. The reality of race relations from a Eurocentric viewpoint can be analyzed without taking into account what the views of the ‘other’ are. But there was another view. The ‘Others’ did have ideas and opinions about the relationship with the Europeans. Sometimes we get a glimpse of these ideas in reports made up by the Europeans, such as in the story of Hatuey. Hatuey was a Taino chief in the island of Hispaniola (now the Dominican Republic) who escaped to Cuba with 400 men, women and children to warn the Cubans what to expect from the Spaniards, against whom he tried to organize a guerrilla war. He showed the Cubans a basket full of gold and jewels.


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‘Here is the God the Spaniards worship’, he said, ‘for these they fight and kill; for these they persecute us and that is why we have to throw them into the sea … They tell us, these tyrants, that they adore a God of peace and equality, and yet they usurp our land and make us their slaves. They speak to us of an immortal soul and of their eternal rewards and punishments, and yet they rob our belongings, seduce our women, violate our daughters. Incapable of matching us in valor, these cowards cover themselves with iron that our weapons cannot break …’ (Sierra 2010, p. 1) The analysis of Hatuey was sharp: he did not talk about the discovery of the Americas but about the invasion of the Spaniards. According to him, their motive was not ideas but greed. Their acts were not moral, but barbaric. They were not heroes, but cowards. In Hatuey’s view there was no legitimacy at all in the conquest of the Americas. Las Casas wrote about Hatuey in his accounts on the Spanish conquest, but it was never part of the debate of Valladolid, nor of the discussion during the Enlightenment in Europe. That is why I term the European Enlightenment as the ‘White Enlightenment’. It was the not the product of universal scientific thought, but of a Eurocentric ideology that aims to cover up Europe’s crimes against humanity. While scores of Black thinkers have followed in the footsteps of Hatuey (Lewis, 2008), they were not recognized in Eurocentric academic circles as legitimate thinkers in regard to the analysis of colonialism.

Two schools: scientific colonialism and decolonizing the mind After World War II and with the demise of colonialism in the second half of the twentieth century a new and large body of European literature has developed on slavery and colonialism. On the surface, the subject seems to be related to History. But as Stephen Small explains in the case of Holland, it is not only about the past, it is about the living legacy of that past: The legacy is evident in how Dutch attitudes towards the colonies have been shaped and influenced … Racist ideas were institutionalized and legalized in politics, economics and society in the colonies; and ideas of race were the basis of sovereignty, national identity and society right here in the Netherlands itself … These attitudes continued long after legal slavery ended – on the one hand, a sense of superiority; and on the other hand, a sense of self-doubt, self-hatred

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and even ‘mental slavery’ among so many of the descendants of the enslaved. (2012, pp. 7–8) There are two distinct schools in the analysis of Dutch colonialism (Hira, 2012b). The basic dividing line between the schools is the way in which they portray colonialism in terms of its legitimacy. The first school describes and analyzes colonialism as a legitimate system. I have named this school ‘Scientific Colonialism’ (SC). The second school describes and analyzes colonialism as an illegitimate system, more specifically as a crime with criminals and victims. This is what I call the school of ‘Decolonizing The Mind’ (DTM). In SC colonialism is seen as a legitimate, normal and justifiable system. In DTM colonialism is seen as an illegitimate system of oppression and exploitation. A guy from Liverpool has no legitimate right to go to Africa to kidnap human beings and enslave them. Nor does he have any right to conquer, possess and rule a country like India, 8,000 kilometres away from England. In SC these are natural processes perfectly justifiable because that is how things were in the past and we should accept it, including its legacy. In the next section I will explain the differences between the two schools. In a certain sense they are the continuation of two views on colonialism that have been established since 1492 and the debate of Valladolid.

The methodological approach Descriptive versus analytical Many studies from the school of SC have two characteristics that are closely linked together. The first is their descriptive nature with suggestive propositions concerning the nature of colonialism. The second characteristic is that they contain implicit moral values. In contrast the studies from DTM are analytical. In descriptive research, the central question is: ‘What happened?’ In analytical studies the central question is: ‘Why did it happen?’ There are countless studies on the history of colonialism describing what happened: the Indigenous people living in the coastal areas before the European arrived; the Europeans arriving and setting up settlements as the base for colonization; the import of enslaved African human beings; the production of agricultural products, the structure of the society of enslaved people, the abolition of slavery; the influx of indentured labourers; the rise of the small peasantry; the social unrest in the era after abolition of slavery; the policy of the governors; and so on (Hira, 2012c).


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

Implicit versus explicit propositions These studies seldom pose the ‘why’ question explicitly. But implicitly they do contain suggestions to the ‘why’ questions. Two examples: UÊ 7…ÞÊ`ˆ`Ê̅iÊ ÕÀœ«i>˜ÃÊVœ“iÊ̜Ê̅iÊ“iÀˆV>öÊ“«ˆVˆÌÊ>˜ÃÜiÀ\Ê not greed, but adventurism and the wish to engage in scientific discoveries (for example, Columbus, the Discoverer). UÊ 7…ÞÊÜiÀiÊvÀˆV>˜ÃÊLÀœÕ}…ÌÊ̜Ê̅iÊ“iÀˆV>öÊ“«ˆVˆÌÊ>˜ÃÜiÀ\ʘœÌÊ a conscious act of crime to kidnap people, but a natural law that states that plantations needed labour and it is natural that they get it in such a manner. How to lie with statistics? A popular trick in SC methodology is presenting statistics that ‘speak for itself’. Henk den Heijer from the Leiden University (Heijer, 2011) has collected statistics on mortality at some slave ships during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. He concludes that the mortality rate among the White crew members was higher than among the enslaved Africans. Without further reference to the status of the Whites and Blacks, one might conclude – as indeed the Dutch press did at the time of the publication – that apparently the Blacks were treated better than the Whites on the slave ships. So the horrors of the Transatlantic Slave Trade have been exaggerated. The counter-argument of DTM is that mortality rate is not an appropriate variable to measure the status of Whites and Blacks on the slave ship. The Blacks were prisoners and the Whites were their prison guards. The Blacks have been kidnapped and were chained on the ship. The Whites were free men. The Blacks had a one-way ticket to slavery in the colonies. The Whites were working on the ships multiple times and got paid for their work. Working and living on the ship was their destiny. Suppose that during a voyage a hundred percent of the Blacks died because of illness versus zero per cent of the Whites? The implication would be totally different. The Whites would return to Africa to buy another group of human beings and bring them into slavery. This analysis show how trivial the argument about the relationship between mortality rate and the status of Blacks and Whites on the slave ship is. The analytical approach dissects the status then explains how they are unrelated to mortality rates, but are connected with the nature of the crime of enslaving, buying and selling of human beings.

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The popular trick of lying with statistics got a huge impetus with the publication of the study Time on the Cross by Fogel and Engerman (1974). The authors argue with a lot of statistics that slavery benefited both the enslaved and the enslaver. Here is the same problem: they use variables that are irrelevant in regard to the status of enslaved. So even if the figures are representative for the whole of the Black population during slavery in the US, they are irrelevant to the status of the enslaved human being. If one was to find through research that a cow or a horse during slavery had more nutritious food than the White human being, those statistics would not change their status as cattle. In the same way the enslaved African was registered in the bookkeeping of the White as cattle, just as the cow and the horse. Nobody could express this fact and feeling better than Jourdon Anderson, a former enslaved African, who wrote a letter to his old master who had asked him to return to work for him after slavery was abolished in the US. Anderson (1865) wrote: ‘In Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows.’ If the status of Africans cannot be measured by statistics regarding nutrition or food, then what is the purpose of these exercises other than to disguise the real status? And that is that slavery was a crime and the criminals were the foreparents of many White scholars in the US and Europe. Partial or integral view of slavery and colonialism Slavery is now generally acknowledged as a dismal system, even in the school of scientific colonialism (although there are still scholars like P. C. Emmer (2008) from Leiden University who argue that slavery was a beneficial system for the enslaved). Another trick in SC is to contrast slavery as a miserable system to colonialism as a legitimate system. The abolition of slavery is seen as the highlight of European civilization. So the system of colonialism was not bad. Slavery was bad. By getting rid of slavery, European civilization got rid of a stain on a system that otherwise was good. Slavery is not seen as an integral part of colonialism but a deviant part. In DTM we analyze colonialism in five dimensions: 1. The geographical dimension: Colonization was a major project of five Western European countries: Portugal, Spain, Holland, England and France. Other countries joined, but in the end played a small role. These countries conquered and occupied areas outside of Western Europe, colonized their population and imposed an


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

administration during the occupation. The abolition of slavery did not alter the occupation of foreign land. 2. The economic dimension: The rationale for the foundation of colonialism was economic. It created a capitalist world economy where private enterprises, striving for maximum profit, were the driving forces behind the process of colonization. When slavery was abolished, this system did not disappear, but strengthened. 3. The social dimension: Social relations in the colonies were organized on the basis of two principles: a) Race: Race is defined by the colonizer in the concept of ‘the other’ rather than the concept of skin colour. Race determines the social position of the individual. In fact, as Kwame Nimako (2011, p. 124) argues, race became the organizing principle of social relations during slavery and after abolition. b) Collaboration: Colonialism creates social layers of collaborators from the ranks of the ‘Other’ that are used to control the oppressed and exploited. The abolition of slavery did change race relations in the sense that in the Caribbean a colour grade replaced the strict division of colour during slavery. But racism as an ideology – where the notion of superiority/inferiority was linked to skin colour and physical traits – did not disappear but took other sometimes more dramatic forms (Blacks trying to whiten their hair and skin). So the abolition of slavery altered race relations but it did not abolish racism. The abolition of slavery changed labour relations. Blacks were now not the judicial property of individual planters. But they lacked social rights such as the right to proper housing, health care, education, decent working conditions, and so on. Labour relations changed, but oppression and exploitation were not abolished with the abolition of slavery. 4. The political and administrative dimension: The control of state power both in the colonies and in Europe was ultimately in the hands of a capitalist class. During slavery, the Africans in the colonies had no say in the political and administrative apparatus. The abolition of slavery did not change their political status. They still did not have right to determine their own destiny, choose their own leaders or have the freedom of expression. The abolition of slavery did not fundamentally change these rights. 5. The cultural and mental dimension: Colonialism was also a mental force that has developed a world view that is ingrained in the

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mind of both the colonizer and the colonized. In this worldview, the West is presented as a progressive civilizatory power and colonization as a blessing rather than as a crime against humanity. A complex multitude of mechanisms has been developed to create and maintain the idea of Western and White superiority and non-Western inferiority. In DTM slavery is one partial aspect of the system of colonialism. The abolition of slavery did not abolish the pillars of the system but changed a few aspects of the whole system in order to enable the system as a whole to continue. In SC abolition is seen as a fundamental breach in the system. Another example of the partial approach is the number of victims of the system of slavery in the colonies. In SC this number is always attached to one specific part of the system, the number of Africans transported during slavery, which is 12 million according to the Slave Voyages Database (Slavevoyages 2006). It is incomprehensible to limit the number of victims to the number of Africans transported from Africa. In DTM we draw a total picture. We have set up a model to calculate approximately the number of victims on the basis of an estimate of the number of persons who died in Africa in the process of capturing human beings for enslavement in the colonies, the number of persons that have been transported to the Americas and the numbers of persons who were born in the Americas and enslaved after birth. We have made crude estimates that need to be corrected in the future. The aim of this exercise is to show that the number transported is a small fraction of the total number of victims. The crucial ratios are the number of persons that perished in the process of capturing for enslavement (minimum 2 and maximum 5), the ratio of the number of persons born per person in one generation and the number of generations during the period of slavery. Table 8.2 shows that the number of persons transported during the Transatlantic Slave Trade is between 3–5% of the total number of victims of the system of slavery. Emotion versus logic SC is very emotional in its approach to the extent that illogical arguments are presented as perfectly reasonable opinions. A major discussion in the study of slavery in the European colonies is concerned with the so-called Williams thesis. Eric Williams (1945) argues in his monumental study Capitalism and Slavery that slavery was abolished mainly for economic reasons. The campaigns of the abolitionist movement in Britain had some influence, but were not a decisive factor in the abolition. In SC


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

Table 8.2 Estimates of the number of victims of the system of slavery in the Americas Minimum


Transported by ships Ratio number died in Africa per transported person Absolute number died Number arrived alive in the Americas Ratio number born per person in one generation Number of generations (25 in 250-300 years) Total number born

12 2 24 10 2 10 200

12 5 60 10 3 12 360

Absolute numbers Died in Africa Transported by ship Born during slavery Total number of victims

24 12 200 236

60 12 360 432

Died in Africa Transported by ships Born during slavery Total number of victims

10% 5% 85% 100%

14% 3% 83% 100%

studies on slavery, the abolitionist movement is seen as a highlight of European civilization. So if slavery was abolished for moral reasons, than this testifies to the high moral standards of European civilization for which the people from the colonies should be grateful. But if slavery was abolished for economic reasons, than there were apparently no high morals involved, but plain greed. The basic argument in the SC approach against the Williams thesis centres on the question whether there was an economic decline in the colonies after the abolition of slavery. If there was an economic decline, than apparently the British people were willing to pay a huge price in order to stand to their moral principles. And that is an expression of their high morals and civilization. The title of Seymour Drescher’s book (1977) Econocide: British Slavery in the Era of Abolition sums up this argument: the British committed economic suicide for higher moral reasons. From a decolonial perspective, this argument is rejected on logical grounds: the motive for an enterprise in the colony to do business is profit. If a company makes a loss, that does not change its motive as the school of SC suggests. It is not logical because a motive does not depend on the outcome of an action but precedes the action! That is the nature of a motive.

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The Dutch school of SC has an additional problem. In contrast to England there was no abolitionist movement of any significance and yet slavery was abolished there. Gert Oostindie (1995), who edited a study that brought together the data that show an economic decline after the abolition of slavery in the Dutch colonies, acknowledges that there was no moral force in Holland to pressure for abolition. So then what was the driving force in Holland to abolish slavery? Oostindie (2006, pp. 29–30) comes up with the astonishing illogical answer: ‘absolute indifference’. To which I reply: absolute nonsense! Why? It is just illogical to label indifference as a motive for an action, because indifference means that the policymaker does not care about the outcome of his action. If that is so, why did he not choose the easiest way, namely, to maintain slavery and keep the economic gains? Why should indifference lead to such a drastic step not only of abolishing slavery (and committing economic suicide), but also of setting up an enormous system of importing 70,000 indentured labourers between 1853 and 1940 to replace 34,000 enslaved Africans who were ‘freed’ in 1863 in the Dutch colony of Suriname? There is no logic that explains such actions from the motive of ‘indifference’. Another example of emotion and logic is in the discussion on reparations. In DTM we apply propositions that are considered to be perfectly rational for Europe, to colonialism. The result is shocking for Europeans. These are the propositions: UÊ vÊޜÕÊÃiÌÊÕ«Ê>˜Êi˜ÌiÀ«ÀˆÃiʜ˜Ê̅iÊ«Àœ«iÀÌÞʜvÊ>˜œÌ…iÀÊ«iÀܘÊޜÕÊ should pay rent for the use of that property. UÊ vÊޜÕʏiÌÊܓiLœ`ÞÊ«iÀvœÀ“ʏ>LœÕÀÊvœÀÊޜÕ]ÊޜÕÊŜՏ`Ê«>ÞÊ̅i“Ê for their labour. UÊ vÊޜÕÊÌ>ŽiÊ}œœ`ÃÊ̅>ÌÊ`œÊ˜œÌÊLiœ˜}Ê̜ÊޜÕ]ÊޜÕÊŜՏ`Ê«>ÞÊ̅iÊ owner for these goods. UÊ vÊޜÕÊVœ““ˆÌÊ>ÊVÀˆ“i]ÊޜÕÊŜՏ`ÊVœ“«i˜Ã>ÌiÊ̅iÊۈV̈“ÃʜvÊ̅>ÌÊ crime. UÊ vÊޜÕʅ>ÛiÊ>Ê`iLÌ]ÊޜÕÊŜՏ`Ê«>Þʈ˜ÌiÀiÃÌʜ˜Ê̅>ÌÊ`iLÌ° If we applied these propositions to the legacy of colonialism, then Europe would be confronted with a huge problem. The colonized world has a surface of about 250 million square kilometres (97 square miles). Suppose Europe would have to pay a rent of 1 dollar per square mile per month for 200–400 years. Suppose Europe would have to pay one dollar cent per hour for the hundreds of millions enslaved Africans that performed forced labour without pay for hundreds of years. Suppose


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Europe would have to pay for the minerals (gold and silver) they stole from the Americas (98 million kilogrammes of silver and 2.6 million kilogrammes of gold according to one inventory (Slicher van Bath 1992, p. 148). Imagine there would be an international court of justice that does not exempt Europe from the rule that criminals should compensate their victims for damage they have caused. Suppose Europe had to pay interest on the debt that had still not been paid? Bring these variables in a spreadsheet and make all kind of amendments to parameters such as the rent to be paid per square kilometre, the prices of silver and gold, and so on. The result of a normal proposition becomes abnormal in the eyes of SC, because there emotion replaces reason. In the coming four to five centuries, they would have to spend their total national income to pay this debt.

The morals of science P.C. Emmer (2008, p. 1) poses the question: ‘Who abolished slavery?’ He gives the answer with pride: ‘The abolition of slavery is a typical characteristic of Western civilization.’ How cynical! In DTM we pose the question: ‘Who introduced slavery in the Americas?’ And we might answer with facts: ‘The introduction of slavery in the Americas is a typical characteristic of Western civilization.’ SC has put the question of abolition of slavery as a hallmark of Western civilization. And here is the difference in morals between SC and DTM. In the morals of SC, slavery is not regarded as a crime. Abolition is seen as a gift for which the former enslaved people should be grateful. DTM regards slavery as a crime. The moral thing to do is the acknowledgement by the criminal that a crime has been committed and to offer apologies for the wrongdoing in the past. In the abolition of slavery the acknowledgement and apologies were absent and therefore the European abolition of slavery was uncivilized. In the morals of SC the change in the legal status of the enslaved was the end result of abolition. In the morals of DTM total freedom for the enslaved and restoration of his/her social, economic, political and cultural rights should have been the goals of abolition. In the morals of SC the enslaver should be compensated because SC accepts the framework of the legitimacy of colonialism. In fact, the criminals were compensated and the abolitionist movement had no influence at all in changing this injustice. In the morals of DTM, the victim should be compensated and the criminal should be punished. Such are the differences in morals between SC and DTM and that is why DTM speaks of two forms of

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abolition of slavery: an uncivilized and a civilized form of abolition. Europe has chosen for the uncivilized form of abolition, although the civilized form as an option. Another example of the difference in morals between SC and DTM is the comparison of slavery with the Jewish Holocaust. SC regards such a comparison as an insult to the victims of the Jewish Holocaust. Oostindie (2007, pp. 7–8) considers it to be ‘a conscious provocation’ and ‘lack of respect for the victims of the Holocaust’. In the mindset of SC the worst crime ever committed in human history was a crime against Europeans. Nazism was the ultimate evil force in history. The idea that there might be facts that show that there was an evil force in history that surpassed Nazism is unbearable and is rejected with force. So SC has declared the comparison of slavery with the Jewish Holocaust as a big taboo. But facts are stubborn things. It is quite normal for scientists to make comparative analysis. So we set forth the criteria for a comparison between different crimes against humanity, such as the method of destruction of human lives, the motives of the perpetrators, the duration of the crime, the scale of the crime (number of victims), the legal, political and administrative framework and infrastructure of the crime, the ending of the crime, the legacy of the crime and the way victims and perpetrators deal with the legacy. This is a legitimate scientific exercise. But in the school of SC it is declared taboo and for a good reason: the analysis might show that there was a greater evil force in history than Nazism and it was committed by Europeans.

The future of the schools In my view, SC is not science, but ideology. It is not seeking the truth (what really happened), but rather seeking ways to cover up the truth. There are many publications, research projects and conferences on slavery and colonialism. There is often a tendency to be nice to each other so a confrontation of schools of thought is not a nice thing to do. But science can only flourish with a confrontation of minds, with debates and discussions that do not fear the outcome, because whatever the outcome is, it should contribute to a better understanding of History and society.

References Anderson, J. (1865) ‘Letter from a Freedman to his Old Master’, New York Daily Tribune.


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Césaire, A. (1972) Discourse on Colonialism (New York and London: Monthly Review Press). Doda, Z. (2005) Social Anthropology (Debub University). Drescher, S. (1977) Econocide: British Slavery in the Era of Abolition (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press). Dunn, S. (1982) The Fall and Rise of the Asiatic Mode of Production (London, Boston, Melbourne and Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul). Emmer, P. C. (2008) Who Abolished Slavery? Resistance and Accommodation in the Dutch Caribbean (Paramaribo: Association of Caribbean Historians). Enyimba, M. (nd) ‘Racism and Philosophy: An Examination of Human and Kantian Racial Thoughts’, PHILOSOPHY, accessed 26 December 2012. Erickson, P. (1993) ‘Representations of Blacks and Blackness in the Renaissance’. Criticism, 35 (4), 499–528. Fogel, R. W. and S. L. Engerman (1974) Time on the Cross. The Economics of American Negro Slavery (New York: W. W. Norton and Company). Gobineau, A. de (1915) The Inequality of Human Races, trans. A. Collins (London: William Heineman) [1st edn 1853–55]. Grosfoguel, R. (2010) ‘Epistemic Islamofobia and Colonial Social Sciences’, Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-knowledge, VIII (2), 29–38. Grosfoguel, R. and E. Mielants (2006) ‘The Long-Durée Entanglement between Islamophobia and Racism in the Modern/Colonial Capitalist/Patriarchal World-System An Introduction’, Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-knowledge, V (1), 1–12. Heijer, H. den (2011) Het slavenschip. Oratie (Leiden: Universiteit Leiden). Hindess, B. and P. Hirst (1975) Pre-capitalist Modes of Production (London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul). Hira, S. (2012a) ‘The Rise of Islamofobia in the Netherlands’, International Conference on Islamofobia, 20–21 April, Zaytuna College, Berkeley, United States. Hira, S. (2012b) ‘Twee Stromingen in de Surinaamse Geschiedschrijving’, IISR Research Papers, 1. Hira, S. (2012c) ‘An Alternative Framework for the Study of Slavery and the Colonial Society in Suriname’ in M. Schalkwijk and S. Small (eds) New Perspectives on Slavery and Colonialism in the Caribbean (The Hague: Amrit/ NiNsee). Hira, S. (2013) Van Columbus tot en met De Kom. Twaalfdelige televisieserie over de koloniale geschiedenis van Suriname (forthcoming). Hume, D. (1741-1779) ‘Essays Moral, Political, And Literary’, http://thelemistas. org/PDF/Hume_D-Essays.pdf, accessed 26 December 2012. Kant, I. (1775) ‘On the Different Human Races’, docs/icb.topic97823.files/I_/Sept_27/KANT.pdf, accessed 27 December 2012. Lewis, G. (2008) An Introduction to Africana Philosophy (Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore and São Paulo: Cambridge University Press). Maldonado-Torres, N. (2008) ‘Religion, Conquest, and Race in the Foundations of the Modern/Colonial World’, Centennial/graphics/Maldonado-Torres.pdf, accessed 26 December 2012.

The Eurocentric Approach to Colonialism 153 Milos, J., D. Dimoulis and G. Ekonomakis (2002) ‘Karl Marx and the Classics. An Essay on Value, Crises and the Capitalist Mode of Production’, http://users., accessed 26 December 2012. Nimako, K. (2011) The Dutch Atlantic: Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation (London: Pluto Press). Oostindie, G. (ed.) (1995) Fifty Years Later: Antislavery, Capitalism and Modernity in the Dutch Orbit (Leiden: KITLV Press). Oostindie, G. (2006) De Parel en de Kroon: Het Koningshuis en de Koloniën (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij). Oostindie, G. (2007) Slavernij, Canon en Trauma: Oratie (Leiden: Universiteit Leiden). Schalkwijk, N. and S. Small (eds) (2012) New Perspectives on Slavery and Colonialism in the Caribbean (The Hague: Amrit/NiNsee). Sierra, J. A. (2010) ‘The Legend of Hatuey’, history/oriente/hatuey.htm, accessed 26 December 2012. Slavevoyages (2006) ‘Database of Slave Voyages’, accessed 26 December 2012. Slicher van Bath, B. H. (1992) Indianen en Spanjaarden. Latijns Amerika 1500–1800 (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker). Small, S. (2012) Living History. The Legacy of Slavery in the Netherlands (Den Haag: NiNsee/Amrit). Tinker, H. (1977) A New System of Slavery: The Export of Indian Labourers Overseas 1830–1920 (London: Oxford University Press). Williams, E. (1945) Capitalism and Slavery (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press).

9 Secrets, Lies, Silences and Invisibilities: Unveiling the Participation of Africans on the Mozambique Front during World War I1 Maria Paula Meneses and Margarida Gomes

Introduction: who fought in World War I? In the context of the centennial anniversary of the beginning of World War I (WWI), little attention has been paid to the Portuguese battlefields in African war theatres, which include Angola and Mozambique. In a recent field trip in Northern Mozambique, while talking about war and violence, an old woman mentioned his father having been a carrier during the ‘big, old war’ in Northern Mozambique.2 Researching this episode, we came to know that a whole neighbourhood in Pemba, a city in the extreme North of Mozambique, had been named after these carriers – Carriers Corps, thus Cariacó – presumably because members of the corps were given housing in this place.3 This episode calls our attention to memories of African men and women who, directly or indirectly, participated in WWI and have been forgotten or silenced in contemporary academic studies.4 The recent controversies over the central role of African (Indigenous) soldiers in World War II (in which Portugal maintained a state of neutrality), together with the approaching centennial, are opening a window into the Portuguese involvement in the WWI. In this chapter, by exploring archival material and academic publications, we seek to uncover the silences about African WWI war theatres and the African 154

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participation in it, a kind of a loud cry remembering that the fighting took place beyond the geographic limits of Europe.5 Additionally, it aims to analyze the repercussions of WWI (and the implementation of colonial labour codes) in the establishment of modern colonialism in Mozambique (and in other Portuguese colonies in Africa), closely associated with a well-structured system of racial discrimination. One of the less studied topics in African History relates to the role played by Africans in the European armies, in various war theatres. In the Portuguese case, with which this chapter deals in more detail, WWI is principally remembered by the military disaster at the battle of La Lys, in Belgium, in 1916. However, Portugal had entered the war because its colonial territories – Angola and Mozambique – were lured in by Imperial Germany (Vincent-Smith, 1974). These two African colonies would be attacked by German forces early in 1914–15, precipitating the engagement of Portugal in WWI. The distortions that characterize the interpretations of WWI and the conflicts associated with it are rooted in the long-standing tendency to treat African social phenomena as atypical, local phenomena, outside global rational explanations, assuming linear temporality as a neutral medium within which history unfolds. This explains why the right to history emerged as a core claim in the emancipatory movements that blew over the continent after WWI, with Africans claiming the right to decide their own destiny (sovereignty) and to belong to themselves (autonomy). These claims demanded the reappropriation of their knowledge, of their capacity to know the world autonomously, to represent it and, consequently, to self-define themselves (Mbembe, 2002, p. 242). WWI in Mozambique represents the intersections of local, national, regional and international factors in the political economy of this conflict. Therefore, it calls for a broader interpretation: not only regarding the participation of Africans (as troops and carriers) in this war, but also the exploration of the implications of this war for the African colonies and of the African participation in the war efforts. The disclosure of other histories allows the unfolding of collective pasts of different peoples in the African continent, beyond the powerful and rigid binary that establishes areas of the world with history and those domains of non-beings, characterized by the denial of dignity, without history (Depelchin, 2005, p. xi). Colonization, as Frantz Fanon underlined, ‘by a kind of perverted logic, turns to the past of the oppressed people, and distorts, disfigures and destroys it’ (1963, p. 10). In a short timespan, this process – combining


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the obliteration of Africans as human beings, and the imposition of new, ‘superior’ ethic values – recreated Africans as spectres, without any capacity or ability of existing beyond the European colonial interference. This explains why the histories of Africans, as well as other colonized peoples – histories written, authorized and validated by Europeans – are filled with the silence of exclusions, erasures, distortions and arbitrary fictions. The analysis of the impact of WWI upon the region of contemporary Mozambique adds to a growing number of academic and broader political debates. These debates suggest, as Luise White stresses (2000, p. 11), that secrets, lies and half-truths reveal much about a society, as they are more about a kind of information than a kind of concealment. Lies are constructed and secrets negotiated, therefore producing narratives where politics remains a realm in which truth will inevitably be stretched, spun and relativized, rather than perfectly and deliberately expressed (Arendt, 1968, p. 223). Lies and silences have actively produced non-existence, thus rendering invisible, unintelligible, multiple agents involved in this episode of global war. Following the methodological proposal advanced by Sousa Santos in the Sociology of absences (2004, p. 3), this chapter examines WWI in African war theatres, aiming to give visibility to facts and actors that have been actively produced as non-existent by dominant Eurocentric historical approaches, that is, as a non-credible alternative to the dominant narrative about this war. This line of enquiry aims to subvert the production of absences – in this case, Africans in WWI – by turning them into present subjects, making visible what has been obscured by the dominant historiographical canon. Indeed, WWI came as a means for the inception of modern Portuguese colonialism. The war broke out shortly after the final ‘occupation’ of Northern Mozambique. To upkeep the war effort, in a situation of shortage of European soldiers, Portugal resorted to native forces, poorly trained and with little empathy and interest in fighting that struggle; a condition shared with a legion of carriers, another key actor in this conflict. In a territory where roads and mechanical means of transportation were usually not available, carriers were key. Thus, the imposition of an officially sanctioned regime of forced labour, to produce carriers from local peasants, became crucial, as we will discuss further on. Africans, by definition, could not be considered skilful workers; in order to become civilized, colonial authorities affirmed the legitimacy

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to oblige them to work, if needed. In the course of WWI, a significant group of Africans would join the Portuguese army, as irregular forces or as the native contingent (Faustino, 1920), but their presence and impact remain concealed. If the WWI dominant narrative is, above all, about the gains and losses of European empires, in multiple African contexts this war meant the consolidation of modern colonial policies. Taming the natives – exploring their labour force for the ‘greater’ benefit of the metropolitan, more advanced European societies – together with the exploitation of the other (the ‘natural’ resources the territories held) became the reason that justified the enactment of the colonial state administration (Meneses, 2010, pp. 72–3; Allina-Pisano, 2012, pp. 12–13). Thus, colonialism should be discussed as a form of ‘civilized barbarism’, an expression of ninenteenth- to twentieth-century bourgeois legality, and not a violation of it (Monnerville, Sédar-Senghor and Césaire, 1948, p. 23). A detailed analysis of the atrocities resulting from the Portuguese participation in WWI, where the East African Campaign played a decisive role, allows broadening the discussion about colonial policies and silenced pasts. This approach, by debunking the hegemonic, Eurocentric version of this war, allows us to (re)tell the histories of the multiple actors involved in this conflict, from their perspectives, contextualizing Africa as part of a wider, interconnected history. Moving beyond the Eurocentric interpretation of WWI will contribute to the freeing of world cultures from the restrictive walls of racism and colonialism. This chapter is organized in four parts. In the first, we seek to characterize modern Portuguese colonization based upon the existing conditions in Mozambique, combining local and global implications and relationships, underlining the labour factor in colonial policies. The second part, drawing from the example of modern Portuguese colonialism, seeks to deepen the analysis of the processes through which colonial projects involved themselves in the reorganization of the modes of exercise of state power – both domestically and overseas. The third part opens up the discussion on the specificities of the Portuguese army in the colonial space. The chapter then goes on to explain the relationship between forced labour legislation and the emergence of (ir)regular African troops in Mozambique, during WWI, and concludes with a broader discussion of the implications of silences and lies about African History in contemporary debates regarding Eurocentrism, racism and colonialism.


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

Giving meaning to the modern colonization of Mozambique By the late 1800s, Portugal had become, along with other European countries, one of the main colonial powers in Africa. The struggle for the effective colonization of the purported ‘dark continent’ was a result of the Berlin Conference of 1884–85,6 which triggered the conditions for the formalization of colonial rule in the continent. Indeed, Africa became one of the last territories to be ‘formally’ occupied and colonized in modern terms. In Berlin, European countries not only reached an agreement over the imperial boundaries of Africa – to avoid future conflicts – but also imposed the rule of ‘formal’ occupation of vast territories as a means to legitimize the colonial presence in Africa.7 The immediate outcome of this Conference was the division of Africa among the main European imperial powers: Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal and Italy.8 The reasons that triggered this renewed interest in Africa were multiple: to identify and control raw materials needed for the development of the industrial complex of Europe;9 to spread Christian faith, a reason that stemmed from European ethnocentrism and racism;10 to control markets and to impose the alleged European civilized way of living. Because African realities did not ‘fit’ the modern project shaped in Europe, these imperial powers considered their own right to impose – even through violent means – the Eurocentric political project, considered more advanced, upon the ‘rest’ of the world. To justify the colonial project, labelled as a ‘civilizational (ad)venture’, African people were dubbed as lacking any positive ethic reference, to be replaced with a Eurocentric one, justifying the superiority of Europeans – presented as Whites – in Africa.11 The violence of domination included assuming the command of African History and the advancement of solutions suitable mostly for Europeans, not for Africans. This project translated itself into the ‘invention’ of a project aimed at providing Africans with a new identity, stemming from the European ideas about the very diverse continent (Mudimbe, 1994). Thus, the former citizens and subjects of African kingdoms and of stateless communities became colonial subjects. Describing Mozambique at the brink of the implantation of modern Portuguese authority, António Ennes, the first High Commissioner of the colony, commented: ‘The character and customs of the local inhabitants do not let civilization to rely on them for the development [of the region]’ (1971 [1893], p. 24). For Ennes, the labour force was the main valuable resource in the African colonies, the most powerful

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tool to civilize those territories (1971 [1893], p. 70). Simultaneously a strong advocate of a special legal regime for the Indigenous population of Mozambique, Ennes articulated the core elements of the Portuguese colonial policy in Africa: Labour is the most moralizing mission, the most instructive school, the most disciplining authority, the conquest less exposed to revolts, the army that can occupy the impervious wild places, the sole policy that will curb slavery, … the education that will metamorphose brutes into men. (1971 [1893], p. 74) Portuguese colonial propaganda did not acknowledge that their presence in African contexts meant besetting lands from the people that occupied the territory known as Mozambique, associated with the exploiting of local labour; instead, the colonial administration presented itself as self-appointed trustees for allegedly vulnerable natives, who had not yet reached a stage on the evolutionary scale that would allow them to develop or make responsible decisions on their own (Meneses, 2010). Portuguese colonies in Africa came to embody a space to be tamed both through education and by teaching the African to work, and where the colonized personified a space–time prior to modern civilization. In this context, European knowledge and practice became the symbol of boundaries between ‘civilized’ and the ‘unruly barbarians’. European explorers, missionaries, colonial administrators and army officers combined to become the key agents of the European civilizational project. The colonial state, as paramount and depository of social power, was entitled to ‘teach’ Africans to work – using force if needed. Forced labour became the political leverage to make the new African colonies a profitable enterprise. A series of legal acts would oblige – morally and legally – the Indigenous populations of Mozambique to work, an obligation legitimated as the means to civilize the African (Ennes, 1946 [1899], p. 27).

Labour laws in modern Portuguese colonial policy and the Niassa company The late nineteenth century was a period of both effective occupation by Portugal of its African colonies and of the development of large-scale capitalist production. The modern colonial occupation of Mozambique was closely followed by a series of political measures aimed at validating the Portuguese civilizing capacity. This new stage of colonial-capitalist development would rest upon the exploitation of large masses of free,


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

cheap labour, the key to progress of the colonial White society, as stated by several ideologists of the regime: ‘the work of colonization consists of, effectively, cultivating both the land and the men’ (Marnoco e Sousa, 1906, p. 8). Transforming the person of the labourer into a marketable commodity involved the creation of new political economy; the pressure to implement its ‘civilizing’ mission led the Portuguese government to institute a series of labour reforms. In Portugal, as in other European empires, African natives were regarded as useful only for the most menial tasks and so were not given any educational or health care beyond the most basic. The result of these labour laws made by the colonial state shaped their very own colonial subject, the native African. The implemented labour system embodied the very goal of the Portuguese colonial enterprise: colonized subjects would work productively under coercion, seen as a form of transforming the Indigenous subjects into citizens (Meneses, 2010). The transition to the twentieth century became a defining moment in the Portuguese policy towards the African natives. Among the radical changes was the reconceptualization of labour within the framework of modern positive law. This reconceptualization dug into the constitutive contradictions of the modern state, most notably the antagonism between the right to freedom and the right to work – rights at the core of the modern idea of citizenship – and the obligation to work as a form of transforming the native into a citizen. In these contexts the contradictions manifest themselves in a separation in the juridical and social alterity untying the colonial and metropolitan spheres, an alterity displayed in several laws that relegated forced labour to colonial territories alone. As the reality imposed in Mozambique revealed, forced labour always includes two characteristic elements: the person is coerced to work under threat of some sort of penalty and the work/task is carried out involuntarily; the threats can include extreme forms, such as physical violence, but also more subtle forms, such as the confiscation of identity documents, among others. In short, the situation of forced labour depended upon the relationship established between the worker and his/her employer, and not by the activity per se. Reiterating the emancipatory virtue of the metropolitan civilizational project, labour laws could not fall upon White colonists, suffering from the inclemency of the weather, the soil aridity and proliferation of unknown and unbearable diseases (Ennes, 1946 [1899], p. 28). A key element in this process was the Code of Rules of Indigenous Labour which came into force on 18 November 1899. This code, that began to contest the liberal approach to free labour, defined, in its first

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article, that all African natives from oversees provinces were morally and legally subjected to achieve, through labour, the additional means to improve their social condition.12 With the introduction of obligatory taxes from the late nineteenth century on, Africans had to engage in wage labour to pay them. Taxes guaranteed a continuous source of forced labour for public works or for private employers, such as the chartered companies. African labour became the backbone of the colonial economy, legitimating, simultaneously, the Portuguese colonial policy (Macamo, 2006). Should Africans attempt to evade work, state officials had the legal means with which to oblige them to do so.13 The association of a legal procedure, structuring the access to work as identity criteria (for natives only), stemmed from the justification, advanced by the colonial structure, to impose compulsory work as a vehicle of progress.14 The politicians of Ennes’ generation, coupling their military experiences with evolutionist thought, regarded as ludicrous any possibility of the political incorporation of Africans – considered to be backward – into the realms of citizenship (Alexandre, 2000, pp. 181–98). As Eduardo Costa, a representative of this generation, defended, ‘for the time being it is necessary the existence of two, at least, civil and political rules: one European and another native … depending on the education and customs achieved by the Africans’ (1901, p. 590). African natives, because considered inferior, were under the tutelage of a special (private) legal system, controlled by the Secretary of Indigenous Affairs, created by Decree on 23 May 1907. This Secretary had jurisdiction over the native labour force throughout the colony and could sentence the natives in circumstances of their wrongdoing, including the possibility of being sent to carry out public works in Mozambique or to overseas deportations, for long periods. The combination of a legal system with forced labour symbolized the transformation of power relations between colonized and colonizers, through the creation of the category of native to be educated and protected by the colonial state (Meneses, 2010). In a quite subtle way, Portuguese colonial power established itself in African territories though a set of coercive practices that violated the very core of democratic values that Portugal would proclaim. Africans were transformed into Indigenous subjects, and not into citizens; they had obligations, but little or no rights. The segmentation of the colonial society between ‘civilized colonists’ and ‘barbarian natives’ gave consistence to the colonial system, to be challenged later on by liberation and independence struggles.


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

The Niassa Company The Niassa Company was a chartered company that operated in Northern Mozambique.15 Established in the late nineteenth century, it was created with two goals in mind: to preserve Portuguese sovereignty in the area and to stimulate the economic development of Northern Mozambique (Neil-Tomlinson, 1977, p. 110); in order to accomplish its goals, the company’s modus operandi was based on a compulsory labour policy, which forced the Mozambicans to pay taxes and to work on plantations and on public projects. The Northern region of Mozambique was not very attractive for Europeans. Its remoteness, associated with an ‘unforgiving climate’, resulted in a population essentially composed of natives, with very few mulattos, Indians and ‘local Whites’.16 The Niassa Company was not permitted to form armies and so it created its own police force (cipaios), poorly trained. Cipaios were capable only of limited military action, but very necessary since the company faced several local rebellions. At the turn of the nineteenth century the company was supported by Portuguese battalions, about 300 regular Portuguese men, and about 2,800 African men recruited in the area. Initial engagements were for four years, but some served for much longer (Vilhena, 1905). The Niassa Company operated with very little investment. Its major source of revenue came as the result of imposing upon the local populations the impaired cycle of high taxes, cheap labour and low cash-crop prices (Neil-Tomlinson, 1977, p. 122). As René Pélissier accentuates, this company, a private colony inside a colony, represented the quintessence of the most egotistic European domination; the company operated in Africa only to extract the maximum profit (1987, p. 396). But the revenues came under scrutiny when WWI affected the region.

The actors on the Mozambique front of World War I The Portuguese colonial WWI experience in the African context, specifically in Mozambique and Angola, relied upon the presence of African elements in the army. Their role varied, including carriers, informers or a more active participation, as part of the formal army units (Pezarat Correia, 2000, p. 144; Borges Coelho, 2002, p. 129). Africans had been part of large armies of the prazos da coroa,17 especially along the Zambezi valley, for quite a long time.18 Ayres de Ornellas, a Portuguese officer who participated in the ‘pacification (occupation) campaigns’ in late nineteenth and early twentieth

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centuries in Mozambique, brought up the importance of ‘private’ African armies protecting the Zambezi prazos owners (1901, p. 51). The interest in the African troops grew stronger with the need to formally occupy the colonies after the Berlin Conference. One of the key elements of the General Act signed during this Conference refers to the ‘principle of effective occupation’: it stated that European powers could acquire rights over colonial lands only if they actually ‘possessed’ them. This meant that the colonizing powers had to make treaties with local leaders, to fly their flag there, and to establish an administration in the territory to govern it, with the help of a police or military force to keep order – as happened with the Niassa Company and described above. Despite this, until the second half of the nineteenth century Portugal had little political and military control over the territories of what would become its African colonies. The international alterations stemming from the Berlin Conference demanded main transformations: territorial control and the breaking of local, African resistance to guarantee Portuguese authority. Portugal faced major problems in imposing its presence in the three main African colonies – Guinea, Angola and Mozambique – particularly due to the long distances from Lisbon and the shortage of men. As a consequence, the ‘occupation campaigns’ were carried out to a large extent through the use of local forces, complemented by the dispatch of expeditionary troops from Lisbon and India (Borges Coelho, 2002, p. 132).19 This position was at the core of the political stance advanced earlier on by Mouzinho de Albuquerque, a military officer and colonial commissioner both in India and in Mozambique, for whom ‘the European soldier will cost us too much. It is therefore natural that the role of chair à canon will be reserved to the African, more adapted to the climate and much cheaper’ (1889, p. 37). The gradual integration of the African troops in the Portuguese army followed closely the military and administrative occupation of the territory of Mozambique. Angolan and Indian troops participated in the Zambezi valley military campaigns, as well as in the campaign against Ngungunhane, the Nguni ruler of central-Southern Mozambique, in 1895 (Ennes, 1971 [1893], p. 115). Simultaneously, armed units formed with Mozambique natives served in other Portuguese colonies, such as Guinea, Goa, Macau and Timor (Faustino, 1920; Azambuja Martins, 1936, p. 34). If in the beginning local forces were recruited unsystematically and in an arbitrary way, soon the situation changed as the Portuguese authority extended itself to the local level and the population census was introduced (Borges Coelho, 2002, p. 133).20


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

The African armies that served in the colonies were not institutionally diverse from the metropolitan army; however, distinctions were present due to their geographical location and the particularities of its composition (presence of ‘native’ units, purposes, and so on) (see Azambuja Martins, 1936). In Mozambique, a major institutional reform occurred in 1901, when the ten Indigenous companies were formed in the territory, as part of the Portuguese army. This situation changed dramatically a decade later. In 1914, when WWI broke out in Europe and the risk of a serious conflict with neighbouring German territory intensified, Portugal – still formally neutral – opted for the creation of a military reserve in Mozambique. Following the German experience with the askaris,21 the colonial administration engaged 20,000–30,000 Africans (about half of the total military forces in the colony), to face the latent risk of the invasion of Northern Mozambique by neighbouring colonial Germany. To oppose the German forces, Portuguese expeditionary forces were also sent from Lisbon. By late 1914, and following the 1901 military reform, the Portuguese army in Mozambique had two main branches: one including the European, expeditionary forces, and another one integrating the Africans; the latter commanded by metropolitan officers. Police forces were also established in the colony: as part of the colonial state repressive structure and of the large chartered companies. As a result, in terms of military/security forces, by 1914 the geopolitical situation of Mozambique was uneven: Portugal effectively controlled the Southern part of the colony, while the central and Northern territories were under control of chartered companies, with their own police and/or militias. Thus, when WWI broke out in Mozambique, various groups were involved, piecing together, from different power locations, the political structure of colonial Mozambique (Cértima, 1924; Gomes da Costa, 1925): 1. European/White military, the army elite, incorporated essentially in Portugal, Germany and England, but including also forces deployed from South Africa, West Africa, and so on; 2. African regular military units; 3. irregular support units, integrating Africans, such the askaris for the German Army, the sepoys for the British and the cipaios in Mozambique,22 as well as interpreters;23 4. administrative colonial elements and other support personnel; 5. carriers and support personnel, usually without any training and subordinated to the discipline of the formal army units.24

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If the African army units are often forgotten, the poorly fed, seldom paid, carriers became the most invisible force participating in WWI. In fact, on the Mozambique front, as well as the other African fronts during WWI, a significant labour pool was essential to ensure the hard and uncongenial work of carrying supplies, ammunition and people in territories served by few railways and lacking all-weather roads. And it required a legal structure that would legitimize the Portuguese exploitation of local groups.

World War I – The war theatre in Mozambique When WWI broke out in Europe, Portugal, a strong ally of Britain (and while keeping a position of neutrality), saw with apprehension the possibility of a German occupation of its colonies (Newitt, 1995, p. 416).25 Indeed, early on, still in 1914, skirmishes had occurred both in Southern Angola and Northern Mozambique,26 in the territories adjacent to German colonies. However, on 9 March 1916, Germany declared war on Portugal, and consequently Mozambique – bordering with German East Africa (now Tanzania) – entered the war. From the beginning of the war, preventing the German forces from invading Mozambique became a strategic goal for the Portuguese army. But transport, health and supply problems were a constant deterrent (Faustino, 1920). These facts, together with the disorganization of the colonial administration, contributed to deficient preparation (and the feeble results) of the Portuguese forces on the Mozambique front (Gomes da Costa, 1925). In 1916 the Portuguese succeeded in capturing Kionga. After that, the Portuguese troops (with British support) would attempt, helplessly, to stop the German penetration deep into Mozambique.27 The Germans, having slimmed down their forces, crossed the Rovuma River into Mozambique in late 1917. Using a guerrilla strategy, Lettow-Vorbeck, the German commander, attacked the Portuguese forces and their allies, managing to elude capture again and again (1920, pp. 231–2).28 His forces, now composed predominantly of askaris, raided Portuguese forts to obtain weapons, ammunition and supplies (Downes, 1919: 280; Lettow-Vorbeck, 1920, pp. 260–2). As mentioned above, the Northern Mozambique region, where many of the military operations of WWI took place, was a complicated war theatre. The last military occupation campaigns to assure the submission of local leaders and the full integration of the territory under Portuguese control had taken place only a couple of years earlier,


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

in the 1910s (Medeiros, 1997, pp. 242–4). Africans maintained strong anti-Portuguese feelings, experiencing exploitation and humiliations.29 Indeed, to secure these territories, Portuguese rulers were rough on the Africans under their control, and the German forces used this situation to their favour. As Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, noticed, ‘the natives showed themselves very friendly towards our men, whom they regarded as their deliverers from Portuguese oppression’ (1920, p. 249). The Germans went out of their way to be friendly to villagers, obtaining food by paying for it with bolts of cloth seized from Asian-owned village stores. The skilful guerrilla strategy and the population’s support explained why Lettow-Vorbeck and his men managed to carry out a rather successful series of hit-and-run military operations until the end of WWI. Having traversed the territories of the Niassa Company, the German forces, after threatening to take Quelimane, an important urban centre in the delta of the Zambezi, in central Mozambique, turned North-west and invaded Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), eluding numerically superior Portuguese and British colonial forces. It was in Northern Rhodesia that the German forces surrendered to the British, weeks after the end of the war (Lettow-Vorbeck, 1920). The forces at war Armed forces The forces involved in this war theatre were significant. In 1915, the German front in Tanganyika was composed of 2,200 European troops, 11,100 regular African troops and 3,200 irregulars, divided into companies, headed by Europeans. The German experience with locally recruited forces, particularly the askaris, was highly positive in African war theatres. Several reports described the askaris – the Schutztruppe, an irregular protection force – as composed of highly trained native troops (subject to a rigorous selection process), well disciplined and trained by German cadres, and quite well paid (Faustino, 1920; Costa, 1932). Headed by European officers, the main concentration of such locally recruited irregular troops was in German East Africa, under the command of Lettow-Vorbeck. The British troops in the Eastern Africa front, were comprised of about 160,000 soldiers and 1 million carriers (Hodges, 1997).30 Portuguese forces in Eastern Africa, on the other hand, numbered around 39,000 troops, including about 19,000 Europeans, 10,000 African regular forces and more than 20,000 cipaios and other irregular military (Afonso, 2008).31 Both the regular and irregular Portuguese troops were headed by European officers.

Silences and Invisibilities

Map 9.1


World War I military activities in the Mozambique war theatre

Source: Lettow-Vorbeck (1920, p. 297).

The carriers Each of the three armies fighting in Mozambique – Portuguese, British and German – besides the native irregulars, also relied on a significant contingent of carriers. But carrier work of all kinds was generally avoided by Africans in the region. The solution found by the colonial government in Mozambique was to apply the labour codes that had been approved right before the war broke. The Portuguese recruitment


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

policy of native forces in Mozambique combined the enlistment of volunteers with forced recruitment. The methods applied to compelling Africans to serve as carriers were several: economic and political threats to local leaderships, intimidation and extortion of individuals, and mass kidnappings. Economic pressure to pay taxes and compulsory work transformed the local populations into military carriers, with all the attendant risks and hardships. Unlike soldiers, carriers were paid haphazardly, and had no prospect of gratuity, pension or even a disability allowance (as happened with the armed forces). These conditions provided little incentive to voluntary enlistment; as the available documentation reveals, African recruitment met all sorts of resistance, ranging from absenteeism to flight into the bush or neighbouring territories (Companhia do Nyassa, 1912, pp. 165–6; Costa, 1932, p. 148).32 The military reports reveal the presence of voluntary and forced carriers: the voluntary ones would follow the military columns throughout the campaign, regardless of the services to be performed, whereas the forced carriers, the majority, were dismissed whenever there was no freight, and recruited anew when needed (Faustino, 1920, p. 2). However, their presence on the battlefields is missing in the official accounts. The reports only refer to the number of carriers employed and the region where they had been enlisted. These reports also stated that carriers would follow the military columns; during the breaks some of them were to be trained as irregular soldiers to replace the deceased irregular troops. Many of the Portuguese native troops imprisoned by the Germans were employed as carriers (Faustino, 1920, p. 20). The debriefing report of a Portuguese officer captured by the German forces in Northern Mozambique exposed the importance of the carriers: ‘Along the marches the carriers transport reserve ammunition, ambulance material, litters (sometimes with the wounded, until they reach the hospital). During the battles it is their duty to safeguard the arming, and, at the end, to collect the looting.’33 As the war’s death toll rose, and because casualties from disease and overwork had resulted in an acute shortage of carriers, the lack of food supplies and ammunition to the front posed a serious problem, especially after 1916 (Killingray and Matthews, 1979, pp. 8–9). Preliminary data available suggest that in Mozambique carriers supplied to the British amounted to over 30,000 whereas the Portuguese army counted the continuous support of more than 60,000 people (Azambuja Martins, 1934). Although the total number of carriers employed on this war front is difficult to account for, the forced recruitment of carriers had

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a devastating impact upon the populations of the region. The most important element to note is the number of carriers that perished: about 50,000. Compared to the official death toll of all Portuguese forces – 2,324 soldiers and officials (most of them succumbed to diseases), the death toll among carriers is appalling (Azambuja Martins, 1934, pp. 183–9). At the end of war the problems with forced enrolment were brought to the Paris peace conference (Moniz, 1919), a sign of its critical importance. Carriers’ working conditions were appalling. As several war diaries reveal, carriers, either members of traditional leaderships or peasants, had to follow the marching army, and were threatened with lashing or being killed (Marques, 2012, p. 211).34 The ‘requisition’ through forced labour of these men (and, in some reported cases, even women, who would follow their husbands35) withdrew them from agricultural work. Together with a persistent requisition of food supplies, a continuous demand for the payment of taxes, the devastation of war itself and a drought that occurred in 1919, the Northern war zones were transformed into disaster areas. All of this contributed to the spread of illness,36 famine and epidemic disease, leading, according to some Portuguese estimates, to a very high death toll among the local population (NeilTomlinson, 1977, pp. 120–1). WWI on the East African front, where the struggle lasted until the very end of the war, deeply damaged the local economies beyond the war’s end (Pélissier, 1987). Carriers bore the weight of war, the epitome of the colonial non-being. They had no name, no record and were not soldiers. Carriers were just mere references, and were not taken into consideration for the statistics of war. With the end of the war the survivors returned to their recruitment depots/regions for disbandment, and their traces were lost. African carriers were just shadows of war whose histories, trapped in the debris of Cariacó, waited to be told.

Conclusion WWI represented a turning point in Portugal’s relations with its African colonies. The end of the war brought about the enforcement of colonial policies, such as the implementation of labour laws, as well as the consolidation of the formal recruitment of an army of drafted Africans, a situation that would be replicated during the so-called colonial war, from 1963 until 1974. The relevant role of the Africans in WWI quickly slipped into the oblivion of war memories, without records for posterity documenting how they had lost their lives. But their importance,


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

confined to the pages of various publications, persistently insists on paying them homage: Through all this the German native soldier has served his master most faithfully. … If the Germans ever get back their lost colonies we and the rest of the world are counting disaster; for the German, having found out what a wonderfully fine soldier the negro makes, will at the first opportunity form a vast colonial Black army, which will be a menace, not only to the rest of Africa, but to the whole of the world. Without the aid of Negro troops the Allies would never have been able to drive von Lettow out of German East Africa. The Empire owes more recognition than has up to date been given to the Negro soldier for all that he has been had to endure for the sake of the Empire. (Downes, 1919, p. 288) History is made of presences and absences, with forgetting and silencing at the core of the colonial project. As a result, modern colonial abyssal fracture (Santos, 2007, pp. 48–50) continues to divide the world, reinforcing mutually excluding distinctions: the realities that occur(ed) in the colonial world could never incorporate the norms, references, peoples, labours and knowledges that make sense, and are referred to, in the civilized world. In political terms this ideology transformed the inhabitants of the colonial territories into colonial subjects, administered through unequal legal systems, immobilized in rigid legal categories and submitted to merciless assimilation processes imposed by the colonial metropolis given the impossibility of coexistence on both sides of the abyssal fracture. As this chapter underlines, colonial relations were at the core of the onset of modern institutions in African contexts, an aspect generally rendered invisible and inaudible in most analysis of modern conflicts. The dominant, Western narrative of WWI fails to consider ‘other’ participations (their reasons, trajectories and implications) exactly because it privileges a Eurocentric and linear approach to that war, recognizing as lawful combatants essentially only the expeditionary forces that fought on the European front. Thus, the silence about African troops in Mozambique during WWI re-enacts an abyssal line, marking the radical separation between the metropolitan world and the colonial world. The ignorance in the global North of many aspects and episodes of the utter violence associated with WWI experiences in African contexts is a good indicator of the tenacity of abyssal thinking in the contemporary world. And the historical invisibilization of colonial

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violence reveals that colonialism as a social relationship persists beyond the end of colonialism as a political relationship (Santos, 2004). This chapter sought to challenge the persistent attempts by adepts at abyssal thinking to colonize and to silence the memory of WWI, by imposing a single, hegemonic and Eurocentric interpretation of this war. Aiming to ‘give voice’, to make visible the Africans’ participation in WWI, we attempted to broaden the theorizing of interrelationships and dynamics between colonial projects, laws, institutions, and historical processes and their narratives, to propose a more complex reading over war, violence and modern colonialism. World (Eurocentric) history became the imperial road to power and domination. Through a single-voice history, colonizers drew a sort of cordon sanitaire between them and the colonizers; this demarcation accentuates the unambiguous domain of the colonial: violence, silencing and appropriation. The combined violence of the forced enlisting of Africans to fight a foreign war and of the legal system that imposed forced labour, allowed for the Portuguese to secure their colonial power in Mozambique. But this very legislative system broadened the existing structure of social hierarchy based upon racial differences with the formal establishment of an extremely restrictive and profoundly hierarchical identity in which alterity became identified with the primitive. The colonial discourses and the legislative practices dictated who was native or non-native, a legal condition by which everyone had to abide. These lawful procedures symbolized Portugal’s old power to create the category of natives, legally consecrating the rupture between citizens and Indigenous, with each group being served by distinct normative systems. It was precisely this assumption of Portuguese colonial policy that Sousa Santos (2007, p. 4) recognizes to be the structural factor of the abyssal thought, ‘the impossibility of the co-presence of both sides of the line’. In other words, the systems of social regulation for the use of the natives in Mozambique veered towards a peripheral geopolitical location conducive to processes of scientific and political neglect, separating the conflicts and the instances that mediated them from contemporaneity. By exposing Africans’ participation in WWI as an epistemological violence, this chapter aimed at challenging the ‘stable’ narratives about this war – narratives that order our vision and support the hierarchies of analysis used. By questioning, at its core, the idea of silencing and invisibilizing as fundamental elements of modern Eurocentric historical structuring – that aims to perpetuate a single perspective about the present past – we sought to demonstrate that such a monocultural


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hegemonic perspective can be challenged by a lens that enables a situating, positioning, and locating politics (Haraway: 1991, p. 186). A relational world is all about a heterogeneous history, combining, in a dialogical way, located, active and specific events and actors. Knowing, seeing, witnessing, attesting and speaking always flows from a particular body, located in a particular time and space, both literally and relationally. As has been argued elsewhere (Meneses, 2010, 2011), what is required is a narrative made of interconnected histories, locally and regionally articulated, challenging the (pre)dominant assumptions from a post-colonial perspective. This theoretical and methodological shift will challenge the idea of a singular narrative of the historical trajectory applied to the current diversity of contemporary societies, thus responding to the growing concern to recover silenced histories from various locations. After all, at the core of modern nations, acts of extreme violence can always be found – a fact that is reflected on the battlefields, in strongholds, in the war memorials that dominate most nations’ lists of historical monuments, as well as in the naming of streets. But the persistent silence about African men and women in colonial wars is evidence of a heritage of a broader conflict – the violent colonial encounter – that remains to be addressed in all its complexity.

Notes 1. This chapter was completed in the framework of two research projects: ALCORA – New Perspectives from the Colonial War: Secret Alliances and imagined maps (funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia) and ALICE – Strange Mirrors, Unsuspected Lessons (, coordinated by Boaventura de Sousa Santos (funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement no. 269807). 2. One of the main problems for the political and economic administration of colonial Mozambique, intimately connected with the labour exploitation, was the question of transportation. In a territory with little, if any, transport infrastructure, the labour force became the key element for carrying goods and people. This also applied to the military, as no military operations could be successful without recruited carriers that had to be trained and organized for transporting guns, ammunition, food and other supplies, and the wounded. 3. This situation is found in other towns of Eastern Africa, such as Nairobi in Kenya, which includes a neighbourhood named ‘Kariakor’; or the ‘Kariakoo’ in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (Hodges, 1997).

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4. For a broader overview of this topic see Downes (1919), Lettow-Vorbeck (1920), Pires (1924), Gomes da Costa (1925), Costa (1932), Pélissier (1987), Arrifes (2004), Afonso (2008), Correia (2010) and Marques (2012). 5. African units were mobilized in previous European wars: for example, in the Crimean War (1854–56), in the Italian war in 1859 and in the FrancoPrussian war in 1870–71. 6. This conference came to symbolize the formalization of the ‘scramble’ for the African continent by European powers. The emergence of modern colonization led to the elimination of most existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance. 7. In the Conference, Portugal would claim its ‘historical rights’ to large regions of the continent. However, because of the condition of the ‘formal occupation’ of the continent, most of its claims were not recognized and this forced Portugal to begin a series of military campaigns and ‘diplomatic’ activities to justify its presence in the territories of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea. 8. Britain would control about 36 per cent of the continent; France, 30 per cent; Portugal, 7 per cent; Belgium and Germany, about 8 per cent of the territory each; and Italy, 7 per cent. 9. This would justify the series of voyages of exploration carried out in the continent during the second half of the nineteenth century. 10. Because in South-eastern Africa, Islam and other traditional religious beliefs (including Christianity) were present, European colonialists felt, by the late nineteenth century, that there was a definite need to proselytize and convert Africans to ‘true Christianity’, based upon Eurocentric interpretations of the Gospel. 11. Although sharing different elements, the images of Europe and Africa produced since the mid 1800s strongly mirrored the colonial contacts that they would share with distinct power relationships: both sought to assert and identify alterity. 12. This Code followed, in defining the category of ‘native’, previous legislation; at the same time, it became the legal source in outlining the radical segregation between the Europeans (‘civilized’ citizens), and the natives (Blacks, defined racially, without political rights, devoid of citizenship). For example, in 1914, the native was defined as ‘the son of a father and mother belonging to native races of Africa, but also those people who, sharing the physical traits of those races, cannot prove to have a different ascendency’ (Provincial Ordinance no. 2292 of 7 December 1914). 13. According to the Code, all male natives between the ages of 14 and 60 had to pay taxes and prove they were engaged in wage labour. Initially women would be exempted from this obligation, but soon they were also dragged into forced labour in order to pay taxes due in situations where they were the breadwinners. 14. See the General Code of the Indigenous Labour in the Portuguese Colonies of 14 October 1914. 15. The territories of the contemporary provinces of Niassa and Cabo Delgado. The company was active between 1890 and 1929, with British, French, South African and German capitals.


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16. ‘Local Whites’ (brancos da terra) was the term used to refer to Whites or very light-skinned people born in Mozambique. See Boletim da Companhia do Nyassa no. 133 of 31 March 1909. 17. The prazos da coroa (grants of crown land) were large properties owned by the Portuguese in central Mozambique. These large estates, leased to Portuguese women for three generations, became the main form of Portuguese control in the Zambezi basin until the twentieth century. On this topic, see Newitt, 1969. 18. See, on this subject, among others, Coutinho (1941), Isaacman (1982), Pélissier (1987) and Newitt (1995). 19. For a characterization of Portuguese military forces in Mozambique, see Teixeira Botelho (1921). Although little quantitative data is available, Isaacman (1982) states that during the critical occupation campaigns in the Zambezi valley, at the end of the nineteenth century, more than 90 per cent of the soldiers on the colonial side were Africans. 20. Also, with the labour laws, traditional leaderships, the disabled and those who had served in the Portuguese army would be exempted from the fulfilment of compulsory work from the early twentieth century on, confirming the ‘nationalization’ of the African population in the colonies. 21. The word comes from the Arabic askarı¯ meaning ‘soldier’; this expression is present along the Eastern African Swahili coast with the same meaning. 22. The term sepoy (cipaio in portuguese) derived from the Persian word sipa¯h meaning ‘infantry soldier’. It later came to be used to refer to irregular, non-European units. 23. Translating from Portuguese into the local languages, the so-called línguas. 24. See Downes (1919), Faustino (1920), Lettow-Vorbeck (1920), Teixeira Botelho (1921), Azambuja Martins (1936), Hodges (1997), Arrifes (2004) and Hespanha (2010). 25. See also Mozambique National Archives, Fundo do Governo Geral, Cx.41, ‘Circular do Gabinete do Governador Geral aos Governadores Distritais e companhias do Nyassa e Moçambique’ of 15 August 1914 and Evening Post, ‘Germany’s wants: Professor Delbruck’s indictment’, 7 March 1912. 26. In Mozambique the skirmishes occurred in August 1914, with the German forces attempting to occupy a small military post in a remote area along the Rovuma river (Mozambique National Archives, Fundo do Governo Geral. Cx.1; ‘Telegrama do Governador do Nyassa para o Governador-Geral’ of 10 August 1914; ‘Portuguese translation of a German document about Maziua’, 3 September 1914; Copy of the ‘Informação do Alferes Francisco Augusto Ferreira Júnior about Mazíua’, 29 September 1914). 27. The agreement over the demarcation of borders had been signed a couple of years earlier, in 1909, between the two European powers. However, Portugal never accepted that the Rovuma river mouth stayed under German control, and the area remained a matter of contention, solved only after the war with the integration of ‘Kionga triangle’ into Mozambique’s territory (Pires, 1924; Gomes da Costa, 1925, pp. 73, 91). 28. This option for a guerrilla strategy included attacking non-military targets, and episodes of armed robbery. With this tactic he avoided direct confrontation with the enemy, opting for attacking its weak points in the rear.

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29. Boletim da Companhia do Nyassa, Suplemento ao nº 175: ‘A coluna contra o Mataca’, 18 October 1912. 30. By early 1918 nearly all British White and Indian infantry units had been posted out of the East African war theatre also for health reasons (Downes, 1919). 31. This amounted to roughly 48 per cent of the forces on this front – much less than the African forces in the German contingent. 32. These cases would be raised by the British during the Paris peace conference, leading to an in-depth investigation on the conditions of forced labour in Mozambique (Hespanha, 2010). 33. Quartel general da Colónia de Moçambique (1919). Resposta do capitão de Infantaria Sr. Manuel João Afonso, ao questionário que lhe foi feito sobre os factos que observou enquanto esteve prisioneiro dos alemães. July 1919 (private collection). 34. Several reports refer to situations in which the carriers were hanged as a means of solving the problem of the potential excess of unloyal prisoners. 35. Women would carry the house equipment, being in charge of food preparation for their families (especially in the case of irregular troops such as the askaris and the cipaios). 36. The records cite cases of smallpox, sleeping sickness, venereal disease, dysentery and influenza.

References Afonso, A. (2008) Grande Guerra: Angola, Moçambique e Flandres 1914–1918 (Lisboa: Quidnovi Editora). Alexandre, V. (2000) Velho Brasil, Novas Áfricas. Portugal e o Império (1808–1975) (Porto: Afrontamento). Allina-Pisano, E. (2012) Slavery By Any Other Name: African Life under Company Rule in Colonial Mozambique (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press). Arendt, H. (1968) ‘Truth in Politics’ in Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought (New York: Penguin Books). Arrifes, M. F. (2004) A Primeira Guerra Mundial na África Portuguesa: Angola e Moçambique (1914–1918) (Lisboa: Cosmos). Azambuja Martins, E. (1934) ‘A Campanha de Moçambique’ in F. Martins (ed.) Portugal na Grande Guerra (Lisboa: Atica), vol. 2, pp. 183–9. Azambuja Martins, E. (1936) O Soldado Africano de Moçambique (Lisboa: Agência Geral das Colónias). Borges Coelho, J. P. (2002) ‘African Troops in the Portuguese Colonial Army, 1961–1974: Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique’, Portuguese Studies Review, 10 (1), 129–50. Cértima, A. de (1924) Epopeia Maldita: o Drama da Guerra d’Africa (Lisboa: Portugal-Brasil Depositária). Companhia do Nyassa (1912) Sobre a Situação da Companhia em Dezembro de 1911 (Lisboa: Typographia ‘A Editora’). Correia, M. (2010) ‘Norte de Moçambique, 1886–1918: Soberania, Dominação e Administração Coloniais’ (Maputo: MA thesis submitted to the Faculty of Education, Pedagogic University).


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Costa, E. A. F. (1901) ‘Estudo sobre a Administração Civil nas Nossas Possessões Africanas’ in Boletim da Sociedade de Geographia de Lisboa, 19 (7–12), 535–761. Costa, M. (1932) É o Inimigo que Fala: Subsídios Inéditos para o Estudo da Campanha da África Oriental, 1914–1918 (Lourenço Marques: Imprensa Nacional). Coutinho, J. A. (1941) Memórias de um Velho Marinheiro e Soldado de África (Lisboa: Bertrand). Depelchin, (2005) J. Silences in African History: Between the Syndromes of Discovery and Abolition (Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers). Downes, W. D. (1919) With the Nigerians in German East Africa (London: Methuen and Co). Ennes, A. (1946) ‘O Trabalho Indígena e o Crédito Agrícola’ in Antologia Colonial Portuguesa, 1, Política e administração (Lisboa: Agência Geral das Colónias) [1st edn 1899]. Ennes, A. (1971) Moçambique: Relatório Apresentado ao Governo (Lisboa: Agência Geral do Ultramar) [1st edn 1893]. Fanon, F. (1963) The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove Weidenfeld). Faustino, F. A. (1920) Monografia da 10ª Companhia Indígena de Infantaria pelo Tenente de Infantaria da Mesma Unidade (Lisboa: Mimeo). Gomes da Costa, M. O. (1925) A Guerra nas Colónias, 1914–1918 (Lisboa: A. Brandão). Haraway, D. (1991) Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge). Hespanha, A. M. (2010) ’Um Relatório Inédito sobre as Violências Portuguesas na Frente Moçambicana da I Grande Guerra’, Africana Studia, 14 (1), 163–97. Hodges, G. (1997) Kariakor – The Carrier Corps: the Story of the Military Labour Forces in the Conquest of German East Africa, 1914–1918 (Nairobi: Nairobi University Press). Isaacman, A. (1982) Mozambique: The Africanization of a European Institution, the Zambezi Prazos (1750–1902) (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press). Killingray, D. and J. Matthews (1979) ‘Beasts of Burden: British West African Carriers in the First World War’, Canadian Journal of African Studies, 13 (1/2), 7–23. Lettow-Vorbeck, P. von (1920) My Reminiscences of East Africa (Nashville, TN: Battery Classics). Macamo, E. (2006) ‘Denying Modernity: the Regulation of Native Labour in Colonial Mozambique and its Postcolonial Aftermath’ in E. Macamo (ed.) Negotiating Modernity: Africa’s Ambivalent Experience (London and Dakar: Zed and CODESRIA). Marnoco e Sousa, A. J. F. (1906) Administração Colonial (Coimbra: Typographia França Amado). Marques, R. (2012) Os Fantasmas do Rovuma: a Epopeia dos Soldados Portugueses em África na 1ª Guerra Mundial (Lisboa: Oficina do Livro). Mbembe, A. (2002) ‘African Modes of Self-Writing’, Public Culture, 14(1), 239–73. Medeiros, E. C. (1997) História de Cabo Delgado e do Niassa, c. 1836-1929 (Maputo: Central Impressora). Meneses, M. P. (2010) ‘O “Indígena” Africano e o Colono “Europeu”: a Construção da Diferença por Processos Legais’, E-cadernos CES, 7, 68–93, http://www.

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177 23_06.pdf, accessed 12 July 2011. Meneses, M. P. (2011) ‘Images Outside the Mirror? Mozambique and Portugal in World History’, Human Architecture, 9, 121–37. Moniz, E. (1919) Um Ano de Política (Lisboa: Portugal-Brasil, Sociedade Editora). Monnerville, G., L. Sédar-Senghor and A. Césaire (1948) Commémoration du Centenaire de l’Abolition de l’Esclavage: Discours Prononcés à la Sorbonne le 27 Avril 1948 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France). Mouzinho de Albuquerque, J. (1889) ‘A Reorganização dos Exércitos Ultramarinos’, Revista Militar, 41 (7). Mudimbe, Y. V. (1994) The Idea of Africa (Bloomington: Indiana University Press). Neil-Tomlinson, B. (1977) ‘The Nyassa Chartered Company: 1891–1929’, Journal of African History, 18 (1), 109–28. Newitt, M. (1969) ‘The Portuguese on the Zambezi: An Historical Interpretation of the Prazo System’, Journal of African History, 10 (1), 67–85. Newitt, M. (1995) A History of Mozambique (London: Hurst & Co.). Ornellas, A. de (1901) Raças e Línguas Indígenas de Moçambique (Lisboa: A Liberal). Pélissier, R. (1987) História de Moçambique: Formação e Oposição (1854–1918), Vol. I (Lisboa: Editorial Estampa). Pezarat Correia, P. (2000) ‘A Participação Local no Desenvolvimento das Campanhas: o Recrutamento Africano’ in Instituto de Altos Estudos Militares (ed.) Estudos sobre as Campanhas de África, 1961–1974 (Estoril: Atena). Pires, J. A. (1924) A Grande Guerra de Moçambique (Porto: self-published). Sousa Santos, B. de (2004) The World Social Forum: A User’s Manual, http://www., accessed 20 June 2013. Sousa Santos, B. de (2007) ‘Beyond Abyssal Thinking: From Global Lines to Ecology of Knowledges’, Review Fernand Braudel Center, XXX (1), 45–89. Teixeira Botelho, J. J. (1921) História Militar e Política dos Portugueses em Moçambique de 1833 aos Nossos Dias (Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade). Vilhena, E. J. de (1905) Relatórios e Memórias sobre os Territórios da Companhia do Nyassa (Lisboa: A Editora). Vincent-Smith, J. D. (1974) ‘The Anglo-German Negotiations over the Portuguese Colonies in Africa, 1911–1914’, The Historical Journal, 17 (3), 620–9. White, L. (2000) ‘Telling More: Lies, Secrets, and History’, History and Theory, 39 (4), 11–22.

10 Conceptual Clarity, Please! On the Uses and Abuses of the Concepts of ‘Slave’ and ‘Trade’ in the Study of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery Kwame Nimako

Introduction In the material real world the transatlantic ‘slave’ trade and slavery took place between the sixteenth and the twentieth centuries. However, the issues surrounding the transatlantic slave trade and slavery have become far more enduring than many people thought. This is true in the academy and scholarship, and it is also true in a wide range of public institutions and in a wide range of communities. This chapter is an attempt to contribute to, and address, some of the questions related to why the issues surrounding the transatlantic slave trade and slavery have not yet gone away. And why they are not likely to go away anytime soon. At the surface it is a paradox that the further we get from Atlantic slavery the more efforts are made to remember it, to commemorate it and to force it into the public realm (Small, 1994; Nimako and Willemsen, 2011; Nimako and Small, 2012). This is true in the Netherlands right now, just as it was true in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, and in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s (Small, 1994). One reason for this is that by the time slavery was legally abolished, the enslaved had already been labelled, represented and misrepresented. It thus appears that to address the question of how to deal with this history is more relevant than how to bury this history. This is true for 178

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the case of career historians. But we believe that it is also true with regard to social movements where demands that this history be told are also common. This chapter reflects on the way the concepts of ‘slave’ and ‘trade’ have been used in the study of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery and, by extension, the current advocacy around so-called modern slavery. Some concepts are grounded on concrete situations and can be distinguished from other concepts that claim to be grounded on similar situations; this is the case of concepts such as ‘slave’, ‘trade’, slavery, and can even be extended to concepts such as manumission, abolition and emancipation. One of the rationales for this exercise is that concepts are not just words; they are constructed to grasp a generalized situation and to refer to something that is happening on the ground. With regard to the ‘slave trade’, there seem to be a disjuncture between the concepts of ‘slave’ and ‘trade’ and the empirical basis for those concepts. The concept of ‘slave’ suggests that African slaves were traded; I will argue below that the empirical bases for such assertions are weak. The concept of trade is also based on collaboration theory. Here also I argue that the empirical bases for such assertions are weak. I consider these as an abuse of the concepts of slave and trade. The first empirical argument against the use of the concept slave is that people did not voluntarily give themselves up to be enslaved in the age of slavery; this factor should be the beginning and the end of the slavery narrative. In other words, people were kidnapped and transported, and many of them became enslaved. But as Walter Rodney and others have already point out, a great number of those who were kidnapped and transported never became enslaved (Rodney, 1974). A very large number were killed, took their own lives or escaped before they could arrive at the plantations of the Americas. My central argument in this chapter is that there are several forms of servitude and exploitation; but not all of them can and should be classified as, or subsumed under ‘slavery’. The current discourse on so-called ‘modern slavery’ is therefore misplaced and misleading. In this chapter I plead for the re-evaluation of the concept of ‘slave trade’ in the historical narrative because the concept of slave was imposed on material real human captives. By the time the enslaved became legally free, the concept of slave had been institutionalized; the captives and enslaved had been represented and misrepresented: they had been branded as other peoples’ slaves. Do we have to address and engage this historical fraud, or ignore it as if nothing has happened, in our understanding of the world then and now? I plead for engagement. This is why we should continue to review the evidence and narratives. I


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conclude by insisting on conceptual clarity because if every exploitative condition can be subsumed under slavery, then the concept of slavery itself becomes meaningless.

Captivity and labelling Many countries in Africa, Europe and the Americas currently acknowledge the place of the transatlantic ‘slave’ trade and slavery and its legacy in their histories during the past 400 years. Each region has acknowledged the part that it played in this unequal global division of labour. As I have argued elsewhere, Europe became the location of ideas, design, planning and innovations in the transatlantic ‘slave’ trade and slavery; Africa became the source of banditry, abduction and the captivity of vulnerable peoples; the Caribbean and the Americas became the sites of production by enslaved labour; again, to complete the circle, Europe became the destination of the consumption of the goods the enslaved produced (Nimako and Willemsen, 2011). In other words, for more than 200 years the Americas became the farm and mines of Europe. All elements of this network of nations and international relationships were irrepressibly racialized (Banton, 1977; Miles, 1982). First, it is on record that after Columbus arrived in what were to become the Americas in 1492, Europeans expropriated land. This was followed by European states’ decision to enslave others. From the location of Europe, three elements were crucial for the design, planning and innovations in the transatlantic ‘slave’ trade and slavery, namely: (1) who should be enslaved, (2) how to enslave some people, and (3) how to justify enslavement. The records of the infamous debate between Bartolomé de Las Casas (1484–1566) and Ginés de Sepúlveda (1494–1573) in the School of Salamanca in the 1550s have given us some insight into the thinking of the period. The debate is well known and is not supposed to detain us here; however, for the record let us re-state it briefly. In the formulation of Grosfoguel and Mielants (2006), Las Casas argued that ‘Indians’ should be incorporated in the encomienda (a form of semi-feudal, coerced labour) and called for Africans to replace them as slaves in the plantations. After all, Africans were characterized by Las Casas not only as ‘people without religion’ but also as ‘people without soul’ (Grosfoguel and Mielants, 2006, p. 3). Viewed in the context of religion, the debate was essentially about what constitutes a ‘sin’. In plain language, Las Casas and de Sepúlveda wanted to satisfy themselves if the subjects of the King of Spain, whom they represented, could live with their conscience after they had killed

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people. In order to circumvent this, they had to dehumanize other people; the decision to reserve enslavement to Africans made ‘race as the organizing principle of Atlantic slavery’ (Nimako and Willemsen, 2011). It should be mentioned, however, that the abduction and captivity of Africans predate the arrival of Columbus in the Americas in 1492 and the circumvention of Vasco da Gama of Africa to Asia in 1498. Available information indicates that When the Portuguese explored the African coast during the fifteenth century, they frequently captured Africans. Ten Africans were taken from the Mauritanian coast in 1441, and 240 were shipped to Lisbon three years later. As the Portuguese moved farther South to more populated areas, they discovered that Africans skillfully maneuvered their coastal vessels and defended themselves well against slave raids. Subsequently, the Portuguese decided to negotiate peace treaties with African rulers and trade with them. This became standard practice, and most slaves were purchased from African merchants and shipped to European markets. (Postma, 2003, p. 5; emphasis added) Note that in the above quotation there is mention of African rulers without their names. The assumption here is that European rulers supported the enterprise, thus African rulers must have felt the same. It is also on record that in the Americas, Europeans continued to trade among themselves in African captives and enslaved; there were no Africans involved. In other words, the decision to participate in the slavery business; to decide on who should be enslaved and who not (Las Casas); to allow companies to outfit ships purposely designed to hold African captives; to assist and protect companies to make voyages to Africa to collect captives; to transport the captives to the Americas and settle them on plantations; to coerce the captives to work without contract and consent; to baptize them as slaves; and transport the goods the enslaved produced to Europe and around the world was taken in Europe. All these required the active support of European rulers in the form of decision-making, the state through taxation and its citizens through employment. Second, Africa became the source of banditry, abduction and the captivity of vulnerable peoples (Rodney, 1974). The African component of this process is referred to as slave trade. Actually, some refer to these activities as the African Slave Trade, which is contrary to the evidence (Davidson, 1980; Wallace, 2006). We know that there were no Africans involved in trading African captives in Curaçao and other locations


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in the Americas. Why not call it the European slave trade? In fact the concept of ‘slave trade’ was imposed on captives. There is no evidence, even from the sources of the enslavers, that the Africans who were chained and transported across the Atlantic were slaves in Africa before they arrived in the Americas. What is the empirical basis of the notion of slave trade or the term slave trade? Let us review some of the evidence. Recall that Postma states in the above quotation that ‘the Portuguese decided to negotiate peace treaties with African rulers and trade with them. This became standard practice, and most slaves were purchased from African merchants and shipped to European markets.’ The evidence does not support Postma and other career historians’ interpretations of this history. This is all the more so since the same Portuguese sources also inform us that in 1526 the ruler of Congo (called, Nzingo Mbemba, but known in Portugal as Afonso) sent the following message to the King of Portugal, João III: Each day the traders are kidnapping our people – children of this country, sons of our nobles and vassals, even people of our own family … This corruption and depravity are so widespread that our land is entirely depopulated … We need in this kingdom only priests and schoolteachers, and no merchandise, unless it is wine and flour for Mass … It is our wish that the kingdom not be a place for the trade or transport of slaves. (Hochschild, 2006 [1998], p. 13; emphasis added) The above statement does not indicate that African rulers and ‘merchants’ were happy collaborators of a trade circuit as has been mentioned in Postma’s account and repeated in textbooks. In fact, later the same year (1526) the ruler of Congo sent another message to the King of Portugal on the same issue in the following words: Many of our subjects eagerly lust after Portuguese merchandise that your subjects have brought into our domains. To satisfy this inordinate appetite, they seize many of our Black free subjects … They sell them … after taken these prisoners [to the coast] secretly or at night … As soon as the captives are in the hands of White men they are branded with a red-hot iron. (Hochschild, 2006 [1998], p. 13; emphasis added) To this King João III replied: You … tell me that you want no slave trading in your domain, because this trade is depopulating your country … The Portuguese there, on

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the contrary, tell me how vast the Congo is, and how it is so thickly populated that it seems as if no slave has ever left. (Hochschild, 2006 [1998], p. 14; emphasis added) Again, for the record, the reader should take note of the choice of words. The ruler of that territory, Nzingo Mbemba, did not speak of slaves, but the Portuguese King João III spoke of slaves. This is also a lesson in international diplomacy. It appears that the problem Nzingo Mbemba was facing was that he naively thought that the Portuguese king was his ‘friend’ and that they were equal. What the above communication reveals however is that nobody gave himself or herself up voluntary to be enslaved. If such an act took place it would negate the notion of slave. Thus underneath slavery is an act of violence. The political irony is that during the parliamentary debates in Britain to abolish the slave trade, those in favour of abolishing the trade on humanitarian grounds, such as the Solicitor General, Sir Samuel Romilly, referred to the topic as the African Slave Trade, whereas those in favour of the continuation of the slave trade, such as the Liverpool MP General Isaac Gascoyne knew it was about the European Slave Trade. And General Gascoyne did not mince his words when he said: ‘if the Trade be inhuman, which I do not admit, you will not diminish the evil by the Abolition’ (New African, 2011, p. 41). I argue that it is more accurate and more analytically insightful to regard this entire business as a European slave trade, not an African slave trade. Third, the Caribbean and the Americas became the sites of production by enslaved labour (James, 1980 [1938]; Williams, 1994 [1944]). It is in the processes of production that the horrors of slavery find their expression. This entails repression, pacification and resistance. In this context repression implies the violence of coerced labour and whipping; pacification implies the use of Christianity selectively to persuade the enslaved to accept their status as God’s wishes; resistance implies escaping enslavement or adopting survival strategies in the context of enslavement. But slavery was more than a labour practice; it required a legal framework that classified entire populations into free and unfree people. This legal framework transformed the status of the African captives to that of enslaved Africans and labelled them as slaves. This process became institutionalized and involved the abduction of some Africans, holding them in captivity, and forcibly transporting them to the Caribbean and the Americas to work under coercion without contract, consent or pay so that the goods the enslaved produced could be transported to Europe and elsewhere for consumption (Fogel, 1989).


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

I speak here consciously of some Africans because in the context of the ‘science’ of slavery, namely, design, planning, classification, standardization and measurement, not all Africans were eligible for enslavement according to the criteria that were set up by the European enslavers. Generally babies, older people above and around 35 years of age, the sick and disabled in Africa were exempted from kidnapping and captivity for enslavement. Even for those that were abducted, when examined at the port of the dungeons and found ‘unhealthy’ for hard labour were left and let go. At that stage they were captives and could be released. However, Africans of all ages and physical condition who lived in the Caribbean and the Americas in the age of the Atlantic slavery were or could be classified as slaves by those who held them in captivity. In fact, all people of colour were presumed to be ‘slaves’ until or unless they could prove otherwise; and all Whites were presumed to be free. This brings us to the notion of ‘enslaved’. Apparently, whereas those who enslaved others may classify their subjects as ‘slaves’, those who are subjected to slavery may classify themselves as ‘enslaved’. The enslaved do not necessarily accept their status as slaves. The enslaved are therefore those who are being treated as slaves by those who hold them in captivity. This is worth mentioning because the use of the concept of ‘slave’ or ‘enslaved’ as an analytical tool has implications for power relations and conclusions that can be drawn. Fourth, Europe became the destination of the consumption of the goods that the enslaved produced (Williams, 1994 [1944]). In other words, for more than 200 years not only did the Americas serve as a farm and mines for Europe but also modern European expansion and colonization was also a consequence of rivalry among Europeans (Palmer and Colton, 1978; Tilly, 1986 and 1990). As part of the process of state formation in Europe, the European countries that were involved in the Atlantic ‘slave’ trade and slavery did so under national flags. Also the lands that were acquired to put the enslaved to work without consent and contract were acquired in the name of specific European nations. In the process, European populations had to be mobilized to implement policies that facilitated the European slave trade and slavery. Moreover, the European countries developed laws that facilitated the ‘slave’ trade, slavery and colonization; an international legal framework was called into being that made the European slave trade and slavery a legitimate business enterprise in the eyes of European leaders and many of its citizens. The issue of whether it was legitimate in the eyes of the enslaved was entirely irrelevant to those with power.

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Legal abolition of slavery and its ‘moral’ reinvention Slavery is first and foremost a legal institution; but it is sustained through violence. And it is based on the apparatus of the state. Thus slavery and violence are intertwined; it therefore requires a legal act to abolish it. Haiti did this through a violent overthrow of French rule; Britain did this through a legal act; the US ended slavery through civil war. Before the advent of chattel slavery between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, various forms of servitude were considered as an extension or a product of war, predominantly between neighbouring peoples. With regard to Britain, Eric Williams has demonstrated that the first labour pool was drawn primarily from poor White men in Europe – including those who were captives of wars (for example, in Ireland), those who agreed to indenture, and those who were kidnapped from the taverns and streets of English cities (Williams, 1994 [1944]). But Williams reminds us that this supply of labour was neither abundant enough, nor cheap enough, nor, once it was in the Americas, controllable enough to meet the labour demands of the plantations. Another labour supply had to be found. Chattel slavery changed that. This is all the more relevant because what notions such as vassals, pawns, indentured servants and serfs have in common is that there is an element of ‘contract and consent’. This is why we need conceptual clarity. This is all the more so because slavery was reinvented immediately after its legal abolition in the Caribbean and the Americas. King Leopold II of Belgium took the lead and turned world attention away from post-slavery violence and racism in the Americas against freed Africans to Africa. In the context of state formation in Europe, when Belgium revolted and separated from the Netherlands in 1830, it took the Netherlands as its mirror. First, like the Netherlands, it also needed a king to count as a nation so it went to find one. Second, it needed economic development, especially to develop railways; at that time King Leopold II thought the best way to achieve that was to acquire a colony. This is so because he had observed that the Dutch were using forced labour in Indonesia to produce goods and extract wealth. After failing to buy colonies in South America and the Pacific Islands he observed that there was an area in Africa called the Congo that was not yet occupied or infiltrated by Britain, France or Germany. To do this he had to reinvent slavery, which had just been legally abolished in the Western hemisphere. But he had to do this discretely because, in his own words:


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I’m sure if I quite openly charge Stanley [the explorer] with the task of taking possession in my name of some part of Africa, the English will stop me. If I ask their advice, they’ll stop me just the same. So I think I will just give Stanley some job of exploration which would offend no one [that is, European rulers], and will give us the bases and headquarters which we can take over later on … I do not want to risk … losing a fine chance to secure for ourselves a slice of this magnificent African cake. (Hochschild, 2006 [1998], p. 58) Building on the information provided by Henry Stanley, the explorer, King Leopold diverted attention from his main objective, namely, to acquire a colony. First, he turned to Britain, which was celebrating its credentials as the nation of abolitionists and told Queen Victoria that he wanted to go and fight Arab slave trade in Africa, and the Queen gave her consent. Second, he turned to American rulers, who appeared undecided as to live with free Africans in a post-slavery society, and told them they could send them to Africa. King Leopold’s point man in his ‘magnificent cake’ enterprise was Henry Sanford, a former US envoy to Belgium. To this effect, Sanford gave a speech in New York in 1879 in which he said the king’s aim was ‘to found a chain of posts or hospices, both hospitable and scientific, which should serve as means of information and aid to travellers … and ultimately, by their humanizing influences, to secure the abolition of the traffic in slave’. His new International Association of the Congo should be compared with the ‘Society of the Red Cross’ (Hochschild, 2006 [1998], p. 66). Third, in the context of rivalry among European states, Leopold turned to France to assure them that they would get their share; at least it prevented the British from adding the Congo to their de facto ‘African possessions’. Finally he turned to the Germans to organize the Berlin conference who obliged. In other words, the concept of slave trade and slavery was used as a smokescreen, and for that matter abused the concept of slave and slavery, to acquire colonies to practice forced labour, in order to develop his country. In the process, King Leopold II took many initiatives and organized several conferences, including the formation of what he called the International African Association, and a Geographical Conference on 12 September 1876. He also became the honorary president of the Aborigines Protection Society, a venerable British human rights organization. According to Hochschild, to the king’s great satisfaction, Brussels was chosen as the location, for eight months of intermittent meetings starting in November 1889, for an Anti-Slavery Conference of the former enslaving nations, which blamed

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it on Arabs and Muslims (Hochschild, 2006 [1998], p. 92). The end result of these initiatives was the colonization of Africa, also referred to as the Scramble for Africa. In turn, colonization of Africa gave rise to African nationalism and decolonization after World War II and the emergence of the Cold War. Since the end of the Cold War, the concept of slavery has been re-invented and another movement has emerged in the West and continues to spread to other parts of the world. It operates under various names but in this chapter it can be referred to as the new anti-slavery movement (Nimako and Small, 2012). It claims its trajectory lays in the ‘old’ slave trade abolition movement of eighteenth- and nineteenthcentury Britain. The new anti-slavery movement has branches located in Britain and North America, is primarily White-led, and focuses on vulnerable groups across the world today, especially women and children in Africa and Asia. In terms of attention to slavery and its legacies, this movement is the most visible publicly of all. But in comparison with the movements that deal with the legacy of Atlantic slavery, such as commemoration, memory, reparations and museums, new anti-slavery movement is both distinctive and unique, because it remembers slavery primarily as a metaphor, and a foil, to highlight the smuggling and exploitation of what it defines as the ‘new slaves’ of the modern world. In other words its main focus is what it calls ‘modern slavery’, rather than the European slave trade in Africans, and the slave systems that developed across the Americas. In the process, it has appropriated the concerns of many people, organizations, governments, and international institutions and brought them under the simplified concept of ‘modern slavery’. Among the international organizations whose concerns have been appropriated are: the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Terre des Hommes. All these organizations are concerned with labour standards, child education and welfare. A recent New York Times report entitled ‘Children Toil in India’s Mines Despite Legal Ban’ featured a young boy who works as child labourer in a coalmine in India: Just two months before full implementation of a landmark 2010 law mandating that all Indian children between the ages of 6 and 14 be in school, some 28 million are working instead, according to Unicef. Child workers can be found everywhere – in shops, in kitchens, on farms, in factories and on construction sites. (New York Times, 2013)


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

Some of these child workers, if not all, have been incorporated into the new anti-slavery movement’s ‘modern slaves’ project. The new anti-slavery movement would count such a boy as part of their modern slaves; others who tend to be included in the ‘modern slaves’ project are some undocumented migrant workers. Analysts of so-called ‘modern slavery’ initially claimed that it was more prevalent in Third World countries; but they have expanded their scope to cover every country in the world. Their initial estimate of around 27 million ‘modern slaves’ in the world has also been expanded to 30 million (Bales, 1999; Crane, 2013). But irrespective of how one assesses their claims, the ‘modern slaves’ originate from the Third World and move to the First World of Europe and North America; this serves anti-immigrant groups and immigration officials in Europe and North America well. To cite one example, recently a Dutch television programme called Zembla featured a racial profiling case of visibly Black African migrants in the Netherlands. It was about a Dutch transport company that informs the police about visibly Black African migrants who clean houses in certain rich neighbourhoods in towns near Amsterdam. The police then follows and arrests them, labels them modern slaves and prepares to deport them. It should be noted that the Africans the Dutch police arrested were adults who wake up from their homes each day and go to work under an agreement with their employers and return to their homes. To label them modern slaves serves only a racist purpose. This is all the more so because legally resident Africans who are doing the same cleaning jobs are not referred to as modern slaves; but undocumented workers are referred to as modern slaves. This is all the more reason why we need conceptual clarity.

Conclusion In this chapter I have pleaded for engagement with the re-evaluation of the concept of ‘slave trade’ in the historical narrative and its effects in our understanding of the world then and now. More specifically, I have addressed how the concept of ‘slave’ was imposed on human captives, being institutionalized by the time the enslaved became legally free. The captives and enslaved had been branded as other peoples’ slaves. I have reviewed some of the evidence that confirms that nobody gave himself or herself up voluntary to be enslaved: underneath slavery there is violence. I argued that the concept of slavery was reinvented after the legal abolition of slavery, first at the end of the nineteenth century, and was

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reinvented again at the end of the twentieth century after the Cold War. The key concepts here are post-slavery and post-Cold War. What both ‘posts’ have in common is that they both shift the burden of responsibilities of slavery away from Europe and European descendants and place it on others, such as Arabs and Africans in the late nineteenth century and Africa and Asia after the Cold War in the late twentieth century and into the twenty-first century. In this post-slavery project, the only association Europeans and people of European descent have with slavery is its abolishing in the past and their continuing struggle to abolish it in the present. I consider this a dishonest enterprise and fundamental distraction from addressing the legacies of the European slave trade in the nations of the modern world. Legacies that can be found in nation-state formation, in national identities and cultural traditions, in the continued if always changing racisms that shape international and domestic relations and in the persisting fact that the further we get from slavery, the more the descendants of the enslaved want to talk about it and force it into the public realm. There is another reason why we need conceptual clarity. Chattel slavery was a legal institution backed by states and governments and cannot be reduced to labour exploitation of various forms as is done in post-slavery narratives. Labour exploitation cannot act as the starting point for the determinant of the existence and non-existence of slavery. Instead of developing new concepts to explain contemporary conditions of work and exploitation, the new anti-slavery movement is exploiting emotions by making reference to a highly distorted notion of slavery. This is a dishonest enterprise at best and an insult at worst to those whose ancestors lived under European initiated and designed chattel slavery. It is also a sign of intellectual laziness. Thus throughout this chapter, all mention of ‘slave trade’ and ‘slavery’ refers to the abduction and enslavement of Africans in the so-called ‘New World’ of the Americas from 1500 through the 1880s. I find that in contemporary discourses, academic and public, the notions of ‘slave trade’ and ‘slavery’ have become conceptually inflated and universalized in ways that often act as an impediment to their analysis. I have argued elsewhere that the abuse of the concept of slavery is partly a consequence of parallel lives and intertwined belonging (Nimako and Willemsen, 2011). By parallel lives and intertwined belongings I mean a people who share the same space but have different experiences and memories. With regard to the transatlantic ‘slave’ trade, we see that the captives shared the same ship as their captors (that is, intertwined belonging) but the histories of how they boarded the ship and conditions


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

on the ship were fundamentally different (that is, parallel lives); in a similar vein the enslaved might have shared the same space on a plantation or a dwelling with the enslaver (that is, intertwined belonging) but the histories of how the enslaved and the enslaver ended up on the same space and the imposed division of labour by the latter on the former also differed fundamentally (that is, parallel lives). The formal abolition of slavery made citizenship (as opposed to common space) an intertwined belonging and parallel memories (as opposed to different experiences) parallel histories. These parallel histories and intertwined belongings in turn gave rise to different understanding and notions of freedom and emancipation; this has consequences for knowledge production and choice of concepts.

References Bales, K. (1999) Disposable People. New Slavery in the Global Economy (Berkeley: University of California Press). Banton, M. (1977) The Idea of Race (London: Tavistock). Crane, A. (2013) ‘Modern Slavery as a Management Practice: Exploring the Conditions and Capabilities for Human Exploitation’, Academy of Management Review, 38 (1), 49–69. Davidson, B. (1980) The African Slave Trade (London: Back Bay Books). Fogel, R. W. (1989) Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery (New York: W. W. Norton and Company). Grosfoguel, R. and E. Mielants (2006) ‘The Long-Duree Entanglement Between Islamophobia and Racism in the Modern/Colonial Capitalist/Patriarchal World-System: An Introduction’, Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, 1 (Fall), 1–12. Hochschild, A. (2006) King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa (London: Pan Books) [1st edn 1998]. James, C. L. R. (1980) The Black Jacobins. Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (London: Alison and Busby) [1st edn 1938]. Miles, R. (1982) Racism and Migrant Labour (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul). New African (2011) ‘Slavery: British MPs in Their Own Words’, 4 October, http://, accessed 20 January 2013. New York Times (2013) ‘Children Toil in India’s Mines Despite Legal Ban’, 26 February,, accessed 26 February 2013. Nimako, K. and G. Willemsen (2011) The Dutch Atlantic: Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation (London: Pluto Press). Nimako, K. and S. Small (2012) ‘Collective Memory of Slavery in Great Britain and The Netherlands’ in M. Schalkwijk and S. Small (eds) New Perspectives on Slavery and Colonialism in the Caribbean (Amsterdam: Amrit & NiNsee). Palmer, R. R. and Colton, J. (1978) A History of the Modern World (New York: Alfred A. Knopf).

Uses and Abuses of the Concepts of ‘Slave’ and ‘Trade’ 191 Postma, J. M. (2003) The Atlantic Slave Trade (Gainsville: University Press of Florida). Rodney, W. (1974) How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (Washington, DC: Howard University Press). Small, S. (1994) ‘Racist Ideologies’ in T. Tibbles (ed.) Transatlantic Slavery: Against Human Dignity (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press). Small, S. (1997) ‘Contextualizing the Black Presence in British Museums: Representations, Resources and Response’ in E. H. Greenhill (ed.) Museums and Multiculturalism in Britain (Leicester: Leicester University Press). Small, S. and J. Walvin (1994) ‘African Resistance to Enslavement’ in T. Tibbles (ed.) Transatlantic Slavery: Against Human Dignity (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press). Tilly, C. (1986) ‘War Making and State Making as Organized Crime’, in P. Evans, D. Rueschemeyer and T. Skocpol, (eds) Bringing the State Back In (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Tilly, C. (1990) Coercion, Capital and European State, AD 990–1990 (Cambridge: Blackwell). Wallace, E. K. (2006) The British Slave Trade & Public Memory (New York: Columbia University Press). Williams, E. (1994) Capitalism and Slavery (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press) [1st edn 1944].

11 Making the Teaching of AfroBrazilian and African History and Culture Compulsory: Tensions and Contradictions for Anti-racist Education in Brazil Nilma Lino Gomes

Introduction In the year of 2003, Law 10.639/03 was sanctioned in Brazil, making the teaching of Afro-Brazilian and African history and culture in public and private schools compulsory. The reach of this law goes beyond education: it addresses and questions the commitment of the government in building and implementing an anti-racist agenda in Brazil. According to Kabengele Munanga (2005), despite the richness and diversity of Brazilian culture, educators have not received the necessary preparation and training to deal with this. Manifestations of racism and discrimination, specifically against the Black population, repeatedly bring up questions and challenges pertaining to the act of teaching. This lack of preparation indubitably jeopardizes the effectuation of the right to education, for which teachers and the educational system as a whole are accountable. It is thus within the perceived need for the presence and positive representation of ethno-racial diversity that critical, political and pedagogical discussions about African and Afro-Brazilian culture and history are taking place. The understanding of the historical, political and cultural interchanges between the African continent and Brazil thus emerges as an important pedagogical initiative 192

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in the struggle against racism and in the formation of enquiring and emancipatory subjectivities. The situations of everyday racism constantly reported by the Black movement, portrayed by the media and experienced in public and private schooling attest that living with dignity is a right still to be achieved by Blacks, regardless of the pluri-ethnic and multiracial character of Brazilian society. The implementation of Law 10.639/03 and its legal ramifications takes place in this complex process. This set of legal and educational devices needs to be understood beyond the government’s institutional action and, most importantly, as the result of political struggles and historical claims by the Brazilian Black movement, which have had an emphasis on education. Its implementation has thus been revealing the advances and difficulties in the overcoming of racism in Brazil, while also attesting to the tensions and contradictions in the relationship between equality and recognition policies in Brazilian education, as explored in this chapter.

The sanctioning of Law 10.639/03 In the second half of the 1990s, the Black movement and Maroon (Quilombola) struggles for the recognition of Black identities, memory and history, as well as for the political and social participation of the Black population, increased pressure against the government and achieved some important advances. This process was intensified and articulated with a change in the federal government, in 2003, when the office was taken by a leftist party historically committed to the efforts of social movements and progressive unions. With its tensions, contradictions, advances and limits, this context made possible for the political, historical, cultural, social and economic issues experienced by the Brazilian Black population to be considered within diversity policies, notably in education. Since then, anti-racist education has begun taking a legitimate place in the legal and judiciary apparatus that organizes the Brazilian government. On 9 January 2003, then president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in one the first undertakings of his government, sanctioned Law 10.639/03, changing the Law of Directives and Bases for Education (LDB – Lei de Diretrizes e Bases da Educação Nacional, Law 9394/96),1 making the teaching of Afro-Brazilian history and culture compulsory in basic education in public and private schools.2 It also introduced 20 November as the National Black Awareness Day in school calendars. This new regulation had broader effects: in 2009, the National Plan for


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

the Implementation of National Curricular Directives for Ethno-Racial Relations Education, and for the Teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian History and Culture was proposed and approved by the Ministry of Education (MEC – Ministério da Educação), after a consultation process at national level, with the participation of the MEC, Brazilian representatives at UNESCO, Ethno-Racial Diversity Forums, Afro-Brazilian Studies Centres, managers, educators, researchers and Black movement militants. Also of significant importance in this process was the establishment of the National Curricular Directives for the Maroon School Education3 and, more broadly, Law 12.288/10, creating the Statute of Racial Equality.4 These gradual changes concerning the recognition of the rights of the Black population had repercussions beyond basic education. This can be seen in the decision by the Supreme Federal Court, on 26 April 2012, for the constitutionality of the principle of affirmative action and ethno-racial quotas in public universities, and for the approval of Law 12.711 (29 August 2012), which in its articles 3 and 5 established quotas in federal universities and technical schools for students from public schools who declare themselves Black, Brown or Indigenous. Therefore, it is possible to say that the changes in LDB by the 2003 Law 10.6395 and their forms of regulation are bound to the political and social processes of assuring the right to education and to the challenges of implementing an anti-racist educational policy. They re-qualify the discussion about the right to education, embodying in it the right to ethno-racial diversity. Its implementation as a public policy has been marked by a tense and complex path, although it is possible to perceive its potential for achieving programmes and initiatives aimed at sustaining policies of rights and reinforcing anti-racism in a broader perspective. These have been brought about with advances and limitations by the MEC and, in varying degrees, by the education system and college education institutions. However, given the responsibility of this ministry, of the education system, of schools, college education institutions, managers and educators in overcoming racism and in the construction of a positive representation of the Black population and our African ancestry, it is significant that the initiatives for an anti-racist policy in Brazilian education are still accomplished in an irregular fashion. Many are still restricted to governance, and not government actions. Law 10.639/03 and its legal ramifications must be understood in the complex sphere of Brazilian racial relations upon which they act. Its reach must go beyond the adoption of specific programmes and

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projects aimed at ethno-racial diversity undertaken in a random and discontinuous fashion. Rather, it needs to address racism in a more rigorous manner in the country’s educational goals, in the management of schools, in initial and in-service teacher training and in pedagogical and curricular procedures. It must aim, therefore, at the achievement of a radical change in universalist policies, to the extent of making every educational policy initiative in Brazil explicitly incorporate the principles of anti-racist education. In this process, it is necessary to note an important caveat: anti-racist legislation is the result of social struggles, not a government godsend. In Brazil, each and every public policy on this issue needs to account for the historic struggles of the Black population. They have been carrying out positive initiatives and practices preceding and inspiring the current affirmative action policies gradually implemented by the government. Accordingly, the discussion of the implementation of this legislative change towards an anti-racist education cannot relinquish a historical digression – albeit brief – about the context that made it possible in the Brazilian political scene. Hence, the recognition of the Black population’s social struggles for education – even before the enactment of such legislation – must be the first step in analyzing the construction of an anti-racist education in Brazil.

Black struggles for education in Brazil In Brazil, several specific strategies were developed by the Black population after the abolishment of slavery (1888) and the founding of the Republic (1889), which were intensified during the twentieth century (Gomes, 2009, pp. 43–7). It is actually possible to say that, as a result of the lack of public policies that would assure the right to education for a great portion of the population, Black people made their own efforts towards their schooling until the promulgation of the Federal Constitution of 1988 and the approval of the new Law of Directives and Bases for Education (Law 9394/96). Cruz (2005, p. 28) presents some of these strategies from the beginning of the twentieth century, such as the setting up of schools and courses: the Primary School in Clube Negro Flor de Maio de São Carlos (São Paulo), the Escola dos Ferroviários de Santa Maria (Rio Grande do Sul), the Escola da Frente Negra Brasileira (São Paulo), the promotion of literacy courses, of regular primary courses and a preparatory course for the gymnasium created by the Brazilian Black Front (Frente Negra Brasileira). The importance given to education by the Black leadership


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in the first half of the twentieth century in Brazil can also be seen when analyzing the Black press of São Paulo, especially between the decades of 1920 and 1930. Among the newspapers that circulated in the city of São Paulo at the time are: O Alfinete, O Kosmos, A Voz da Raça, o Clarim d’Alvorada, Getulino, Alvorada, o Progresso, O Propugnador and others. According to Gonçalves and Gonçalves e Silva (2000, p. 141), generally, these newspapers were either related to Black organizations or autonomous entities, such as Clarim d’Alvorada. Significantly, the Black press newspapers were part of an autonomous educational process of Black organizations, that is, a political answer to the government not assuring the free education of the Black population of the country. In education, the late 1940s and the 1950s were marked by a strong debate about public schooling and, at the same time, by the intense political action of the Black movement. Thus authors like Clóvis Moura (1988) named this process the Black Renaissance, which saw the upbringing of discussion groups and action against racism and racial prejudice. At the educational policy level, Dias (2005, p. 52) emphasizes that the inclusion of the Black population in public schools in the 1950s and 1960s was brought up as an argumentative device in the process of the making of Law 4024/61 (from 1947 to 1961). This issue was being generically referred to in the legal text, within the defence of universalist ideals for an ‘education for all’, in effect at the time. The period from 1960 to 1964 reveals the lack of studies on race in Brazilian education. It is known, however, that this was a very important time for the production of policies for the education of the youth and adults. Divisions of the Progressive Church, intellectuals and college students were involved in this process. It was a time of programmes and campaigns aimed at popular education and, therefore, the education of young and adult people (Veiga, 2007, p. 306). Considering the non-inclusion of Black people in several areas of social life after the abolishment of slavery in 1888, and the flux and reflux of this population in regards to school access, one may infer its strong presence among the recipients of educational offers for adults. After the establishment of the military dictatorship in 1964 and the promulgation of the Law of Directives and Bases for Education – Law 5692/71 – the racial question (seen as a condemnation of unequal treatment due to race) loses its place in the discussions about the principles that guide national education. This does not mean that the Black organizations demobilized and gave up fighting for the inclusion of Blacks in education and public policies. The initiatives of

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the Experimental Black Theatre (TEN – Teatro Experimental do Negro), which were unrelenting up to 1968, are worth mentioning. Brazilian Black organizations in the 1960s and 1970s demanded answers from the government regarding national issues and educational aspects in particular. These no longer concerned more schools to be maintained by the Black community or the process of subordinate integration owing to the omission of the government; rather, demands were for the assurance of the right of the Black population to public education. They were also part of a worldwide movement for the positioning against racism triggered by the struggles for civil rights by North American Blacks and by the national liberation movements in African countries. With the end of the dictatorship, after the decade of 1980, a different profile of Black organization emerged, acting in a more incisive manner in the public denouncement of racism (and more broadly the myth of racial democracy) in Brazilian social, political, economic and educational structures, as well as in the reality of schools. Also, a new profile of Black intellectuals emerged, one that thematized race and racism and that resulted in a greater number of organizations nowadays, with diverse geographical locations, political views and reach. In the political processes of re-democratization in Brazil, both in the Constituent National Assembly and in the elaboration of the Law of Directives and Bases for Education (Law 9394/96), there was a striking participation of Black militants. Yet, as asserted by Rodrigues (2005), neither the 1988 Constitution nor the LDB actually addressed the demands of this movement in education. The debates on racism between the Black movement and politicians that took place at that time reveal a process of depoliticization of their claims. These ended up being addressed in a partial manner in the original text of the new LDB and only received the necessary political incisiveness after 2003, with the changes brought by Law 10.639/03. It is worth noting that, according to Santos (2005, pp. 25–32), even before Law 10.639/03 was sanctioned several specific laws along the same line were approved in different regions of the country. However, it cannot be said that they resulted in or motivated public policies. With the realization that the universalist educational policies enacted after the military dictatorship did not in fact address the greatest part of the Black population and were not committed to fighting racism, the claims and discourse of the Black movement begun to change. It was at this time that affirmative action, finding strong inspiration in


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the struggle of North American Blacks, begun to be considered as a political possibility and demand, shaping specific interventions by the end of the 1990s and in the following decades. In this context, it is worth remembering the Zumbi dos Palmares March against Racism, for Citizenship and Life that took place in Brasília in 1995. Coordinated by the Black movement at national level and in partnership with other sectors of civil society, this march united around 30,000 activists. In an official act, by means of the coordination of the March, the Programme for Overcoming Racism and Racial Inequality, which included demands for affirmative action policies, was delivered to then President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. In 2010, two new national marches were carried out, although with lesser impact when compared to the first. Some of the government’s answers to this new form of mobilization drew much attention. During the presidency of Henrique Cardoso, the Inter-Ministerial Working-Group for the Valorization of Black Population (Grupo de Trabalho Interministerial para Valorização da População Negra) was created in 27 February 1996. The National Curricular Parameters (PCN – Parâmetros Curriculares Nacionais) were also established, a project developed by MEC during 1995 and 1996, which culminated with its approval by the National Education Council. Among the transversal themes of the PCN is Cultural Plurality, in which diversity issues were addressed in a universalist perspective of education. In the beginning of the new century this picture changed considerably. Affirmative action policies became part of the terms to which the Brazilian government had committed internationally. One of the reasons for this inflection was the mobilization process and the results of the 3rd Conference against Racism, promoted by the United Nations and held in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August 2001 to 8 September 2001. Starting in 2003, with the term of then President Lula da Silva, the commitment achieved in Durban unfolded into tangible policies. A meaningful marking point was the creation of the Secretariat of Racial Equality Promotion Policies (SEPPIR – Secretaria de Políticas de Promoção da Igualdade Racial), in 2003. Within the MEC, the Secretariat of Continuing Education, Literacy and Diversity (SECAD – Secretaria de Educação Continuada, Alfabetização e Diversidade) was created in 2004. This same secretariat had its name changed in 2011 to Secretariat of Continuing Education, Literacy, Diversity and Inclusion (SECADI – Secretaria de Educação Continuada, Alfabetização, Diversidade e Inclusão). It was also in 2003 that Law 10.639/03 was sanctioned.

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Anti-racist education in Brazil since 2003: some initiatives at the Federal level The challenging work of the MEC on the implementation of the changes of LDB by Law 10.639/03, of Assessment CNE/CP 03/2004, of Resolution CNE/CP 01/2004 and of the National Curricular Directives for Ethno-Racial Relations Education, and for the Teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian History and Culture is, at a national level, concentrated on the initiatives of the SECADI. Additionally, this secretariat works on the following areas: literacy and education of young people and adults, environmental, Indigenous education and human rights – which make its task a complex one. Among several initiatives by SECADI after 2003, this chapter addresses those that allow for a better understanding of the complex process of the implementation of LDB by Law 10.639/03 in the context of Brazilian educational policy. The Diversity in College Programme Developed from 2002 to 2007, the Diversity in College Programme was established by the MEC through Law 10.558 (13 November 2002), and regulated by Decree 4.876 (12 November 2003). This Programme was held according to Loan no. 406/OC-BR, signed in December 2002, between the Federal Government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), and to the Technical Cooperation Term with UNESCO. The Programme can be seen as the most significant initiative regarding anti-racist education within the policies of then SECAD, producing a significant volume of information and data that still lack serious systematization. The initiatives relevant to the objectives of this chapter will be analyzed. During its implementation, the Programme went through changes in its conception and practices. Initially, during the term of President Henrique Cardoso, in 2002, the actions were focused on supporting the pre-vestibular courses for Black students. Such orientation from MEC, at the time, was related to its stance against the adoption of racial quotas as a measure of affirmative action towards the facilitation of access of young Black people to college education, especially after the 2001 Durban World Conference against Racism. Support to the pre-vestibular courses would be a way of shifting the responsibility from the federal government and MEC in regard to this legitimate social and political demand. In 2005, during the term of President Lula da Silva, and allocated in then SECAD, Diversity in College went through a revision process. The IADB assembled a task force to analyze it, and an external


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consultant performed an intermediary evaluation. This revision process resulted in the extension of the contract for another two years, until the end of 2007, and in the establishment of new initiatives. According to the Diversity Programme Evaluation Report (2008), 29 titles of the collection Education for All (coleção Educação para Todos) were published by SECAD/UNESCO, six of which refer to the implementation of Law 10.639/2003. The Programme created the Education and Ethno-racial Diversity editorial line, aiming to promote publications regarding Afro-Brazilian and African Culture and History, as well as to stimulate the production of pedagogical material in an affirmative perspective. Twenty-three titles were published or supported, with a circulation of 1,223,900 copies. From the point of view of the dissemination of the contents of Law 10.639/03, television programmes were also made focusing on the education of teachers about the ethno-racial thematic. Calendars with the main celebratory dates of Afro-Brazilian and African events were distributed in public events and also to state and city education secretariats. Moreover, as means of dissemination and teacher education, the didactic-pedagogic kit ‘The Colour of Culture’ (‘A Cor da Cultura’ – Roberto Marinho Foundation) was distributed to colleges and schools in basic education. In 2006, this kit was distributed to the States of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Bahia, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso do Sul and Pará. In 2011 and 2012, a new batch was sent to a group of public schools as part of a broader process of teachers’ continuing education, in partnership with colleges and non-governmental organizations. However, given the significant number of basic education schools in the country, this pedagogical support circulates in a still small number of establishments. The publication of the National Curricular Directives for Ethno-Racial Relations Education and for the Teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian History and Culture was issued to the 215,000 active schools in Brazil, according to INEP/MEC’s School Census. The distribution of the directives and their online availability were important strategies for the dissemination and knowledge of the main curricular guidelines for the implementation of the changes in LDB by Law 10.639/03. Also, according to the Diversity Programme Evaluation Report (2008), during 2004 and 2005 21 state-wide Education and EthnicDiversity Forums were held, mobilizing around 8,000 participants. The main effect of the forums was the creation of Permanent Education and Ethno-Racial Diversity Forums, so as to institutionalize in these states an articulation of local participants to create enrichment and promotion strategies for ethno-racial diversity in the education system and to create an agenda for their actions. Currently, the forums are fulfilling

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their roles. Some independently and articulately, others irregularly, and some still showing great dependency from government resources. In what concerns the institutional strengthening item from the Diversity in College Programme, the National Technical Commission of Diversity for Subjects Related to Education of Afro-Brazilians (CADARA – Comissão Técnica Nacional de Diversidade para Assuntos Relacionados à Educação dos Afro-Brasileiros) was created by the MEC, with the objective of assisting diversity in the ministry itself. However, over the years, its operation was restricted to the scope of SECADI, along with the Coordination of Ethno-Racial Relations Education. Even with the termination of the Diversity in College Programme, the commission is currently still working and supporting the ethno-racial relations education policy at the federal level. However, one must acknowledge that the loss of its power of intervention to SECADI translates to a loss of political power. Uniafro – Affirmative Actions programme for the Black population in public college Uniafro was created in 2005 through a Cooperation Agreement between MEC and the Afro-Brazilian Studies Nuclei (NEABs – Núcleos de Estudos Afro-Brasileiros). Their main purpose was to support and provide incentives to the strengthening and institutionalization of these Nuclei in public colleges, contributing to the implementation of affirmative action policies aimed at the Black population and to the implementation of Law 10.639/03. In the MEC, it was initially carried out by means of a partnership between the Secretariat of College Education (SESU – Secretaria de Educação Superior) and then SECAD. In its last iteration, its execution was limited to the latter. The execution of the Programme was performed according to four edicts: Uniafro I, II, II and IV. Initially, the public resources allocated to this Programme were used for the production of didactic material about Afro-Brazilian and African history and culture, teacher education and scholarships for students within the quota system. Later, its scope was limited to teacher education and student scholarship. After 2011, its objectives were aggregated to the National Network of Continuing Education for Basic Education Teachers (RENAFOR – Rede Nacional de Formação de Professores da Educação Básica), thus weakening its central thematic. Uniafro’s importance as a programme assured by a specific edict that channels public resources to the initiatives of the Afro-Brazilian Studies Nuclei (NEABs) towards the work with ethno-racial diversity is undeniable. However, the reach of this Programme can be considered


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limited when compared to the country’s universe of College Education Institutions (IES – Instituições de Ensino Superior). Other in-service teacher training initiatives Aside from the educational initiatives developed in the Diversity in College Programme and the courses offered by Uniafro I, II, III and IV, other continuing education initiatives developed by then SECAD, later transformed into SECADI, are worth mentioning: UÊ Education and Africanities Course: Held in 2006, 120 hours in total, with 26,054 registered students and taking place in the 27 federated units in 704 municipalities and reaching 4,000 schools. According to SECAD (2008), 6,800 public education teachers completed the course; metropolitan region municipalities with greater population density were chosen; UÊ African and Afro-Brazilian Geography Cartographic Workshop, 2005: Eight workshops and cartographic exhibitions about African historiography and its influences on the formation of the territory and of the Brazilian population, in the following cities: Maceió, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Brasília. Capital cities were chosen according to greater population density and Black population percentages, by region; UÊ Project Educators for Diversity, in 2004/05: Lasting 40 hours, through distance education, developed by means of an Internet platform and portal, with 3,121 students; UÊ Education and Ethno-Racial Relations Course: Held at the University of Brasília (UnB), in 2005, 120 hours of expository classes, with 240 students. Two other initiatives regarding teacher education are noteworthy: first, in 2010, the translation to Portuguese and distribution in the education system, public state and college libraries of the African General History (HGA – História Geral da África), in partnership with UNESCO and the Federal University of São Carlos – UFSCAR; second, in 2012, the publication of the Summons Edict 01/2012 of the Library at the School National Programme (PNBE – Programa Nacional Biblioteca da Escola, Temathic/2012), for the selection of reference works for teachers and students of public networks, covering the education for ethno-racial relations, Afro-Brazilian and African history and cultural diversity, the trajectories of the Black people over the geographic space, racial identity,

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social relations and diversity, self-esteem and ethno-racial identity and overcoming racism in schools. The Basic Education National Conference (CONEB) and the National Conference of Education (CONAE) The Basic Education National Conference, preceded by the state conferences and held on 14–18 April 2008 in Brasília, had as its central theme ‘The Construction of the National Articulated Educational System’ and debated the main issues concerning basic education in the country. Among the various themes discussed in its groundwork document, axis IV, Inclusion and diversity in basic education, is worth mentioning. For the first time, the issue of diversity had a central place in a national education conference. Axis IV addressed the issues of Indigenous and Maroon populations, environment questions, ethno-racial, sexual and gender diversity, special education and education of children and young people ‘at risk’. The efforts of the Diversity in College Programme were recognized during the conference, but the need to assure the investment of further public resources within the ministry’s budget and MEC/SECAD actions for the implementation of the Law were discussed. These should not be restricted to specific initiatives such as a cooperation agreement. As much as the Programme had an important role in the construction of actions towards ethno-racial diversity, it was evaluated that the termination of the agreement occurred in a retraction of initiatives due to the shrinkage of available resources. The National Conference of Education (CONAE – Conferência Nacional de Educação) had as its central theme ‘The Construction of the National Articulated Educational System: National Plan of Education, its Directives and Action Strategies’ and was held on 23–27 April 2010. In axis VI of the reference document was the discussion about Social justice, education and work: inclusion, diversity and equality, in which ethno-racial diversity in education was addressed. The tensions derived from the inclusion of this topic in both conferences reveal, at the same time, advances and limits in the interpretation and consolidation of an anti-racist approach in educational policy and management. Research about diversity in schools and the implementation of Law 10.639/03 Research and diagnosis were also initiatives taken by the federal government in the process of implementation of the anti-racist educational policy. Two of such studies were led by SECADI, in partnership with federal government agencies and international organizations. This


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initiative had several objectives: to inform the public policies to be implemented in order to combat discrimination and racism; to evaluate and contribute to the reformulation of programmes and actions; to assess the entrenchment of Law 10.639/03 in the education system and schools, among others. The ‘Diversity in Schools National Research’ (‘Pesquisa Nacional Diversidade na Escola’), under the responsibility of the Centre for Regional Development and Planning of the Federal College of Minas Gerais (Cedeplar/UFMG – Centro de Desenvolvimento e Planejamento Regional) was conducted from 2006 until 2009 and aimed at investigating how diversity (gender, race/ethnicity, generation, territoriality, socioeconomic aspects and impairments) is addressed in Brazilian State and municipality public schools. This study combined a qualitative with a quantitative component, the latter being implemented at a later date by the Economic Research Institution Foundation (Fipe/USP – Fundação Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas). The study ‘Pedagogic and Work Practices along with Ethno-Racial relations in the perspective of Law 10.639/03’ was conducted throughout 2009. It was a research resulting from the MEC/UNESCO agreement and had the objective of mapping and analyzing pedagogic practices of public schools and school networks according to Law 10.639/03. It aimed at informing and promoting policies aiding the implementation of this legislation at a national level, according to the National Plan for the Implementation of National Curricular Directives for Ethno-Racial Relations Education, and for the Teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian History and Culture. The work was coordinated by the Affirmative Actions Programme at the Federal University of Minas Gerais and undertaken in partnership with the Afro-Brazilian Studies Nuclei in the University of Paraná, the Federal University of Bahia, the Federal University of Mato Grosso, the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, the Federal University of Minas Gerais and the Federal University of Pará. Questionnaires were administered in the education system and with Afro-Brazilian Studies Nuclei managers, interviews were carried out with teachers and pedagogues, along discussion groups with students of 36 public schools from the five regions of the country. This research brought to light the pedagogic practices of ethno-racial relations education that have been taking place in Brazilian schools since 2003, in order to build a reference framework for the implementation of Law 10.639/03 that may contribute to the processes of pedagogic management of diversity of secretariats and schools in the different regions of the country. This research revealed the irregular manner

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in which the legislation has been implemented in the public schools studied, and the main difficulties that schools, teachers and managers face in attempting its accomplishment. Regional dialogues and the National Curricular Directives for ethno-racial relations education and for the teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian history and culture In 2008, the pressure by the Black movement, Black and non-Black educators, managers and intellectuals engaged with anti-racist education in Brazil resulted in the creation of the Inter-Ministry Workgroup by initiative of the MEC (inter-ministry ordinance Ministry of Education/ Ministry of Justice/Secretariat of Racial Equality Promotion Policies no. 605, 20 May 2008). This aimed at developing the proposal of a National Plan that would establish goals for the effective implementation of the changes in LDB by Law 10.639/03 across the country. According to UNESCO (2008), the National Plan for the Implementation of National Curricular Directives for Ethno-Racial Relations Education, and for the Teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian History and Culture should be considered a reference for a Governmental Plan. During the process of elaboration of the Plan, a process of national consultation was established by means of six meetings called ‘Regional Dialogues‘, starting in April 2008 and ending in a national event taking place in Brasília, in July 2008. The purpose of the Dialogues was to debate, analyze and inform the elaboration of goals and strategies and to identify regional obstacles to the construction of the document. The meetings were attended by 720 professionals, including systems managers, school and college teachers and students, Black movement representatives, State and municipality education counsellors, the National Union of Municipality Education Directors (UNDIME – União Nacional dos Dirigentes Municipais de Educação), MEC secretariats, and others. The initial proposal of the National Plan for the Implementation of National Curricular Directives for Ethno-Racial Relations Education and for the Teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian History and Culture underwent changes after the meetings and internal discussions on SECADI and MEC took place. The final proposal was released by MEC and SEPPIR in 13 May 2009. The Plan’s approval has a fundamental role in the complex process of implementation of an anti-racist educational policy. The main objective is to make ethno-racial diversity and the Black movement’s historical claims a part of the ensemble of Brazilian public policies, foreseeing, defining and achieving specific goals, programmes, outputs, monitoring, evaluation and funding. All this by means of the cooperation between


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the federated entities and through dialogue with schools, educators, parents, students and the several social organizations and movements. Despite being an intense process and with such important objectives, since 2009 the Plan’s actions have been restricted to the official document and are still to form part of public policy.

Conclusion The change in LDB by Law 10.639/03 places the historical claims of the Black population and other groups involved in the anti-racist struggle in a political level. It highlights the Brazilian government’s responsibility to assure the right to diversity as a constituent of the right to education. However, 10 years later, this legislation is still in a process of consolidation in the context of public education policies. An illustrative example is the place that the former has taken – with advances and limits – in the very structure of MEC, while its specificity is restricted to a single secretariat of this ministry, SECADI, as it was shown in this chapter. The main parameter to evaluate how far we have advanced in the implementation of an anti-racist educational policy at the federal level is to question whether the MEC’s political commitment, since 2003, has in fact been transformed into structural educational policies that go beyond governmental programmes and that can be considered State policies. It is worth noting that many of the initiatives towards anti-racist education performed at the federal level between 2003 and 2007 had the IADB’s financial support by means of the Diversity in College Programme. When this Programme was completed, several of those actions also ended, while others became dispersed and with limited reach. After ten years in the change of LDB by Law 10.639/03, one must ask: what has been structured, in fact, as state policy? Did the MEC’s actions in fact induce or catalyze policies and programmes at state, city or district levels? These are questions that must be in the research agenda on educational policy and in debates on anti-racist education in Brazil. According to Gomes (2012, p. 350), the Afro-Brazilian and African thematic, despite its mandatory character as stated in LDB, continues to be implemented in an irregular fashion in basic education schools, in distinct phases and ways in different regions of the country. This situation expresses the tension of wider debates on racism in Brazilian society and in the achievement of the so often discussed cooperation between federated entities. According to Souza and Gomes (2012, p. 5), in what concerns the implementation of an anti-racist educational policy, the mandatory character of following

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the changes in LDB by Law 10.639/03 still meets resistance from regional and local authorities representatives, school managers, college education institutions and teachers who often allow themselves the right to ‘choose’ whether or not to implement the legislation, despite the existence of a democratic legal order and stimuli by the Union, even with financial contributions to such ends. The trend towards an authoritative posture that is still present in the relations between public governance processes, the fulfilment of the legislation and its establishment in social and pedagogic practices in Brazil – even more so when concerning issues that emerged from social movement’s struggles – emphasize the continuing presence of racism and of the myth of racial democracy. Despite the problems shown here and the discontinuity in the implementation of the change in LDB by Law 10.639/03, it is possible to state that, in Brazil, the existing pedagogic and political experiences have initiated debates on, and introduced, anti-racist education in the set of educational policies. Yet, its establishment as state policy still depends largely on social pressure by the Black and Maroon movements and their allies in the struggle to overcome racism.

Notes 1. With the introduction of articles 26A and 79B. 2. The amendment of LDB by Law 10.639/03 was regulated by the National Education Council (CNE – Conselho Nacional de Educação), by the assessment CNE/CP 03/2004 and resolution CNE/CP 01/2004, which establish the National Curricular Directives for Ethno-Racial Relations in Education, and for the Teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian History and Culture in Brazilian basic education. 3. With the approval of Assessment CNE/CEB 16/2012 and Resolution CNE/CEB 08/2012. 4. This, in its 11th article, expanded on article 26A of LDB. 5. This law was changed by Law 11.645, 10 March 2008, also incorporating the mandatory teaching of Indigenous people’s history and culture.

References Brazil (2000), Lei de Diretrizes e Bases da Educação, Law 9394/96 (Rio de Janeiro: DP&A). Brazil (2003), Law 10.639/2003, 9 January (Brasília: Ministério da Educação). Brazil (2004) Diretrizes Curriculares Nacionais para a Educação das Relações Étnico-Raciais e para o Ensino de História e Cultura Afrobrasileira e Africana (Brasília: Ministério da Educação). Conferência Nacional de Educação Básica (2008) Documento Final (Brasília: Ministério da Educação).


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Conferência Nacional de Educação (2009) Construindo o Sistema Nacional Articulado de Educação: o Plano Nacional de Educação, Diretrizes e Estratégias de Ação. Documento Referência. CONAE 2010, pdf/conae/documento_referencia.pdf. Cruz, M. S. (2005) ‘Uma Abordagem sobre a História da Educação dos Negros’ in J. Romão (ed.) História da Educação dos Negros e Outras Histórias (Brasília: Ministério da Educação/Secretaria de Educação Continuada, Alfabetização e Diversidade). Declaração e Programa de Ação Adotados na III Conferência Mundial de Combate ao Racismo, Discriminação Racial, Xenofobia e Intolerância Correlata (2001), http://ção/Declaração_Durban/pdf, accessed 8 July 2013. Dias, L. R. (2005) ‘Quantos Passos já Foram Dados? A Questão de Raça nas Leis Educacionais – da LDB de 1961 à Lei 10.639, de 2003’ in J. Romão (ed.) História da Educação dos Negros e Outras Histórias (Brasília: Ministério da Educação/ Secretaria de Educação Continuada, Alfabetização e Diversidade). Gomes, N. L. (2009) ‘Limites e Possibilidades da Implementação da Lei 10.639/03 no Contexto das Políticas Públicas em Educação’ in M. Paula and R. Heringer (eds) Caminhos Convergentes: Estado e Sociedade na Superação das Desigualdades Raciais no Brasil (Rio de Janeiro: Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Action Aid). Gomes, N. L. (2012) (ed.) Práticas Pedagógicas de Trabalho com as Relações Étnico-Raciais na Escola na Perspectiva da Lei 10639/03 (Brasília: Ministério da Educação/UNESCO). Gonçalves, L. A. O. and P. B. Gonçalves e Silva (2000) ‘Movimento Negro e Educação’, Revista Brasileira de Educação, 15, 134–58. Moura, C. (1988) História do Negro Brasileiro (São Paulo: Ática). Munanga, K. (2005) Superando o Racismo na Escola, (Brasília: Ministério da Educação/Secretaria de Educação Continuada, Alfabetização e Diversidade) [1st edn 1999]. Rodrigues, T. C. (2005) ‘Movimento Negro no Cenário Brasileiro: Embates e Contribuições à Política Educacional nas Décadas de 1980–1990’ (São Carlos: MA Thesis, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Sociais da UFSCAR). Santos, S. A. (2005) ‘A Lei 10.639/03 como Fruto da Luta Antirracista do Movimento Negro’ in Educação Antirracista: Caminhos Abertos pela Lei Federal 10.639/03 (Secretaria de Educação Continuada, Alfabetização e Diversidade/ Ministério da Educação). Secretaria de Educação Continuada, Alfabetização e Diversidade (2008) Programa Diversidade na Universidade. Avaliação Final, 2008. Souza, A. X. and N. L. Gomes (2012) ‘História e Cultura Afro-Brasileira e Indígena’ in Dicionário de Política Educacional [mimeo]. UNESCO (2008) Contribuições para Implementação da Lei 10.639/2003. Proposta de Plano Nacional de Implementação das Diretrizes Curriculares Nacionais da Educação das Relações Étnico-raciais e para o Ensino de História e Cultura Afrobrasileira e Africana – Lei 10.639/2003 (Brasília: UNESCO/Ministério da Educação). Veiga, C. G. (2007) História da Educação (São Paulo: Ática).

12 Race and Racism in Mexican History Textbooks: A Silent Presence María Dolores Ballesteros Páez

Introduction: racism and history curriculum in Mexico In Mexico, the defence of the mestizo national identity and the consequent assimilation of the Indigenous people and customs was the base of the education system for most part of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. After the emergence of the Zapatista movement in 1994 and the contemplation of international recommendations in the configuration of the curriculum, the ideas of multiculturalism and interculturality and the defence of a pluricultural identity have been, to some extent, included in the textbooks. The aim of this chapter is to analyze the representation of certain populations – identified as ethnic and racial groups in the Mexican History textbooks for secondary education – in order to understand the current transformation in conceptions of Mexican national identity. In order to do that, four of the books endorsed by the Secretary of Public Education from 1993 to 2010 were selected by a non-probabilistic random sample. In particular, the sections where those groups are represented (from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first century) were analyzed using critical discourse analysis. The main argument of this chapter, drawing on the analysis of the textbooks in the 1993 and 2006 programmes, is that these groups are a silent presence: while some sections about their History have been added, they are not part of the main narrative. The role of education in the reproduction, sedimentation and challenge of certain ideas about race, racism and Eurocentrism has been broadly explored (for example, Araújo and Maeso, 2012; van Dijk, 2010). Most often, in European and North American contexts, 209


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research in education has focused on the stereotypical or prejudiced representation of the other and the foreigner (Apple, 2000 [1979]; van Dijk, 2010). In the Mexican case, the mestizaje that became state policy allows to bring certain contextual specificities to the analytical study of race and racism. As Jesús Antonio Machuca Ramírez (1998) suggests, ‘in Mexico, the mestizaje appears as an idealized representation of the symbolic somatotype of the biological and cultural mixture that has characterized our country since the Spanish conquest’ and ‘it has been the ideological basic matrix from which a rooted representation, agglutinating and unifying, as well as, conjurer of the contradictions of the existent social structure’ (p. 37). Thus mestizaje became ‘the support of the nationalist ideology that shaped the doctrine of the State which emerged from the Mexican Revolution’ providing ‘an image of synthesis and condensation, that has allowed to recover symbolically the cohesive idea of the nation’ (ibid.). Nevertheless, this mestizaje is not conceived as a process ‘which would produce a “mutual fertilization”, in which case the diversity of cultures would have developed in equal conditions’ (Castellanos Guerrero, 1998, p. 16). In Mexico, the Spanish part of the mestizaje is the one emphasized and favoured: ‘the similarity to the “superior” cultures opened to “progress” and destined to set a course for the nation’ (ibid., p. 17). During the nineteenth century and most of the twentieth century, as Alan Knight (1990) points out, Indians ‘were not defined solely or even primarily in somatic terms’ but with ‘ethnic identification’, being ‘social rather than innate biological attributes, they were capable of change’ (p. 73). According to Alicia Castellanos Guerrero (1998), the state’s discourse was that ‘differences would have to be dissolved, and then the school, the conscription, and the dispossession of the territorial bases would be fragmenting the primordial loyalties and the spaces of ethnic identity’s reproduction’, in sum, producing ‘the assimilation of the Indians to the “civilization”’ (p. 25). After the Zapatista movement in 1994 and the proliferation of international recommendations emphasizing the importance of multiculturalism and interculturality in education, changes in the Mexican curriculum took place (Vázquez Gómez, 1990; UNESCO, 1995). In 2007, the Sectorial Programme of Education provided guidance on how multiculturalism should be developed in the curriculum. In Mexico, research on racist discourse in textbooks has been carried out by Alicia Castellanos Guerrero, Jorge Goméz Izquierdo and Franciso Pineda (2007) and some studies have focused on representations of specific populations, such as African and Afro-descent populations, in

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primary and secondary education (for example, Masferrer León, 2011). This chapter seeks to contribute to these studies providing a discourse analysis of Mexican History textbooks as objects that replicate certain representations of racial and ethnic groups, which show changes in Mexican national identity’s reproduction. These textbooks present a past in which people from Africa, Europe and America fought, worked with and related to each other until the creation of the Mexican nation. Then, most of them are made to disappear as independent groups and transform into a ‘homogeneous society’. This discourse was partially challenged in the last educational reform in 2006, with a multiculturalist approach and the inclusion of references to certain historical events. Yet the traditional narrative of the Mexican History is still present.

Methodology and corpus Textbooks were examined by drawing on discourse analysis, which includes ‘different modes of studying structures and strategies of text’, like grammatical, pragmatic and rhetoric analysis, stylistics or the analysis of ‘global formats’ and ‘specific structure of genders’ (van Dijk, 2009, p. 21). Using the approach of discourse’s critical studies, the analysis focuses on the ‘systems and structures’ of text (for example, textbooks) that ‘can depend on concrete social conditions in which language is used or vary according to those conditions or that they can contribute to trigger specific social consequences of discourse, such as influence in social beliefs and actions of those who receive it’ (van Dijk, 2009, p. 24). The use of passive and active voice in statements, adjectives used in narrations and other grammatical and rhetoric elements that appear in the sections where the African, Asian or Indigenous populations are represented are analyzed.1 The aim is to examine how these populations are represented and how those representations change and challenge the traditional narrative of the mestizo national identity in secondary education textbooks. Secondary education was chosen for two reasons. First, the main aim of secondary education is the formation of students to develop critical skills in the society in which they live. Second, this level allows questions of national identity, racial representations and cultural diversity to be explained in a more complex and deep manner, because secondary education students have finished the development of formal thinking (Pozo, Asensio and Carretero, 1997, p. 213). Mexican secondary education has been reformed twice in two decades, in 1993 and in 2006.2 Although in 1993 the African and Indigenous


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populations were represented in some sections, it was since the 2006 reform that ideas related to multiculturalism and interculturality begun to be included and emphasized: ‘it is expected that students would recognize plurality as a characteristic of their country and the world, and that the school would turn into a space where diversity could be appreciated and valued, as a common aspect of life’ (SEP, 2006, p. 18). Concerning the corpus, I have collected 43 of the 71 books authorized by the Public Education Secretary (Secretaría de Educación Pública – SEP). From these, 18 are from the first education reform, published from 1994 until 2007. The other 25 books responded to the educative reform of 2006 and are still used nowadays. In each of these groups, there are some books that have featured longer in the SEP authorized books list: four books in the group of 1993 and 14 of 2006. It is within this selection that I have made my non-probabilistic random sample, choosing two from the group of 1993 and two from the group of 2006. The specific books constituting the sample and the units or sections in which Indigenous, African or Asian population features are presented in Tables 12.1 and 12.2. Table 12.1

1993 reform textbooks analyzed

Sections analyzed

Unit 2 ‘The evolution of population’

Historia del Hombre en México (Jiménez Alarcón, 1995)

Historia de México. Tercer Grado (Treviño Villarreal et al., 2003)

pp. 60–5

pp. 54–7

Unit 3 ‘Situation of Indigenous people, castas and slaves’ p. 87 ‘Social composition of independent military’ p. 92

pp. 82–5 p. 101

Unit 4 ‘Territorial distribution of population’

p. 125

p. 123

Unit 6 ‘Repression of political and social opposition. The case of Indigenous groups and labour movements’ pp. 191–3

pp. 175–7

Unit 8 ‘The problems of Indigenous population and smallholders’ p. 316

p. 268

Race and Racism in Mexican History Textbooks 213 Table 12.2

2006 reform textbooks analyzed

Sections analyzed

Ser en la Historia (Lapatí de Kuhlmann, 2008)

México en el Tiempo. Historia Tercer Grado (Plá and Sosenski, 2010)

Section 1 ‘African slavery’ pp. 82–3 ‘Cultural mestizaje in language, food, customs and ideology. African and Asian elements’ pp. 90–2 Section 2 ‘The clash with Northamerican Indians’ ‘Indigenous and peasant rebellions through history’

pp. 140–2

pp. 96–7

pp. 208–9

p. 140

Section 3 ‘Rural rebellions and Indigenous people’s situation’

pp. 251–2

pp. 156–7

Section 4 ‘Indigenismo’

p. 421

p. 242

p. 451

pp. 254–5

pp. 478–82 pp. 518–20

pp. 264–65 p. 291

Section 5 ‘Outlook (includes Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional and multiculturalism)’ ‘Zapatist rebelion’ ‘Interculturality’

The 1993 programme’s textbooks In 1993, mestizaje was still the dominant conception of the composition of the Mexican population in textbooks, assuming three modalities. First, the unification of the Indigenous populations’ diversity: ‘different groups of Indigenous people lived here, who formed one of the roots of our population’ (Jiménez Alarcón, 1995, p. 61). This contradicts the view expressed in the first unit of the book, in which the different groups of Indigenous people are described and explained in depth, forming just one group without considering differences within it (ibid.). This is based on the idea of the Indigenous identity created after the Conquest, as Knight (1990) also noted. Second, the minimization of the African and Asian populations, using qualifiers that lessen their importance in Mexican History: ‘some Blacks came as slaves and when the conquest was consummated they brought others’ and ‘commerce with the East brought the arrival to our country of a small quantity of Philippine and Chinese people’ (Jiménez Alarcón, 1995, p. 61). Finally, the silencing of


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their presence, as it is the case with the Asian population in the book of Treviño Villarreal et al. (2003) where they are not even mentioned. These representations are complemented by the section ‘The introduction of African slaves’. Although the authors explain the legislation about slavery in the Spanish colonies, how ideas on race (namely, elements such as physical strength) determined the selection of people to be enslaved, and name the countries of origin in Africa where these populations were made captive, they do not explain why the enslaved populations were brought. As Sylvia Wynter (1992) points out, the problem is that ‘the question of the specific cultural rationale … that made this slavery possible through making it seem ‘just’ and ‘legitimate’ to its European enforcers, is itself excluded’ (p. 73). The textbooks also present some inaccurate historical facts, such as that ‘Black population in New Spain suffered a persistent slavery which lasted all the colonial period, and that would be abolished after the establishment of the Mexican independence’ (Treviño Villarreal et al., 2003, p. 55). Actually, some enslaved people were able to buy or to be granted freedom during the Viceroyalty, and slavery was not abolished until 1829 – as explained in Velázquez (2006) and Téllez and López (2004). Another mistaken fact is the estimate count of African people in both books, where this population is reduced to 65,096 individuals for Jiménez Alarcón and 30,000 for Treviño Villarreal et al., which leads again to the minimization of their number (Jiménez Alarcón, 1995, p. 62; Treviño Villarreal et al., 2003, p. 56). Although it has been impossible to establish an exact figure, experts suggest that at least 200,000 enslaved people arrived in New Spain (Velazquez Gutierrez, 2006). Referring to the Indigenous population, both books neglect all the rich elements that differentiated and characterized this population as they are described in the first unit of the book: ‘After the Conquest’. They also deny the sense of identity shared within each Indigenous population, considering the appropriation of Christianity as the only way of building it: ‘attempts to create their own [Christian] religious figures to build up an identity of their own and the cult that they professed to saints and virgins appeared in their villages’ (Treviño Villarreal, 2003, p. 57). The books also overlook their original distribution in the territory, the differences between the groups who lived in cities or villages, with huge temples and homes and the nomadic groups (‘the Indigenous population was disperse in the tops and gulches of mountains’) (ibid.). When the authors consider the Indigenous and African populations’ contribution to the Independence, they do not mention the importance of race as a mobilizing factor – including in regard to important leaders,

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like Morelos or Guerrero, or their followers, as Tutino (1990) has well established. Moreover, Jiménez Alarcón (1995) concludes that in the resistance period, the insurgents that kept fighting were people with a great ideal on the cause that they pursued or groups of Indigenous people, mestizos and mulattos that wanted to avenge the humiliations received and that many times they just plundered more than fight for freedom. (p. 95) Although the author makes no reference to race regarding the first group of people who fought for freedom, she clearly specifies that the ones plundering and avenging were Indigenous and African people, minimizing the support that these two groups gave to the Independence cause. This is a clear example of what Teun van Dijk (2000) defines as the four edges of the ideological square of positive self-presentation and negative presentation of others: emphasizing positive information about us/negative information about them; de-emphasizing positive information about them/negative information about us (p. 333). These books do not consider the Indigenous vision of colonization or political repression. For Jiménez Alarcón (1995) the colonization programmes in the North were planned in order to avoid ‘losing those territories and civilize the famous “barbaric Indian” that devastated the border’ (p. 123). Although the author uses quotation marks referring to ‘barbaric Indians’, she does not clarify the use of ‘civilize’ and ‘devastated’, naturalizing whatever political action was necessary to deploy against the Indigenous population and their struggles. Meanwhile, Treviño Villarreal et al. (2003) explain colonization as ‘the worry to attract foreign immigrants to teach arts and craftworks to Mexicans and exploit the immense natural resources’ (p. 126). Neither of them problematizes colonization and the action of ‘civilizing’ the Indigenous population; there is neither a reflection on the social implications of these two processes, nor the negative aspects upon the Indigenous population (the need to be civilized and the devastation of the border). As Wynter (1992) found in US textbooks, these ‘are designed to induce all students … to identify with the gold seeker, the settler, the Immigrant: and to fear for his safety against the threat of the “Indian”’ (p. 66). In this way, students in general will not find ‘the Indigenous point of view’ in the books and a student of Indigenous origin will ‘dis-identify with the resistance struggles of her or his ancestors’ (ibid.). The same happens with the section ‘Repression of political and social opposition. The case of Indigenous groups and labour movements’.


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

Although Jiménez Alarcón (1995) recognizes the disdain towards the Indigenous population at the time, she feels the need to clarify that ‘some tribes’ that did not have a notion of borders and ‘were cattle stealers who spread up the US’, but they ‘did not represent the total of the Indigenous Mexicans, because there were also peaceful, hard-working and respectful communities towards other social groups’ and ‘when the regime tried, not in a very tactful way, to impose their laws, problems arose that ended up in rebellions’ (p. 191). It is interesting to note that the author feels the need to clarify that the tribes did not have a notion of borders and that not all the communities were like that. This section, however, could have been a great opportunity to explore with students the extent to which some Indigenous communities were imagined as being part of the nation or their relation to the State laws and rules. Finally, in the last section ‘The situation of the Indigenous population in the 20th century’, the tone representing the Indigenous population changes. Jiménez Alarcón (1995) claims that ‘one of the causes of the marginalization can be the discrimination of certain social groups such as the Indigenous population, who have been victims of atrocities and ill treatment by the majoritarian mestizo population’ (p. 316). It is noticeable that it is the ‘mestizo population’ the one accused of discrimination and not the owners of companies who deny them jobs, the government employees or judges (Horbath, 2006; Horbath, 2012; Sierra Camacho, 1997). Treviño Villarreal et al. (2003) choose to emphasize economic marginalization instead of racial discrimination: ‘the Indigenous populations of Mexico have been aside in the economic development achieved under the model imposed after World War II; this situation produced the rise of an Indigenist movement in the rural areas’ (p. 268). Although they are not specific, they may be referring to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional – EZLN). Jiménez Alarcón (1995) presents the work of the National Indigenist Institute3 and recognizes that sometimes there has been a problem of the ‘deviation of these politics/policies to a non-wished intervention in some Indigenous business’ (p. 316). Nonetheless, she concludes: ‘it is necessary that new generations of Mexicans look for new forms of dealing with the Indigenous problem, because the rich ethnic diversity of a country like ours cannot be seen as a sign of backward State, but as a way of achieving harmony between all Mexicans that share a future’ (p. 316). What is the ‘Indigenous problem’? Why do the Mexicans have to face it and not the Indigenous population? Are they Mexicans? Society seems to be divided between the inner-group – Mexicans – and the

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out-group – Indigenous populations. As Wynter (1992) argues regarding the Black population in the US, the Indigenous populations in the textbooks analyzed are presented as the ‘alterity’ to the ‘normalcy’, the ‘problem’ to be solved by ‘Mexicans’. Concerning the situation of the Indigenous population, Treviño Villarreal et al. (2003) conclude that Their agricultural production is limited, due to the lack of support and infrastructure to cultivate their lands; the natural resources of their communities are exploited by people who do not belong to them; their indexes of familiar and social well-being are very low, they have low quality of homes, hygiene, education and health; the purchase of their products is conducted generally under abusive proceedings of middlemen and hoarders. (2003, p. 268; emphasis added) Again, the authors use the passive voice and the lexicalization to avoid referring to the active subjects responsible for the situation: no references to the historical conditions that explain the lack of infrastructure, no explanation of how people who do not belong to the communities can exploit their resources, no reasoning on how the government allows the abusive proceedings of middlemen, and so on. In sum, in these two books from the 1993 reform, there is a lack of well-known historical information about Indigenous, African and Asian population in their representations. First, this perpetuates stereotypes about these populations, minimizes their presence and belonging during the colonial period, and silences their survival after the Independence in favour of the mestizo and Spanish population. Second, there is a fundamental division between the references to the Indigenous population before and after the Conquest. The wise and rich communities that lived before the arrival of the Spaniards seem to vanish, becoming nomadic or identity-less groups, living in isolated regions. Finally, what remains is the mestizo narrative in which Mexican nationalism is founded. After Independence, those groups are seen as obstacles to the construction of a homogenous and modern nation. Their past is silenced just as in the mestizo myth in which the Mexican national identity is based.

Textbooks for the 2006 programme After the 2006 Reform, the idea of mestizaje has begun to coexist with the concepts of multiculturalism and interculturality. Some authors


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like Paulina Latapí de Kuhlmann (2008) distinguish between ethnic and cultural mestizaje, being the latter the multiculturalism of the New Spain.4 She explains that during the conquest and the first stages of the New Spain Viceroyalty, mestizos were mostly sons of the unions between Spanish men and Indigenous women, but they were also born from African and Chinese population with Indigenous people and with mestizos. (p. 90) It is noteworthy that, according to the author, the Spanish men only related with the Indigenous women and not with the African and Chinese population, contradicting not only historians, but also visual representations of the colonial period (Velázquez, 2006). Latapí de Kulhmann (2008) considers that the incorporation of some words in the Spanish language or the use of culinary products of Mesoamerica, Asia and Europe amounts to multiculturalism. She also argues that clothing was a form of differentiation of Indians, criollos, Spaniards and castas [and that] nowadays the clothing and hairstyle are usually elements of differentiation by means of which the mestizos feel superior to the Indigenous population. Because of this reason, boys and girls … change their dresses into modern ones. (p. 90) Although it is an effort to relate the past with the present and to explain discrimination, she does not add a reflection about its implications: why should mestizos feel superior? What are the consequences of young people abandoning their Indigenous culture? These are some questions that can be made to help students realize how racism is interiorized in the population and how that can affect the survival of the Indigenous populations’ cultures. Another way of thinking the mestizaje concept is the distinction that Sebastián Plá and Susana Sosenski (2010) make between cultural mestizaje and cultural syncretism. They argue that some historians refer to the process of cultural syncretism as cultural mestizaje, however, that idea starts from the premise that the racial component defines the cultural aspect, and that the mestizo culture is homogeneous because the Indigenous, African or Spanish features melted. (p. 72)

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The authors conclude that ‘the interaction of the different cultural traditions has not created a homogeneous and mestizo culture but a plural one, where diverse cultures coexist’ and assure that ‘in Mexico a lot is needed to be done in order to respect difference’ (ibid., p. 72). They add: ‘Cultural syncretism is a sign that in History the conquerors do not arrive and dominate easily other cultures. On the contrary, the conquered societies find lots of ways of resisting. The consequence of these fights is that today, we are a plural society’ (ibid., p. 74). This kind of reflection about racial and cultural aspects, resistance to domination and the differences between mestizaje and syncretism can help students think about racial and cultural aspects in their lives and challenge the traditional mestizo narrative. Another difference with the textbooks of 1993 is the incorporation of a section dedicated to African and Asian cultural elements. In this section, the authors mention specific and even stereotypical examples of Asian and African heritage such as the traditional dress of china poblana, the Asiatic influence in the artistic production in New Spain’s territory, the Spanish accent in coastal areas, the way children are carried over the hips and objects are transported over the head, the musical influence of African rhythms and instruments, and magic and witchcraft practices. Instead of emphasizing how all these groups lived and worked together, exchanging customs and products, both books recover certain specific elements of these groups. The section ‘African slavery’ keeps naturalizing slavery as an economic ‘need’. Both books explain the contextual circumstances in which enslaved people were brought, but not the cultural beliefs of the Spaniards to justify why they enslaved them: ‘the necessity of workers that colonies had’, because of the reduction of the Indigenous population for the epidemics, war and forced labour, and the prohibition of ‘enslaving Indigenous population’; thus they exclude Spaniards’ belief of superiority over African population (Plá and Sosenski, 2010, p. 64). Rather than reflecting about the thinking of the time concerning slavery, African populations and the trade of enslaved populations – as, for instance, Wynter (1992) points out – the authors just mention the contextual reasons for bringing enslaved people in New Spain. After that, they point out some historical facts that are partially incorrect and insist in the minimization of the African population. Latapí de Kuhlmann (2008) asserts that the enslaved population that arrived to New Spain were ‘Moorish or Berbers’ ‘obtained’ in the ‘reconquering’ of the Spanish territories, but ‘the smuggling of slaves started and lots of non-Christian slaves arrived’ (p. 82). As historians


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have stated, most of the African population that arrived to New Spain came directly from Africa (Velázquez, 2006). Plá and Sosenski (2010) point out that ‘the number of Blacks was not meaningful, like in the West Indies’ (p. 65). Again, the size of African population is minimized (in fact, the authors do not even mention an approximate number), the African regions from which they came are ignored and their influence in Mexico is reduced to music and food. The 2006 Reform does not have either a section for the composition of the independent movements or references to race as a mobilizing force such as regarding certain political figures like Guerrero. Latapí de Kuhlmann (2008) only mentions that ‘mestizos, Indigenous people and the like wanted [the Independence] to obtain the suppression of the tribute, restitution of the taken land, the abolition of the casta system and equality of rights’ (pp. 237–8). After the Independence, reference to these populations becomes scarce. The section ‘Issues to think about’ – dedicated to herbalist medicine in both books – refers to the incredible knowledge of nature and medicine ‘in which the Mesoamericans were excellent’ (ibid., p. 106) or, as Plá and Sosenski (2010) explain, ‘The Mesoamerican population was keen observers of nature and plants’ (p. 82). Both are phrased in the past as if that knowledge or the population that has it have disappeared. Once again, it is clear that adding small sections about specific groups does not change the overall narrative of Mexican History. Regarding the colonization of the North, these books differ from one another. Latapí de Kuhlmann (2008) maintains the discourse founded in the books of the 1993 Reform: colonizers ‘had to repel during a long time the rebellions of the Indigenous populations that lived in the colonized regions’ (p. 140; emphasis added). She adds that ‘the relations between colonizers and Indigenous population were varied’, from cases of rapid Christianization to other groups that maintained ‘a warlike attitude, harassing the new settlers, whose establishments offered them an incentive for pillage’ ibid., p. 141). The different Indigenous populations are identified with negative and aggressive attitudes (rebelling, harassing and having a warlike attitude). Again, we find only the colonizers’ perspective, not that of the Indigenous populations. Nevertheless, there is another way of describing this. Plá and Sosenski (2010) clarify: We have to be careful when we analyze the clashes between the Novohispano and the Indigenous populations … they were inhabitants of that land before the Novohispano population started colonizing.

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For the Indigenous population, they were strange people that came to occupy their lands. (p. 97) This book is the only one of the three analyzed that presents the vision of the Indigenous population facing colonization. It is an example of how the traditional narrative can be challenged and rewritten, notwithstanding the fact that these different visions do not inform the writing of all the sections. In these books, there are two sections that present the ‘Indigenous and rural rebellions’. The names of the sections are established by the Secretary of Public Education and the implication is clear: the Indigenous groups are acting against an established State, that they are supposed to respect. In the section ‘Issues to think about: the Indigenous and peasant rebellions through history’, Latapí de Kuhlmann (2008) presents a list of links and books about Indigenous rebellions in order to help students researching about it, considering that the study of the Indigenous rebellions is related to the subject ‘Civic and Ethic Formation’ allows ‘the reflection about the violation of the fundamental rights and the historic debt that as a society we have with them’ (p. 209). Plá and Sosenski (2010) also consider that ‘when the conquest of Mexico ended the Indigenous population remained subjugated’, that ‘this condition has not improved through almost 500 years’ and that ‘the Indigenous population has not remained silent and has been always fighting for the rights that had been denied to them’ (p. 140). Therefore, both books recognize the struggle of the Indigenous populations, but they use the distinction between the general population and the Indigenous groups (as inner-group vs. out-group) and the passive voice to avoid referring directly to the conditions that lead to that situation. In ‘The rural rebellions and the situation of the Indigenous people’, Latapí de Kuhlmann (2008) mentions what Modernity meant in the eighteenth century: ‘the individualization of the social and political orders and the privatization of the economic order’ (p. 251), instead of explaining how the modern way of thinking determined the legislation and the treatment of the Indigenous population. Plá and Sosenski (2010) describe the Indigenous rebellions stating that after the Independence, ‘social differences deepened and ostracized many sectors of the population – this being the reason why a lot of Indigenous groups rose in arms’ to seek ‘a better life for them and their sons’. They point out that ‘in many regions of the Republic a series of Indigenous and peasant rebellions took place’ and they explain briefly the uprisings of Guerrero, Misantla in Veracruz, and the Cora population in Nayarit


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(p. 156). Finally, they dedicate a chart to the war of castas where the origin of the conflict is explained, the actual duration is established (from 1847 to 1901) and they set it as an example of the ‘failure of the 19th century governments’ policies towards the Indigenous people’ (ibid.). While this is a more informative section than that found in the other three books, an explanation of the reasons for the government to have that attitude towards the Indigenous population is lacking. In these books, the section ‘Indigenism’ contains a critical reflection, differing from the 1993 Reform’s books. Latapí de Kuhlmann (2008) explains that ‘the image of the Indigenous people was used [by the revolutionary governments] to claim the intention of social alliance’ (p. 421). During this time, she explains: The revolutionary regime supported the idea of an homogeneous nation, based on the anthropological thesis of Manuel Gamio (1883–1960), according to whom the revolutionary State should make an effort to incorporate, consciously or unconsciously, the Indigenous population in the economic, social, political and cultural level to which the mestizo opposing party had arrived, without considering that in order to do that the Indigenous population had to abandon and transform completely their traditions, language and traditional way of living. (ibid.) Therefore, the assimilationist ideas and their endorsement by the government are explained. Plá and Sosenski (2010) describe Indigenism as a ‘political project of the State to relate with the Indigenous population’ which involved, on the one hand, ‘to see that population as groups who needed assistance or guidance’ and, on the other, ‘to think that the Indigenous population had to leave aside their identity, languages, customs, traditions and forms of organization to join the nationalist ideas, to speak Spanish, to dress like the mestizos, to join modernity’ (p. 242). These two books recognize the limitations of Indigenism and assimilation. Referring to the EZLN, there are two sections of the books that deal with this subject. Latapí de Kuhlmann (2008) mentions several reasons for the emergence of the Zapatista movement: the context of poverty, the need to create specific legislation for the Indigenous people, regional autonomy, ‘access to the land, direct control of the exploitation of the natural resources’, ‘a stop to the police or cacique repression’, a ‘defense of traditions against globalization’. In the section on Interculturality, she adds that ‘it denounced to the world the inequality and racism

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suffered by the Indigenous population’ (pp. 479, 482). Plá and Sosenski (2010) assure that the EZLN uprising ‘made that the whole country had to look in another way to the Indigenous people historically excluded’, that the Indigenous populations have been attacked constantly by a low intensity war and that there is a lot to do in order to build a more just and intercultural Mexican society, ‘where the Indigenous people’s rights could be respected’ (pp. 255, 264). The most important reason presented for the emergence of the Zapatista movement changes between the different books (from poverty to racism) and so does the solution to their demands. Both books emphasized the importance of the recognition of the Indigenous populations’ rights, the end of their exclusion and the respect of multiculturalism, but the question is how? Moreover, the difference between the Indigenous people and ‘the whole country’, the rest of society is established again. Are they part of the inner group or not? The last section to be analyzed is the one dedicated to ‘Interculturality’. Latapí de Kuhlmann (2008) makes a timeline to represent it. She considers that a heritage from the conquest and Viceroyalty is ‘the racial and cultural mestizaje and the segregation of many people that kept themselves neglected ’ and ‘inequality, fear to difference and racism’. In the nineteenth century, ‘the criollos felt superior and called themselves Mexicans’, ‘the Indigenous people were considered inferiors and they were relegated to educative and cultural abandonment’ and she mentions the arrival of immigrants from different nationalities and religions ‘who contribute to diversity’ (p. 519). In the twentieth century, she points out the arrival of Mennonites, Chinese people, Jewish population, not previously mentioned in the book. Finally, in the twenty-first century, the second constitutional article was modified and ‘the rights of the Indigenous people and communities are recognized and warranted’, but ‘discrimination still persist’ and with ‘globalization there are more contacts between cultures that can enrich or impoverish the diverse Mexican cultures’ (p. 519). Only in the final pages of the book we do find a specific narration of the racial and ethnic representations during the Mexican History and the effect in the groups represented. Plá and Sosenski (2010) define interculturality as ‘the search for a society where differences among diverse cultures that live in a country are respected’ and it ‘implies to value and respect the culture of the other as much as my own culture. Why an Indigenous person who works his land is considered less than a businessman from Monterrey?’ (p. 291). Finally, they argue that a democratic society needs to fight male chauvinism, ‘violence at home, child labour, child abuse,


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different salaries between men and women, discrimination because of sexual preference, lack of opportunities to access certain jobs and the prohibition of women to choose over their own body’ (ibid.). This section is used by the authors to bring historical problems that persist nowadays in Mexico back to the discussion (racism, racial, sexual and gender discrimination, and so on), conveying to students that change is needed. Yet as argued by Wynter (1992), quoting The Economist, ‘the strategy of classifying the Black and Red issues with the innumerable issues gathered together under the category “minorities and women” defused the thrust to reduce the structural inequalities of the US order’ (p. 18).Therefore, while one book tries to explain the historical reasons of the marginalization of certain ethnic groups, the other chooses to merely visibilize cultural difference at the expense of a focus on racism and its consequences, but at least they are recognized and discussed. Yet, after the 2011 reform, this section has been taken out of the curriculum.

Conclusions The racial and ethnic representations found in the books vary from the 1993 Reform to the 2006 Reform. The first two books analyzed minimize or ignore the presence of the African and Asian population; their support to the Independentist cause is lessened; the information provided about these populations is sometimes incorrect and there is a silence on their lives and experiences after the Independence in favour of the mestizo population. Considering the Indigenous population, their representation before and after the Independence changes, from being a variety of glorious and knowledgeable communities to becoming nomadic or identity-less groups living in isolated regions, who rebel against the government and live in poverty. This is materialized in the mestizo national identity represented and emphasized in the book, as has been shown. The other two books try to enrich their representation of the African and Asian heritage: artistic influence, music and other cultural elements are emphasized, instead of reflecting about their active roles in society (in religious brotherhoods, guilds or militias, for example). However, the books keep minimizing their presence without referring to the approximate number of African population in New Spain and emphasizing their presence in the coasts, even if it has been shown that they were also an important group in Mexico City or in the mining centres (Velázquez, 2006). Considering the Indigenous populations, these two books mention the oppression, marginalization

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and discrimination they suffered, their presence in most territories of the Republic and they try to change the Mexican identity from being racially based on the mestizo figure to being culturally based on the different racial and ethnic groups that have lived or live in Mexico. The traditional narration of the mestizo identity has not vanished. Sections like the one dedicated to the African and Asian elements, Indigenism or Interculturality help to reconstruct the History of those racial and ethnic groups in Mexico and to understand some of the problems that the Indigenous populations face nowadays. Nonetheless, they are just addendums to the traditional narrative that can be eliminated anytime a reduction in the curriculum’s content is decided – as happened with the ‘Interculturality’ section. If the mestizaje discourse was based on the idea of unity and integration, translated into assimilation, the multiculturalist discourse is based on difference, pluralism and equality, but easily avoids the recognition of inequality: in reality, it ends up being an illusion of inclusion. For example, the Indigenous populations’ cultural diversity is assumed as part of the inner-group, their folklore enriches Mexican culture. However, they are not included or they are considered as outsiders in the rest of the historical narrative. Also, some of the textbooks frame the Indigenous population as a ‘problem’ that hinders the process of modernization, just like the Indigenist policy and politics proposed. This paradox leads to contradictions in the new conception of the national identity: it is characterized by its pluriculturality, but most of the representatives of those cultures are ignored in the national History narrative, added in small sections or seen as limits to the modernization of the country. The different racial and ethnic groups analyzed are thus a silent presence in these books. As Carretero (2007) explains, ‘it is not only to broaden the view towards the other, but to include the view of the other’ (p. 285). Although we found some examples of those views in the books, much needs to be done to transform the traditional narrative into a really plural History. In order to avoid the illusion of egalitarianism, curriculum must include, on the one hand, reflections on the origin of inequalities in the Mexican society as well as how and why it has changed along History and, on the other hand, the views of the ‘others’, not in different sections but being part of the historical narrative. As Wynter (1992) points out for the US, we should thus ask three questions considering the information about race and racism provided by these textbooks:


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UÊ œÜÊ `ˆ`Ê Ì…iÊ `ˆÃ«œÃÃiÃȜ˜Ê œvÊ Ì…iÊ ˜`ˆ}i˜œÕÃÊ «iœ«iÃ]Ê Ì…iˆÀÊ subordination and the mass enslavement of the peoples of Black African descent (the Prietos) come to seem ‘just and virtuous’ actions to those who effected them? UÊ œÜÊ `œiÃÊ Ì…iÊ Vœ˜Ìˆ˜Õ>˜ViÊ Ìœ`>ÞÊ œvÊ Ì…ˆÃÊ ˆ˜ˆÌˆ>Ê `ˆÃ«œÃÃiÃȜ˜Ê in the jobless, alcohol-ridden reservations, the jobless drug and crime ridden inner city ghettos and barrios, still come to seem to all of us, as just, or at the very least to be in the nature of things? UÊ 7…ÞÊ ˆÃÊ Ì…ˆÃÊ Vœ˜Ìi“«œÀ>ÀÞÊ v>ÌiÊ oÊ VœÀÀi>Ìi`Ê ÜˆÌ…Ê Ì…iˆÀÊ >ÃœÊ relatively low test-performance scores and high school drop-out rate? (p. 93) As argued throughout this chapter, these questions also apply to the Mexican case. The authors of the textbooks analyzed often silence or at least do not sufficiently address how the exploitation of the Indigenous and African populations was legitimated at the time, and fail to critically engage with the naturalized idea that the contemporary ‘Indigenous problem’ and their ‘difficult’ situation as can only be changed by ‘Mexicans’. Further research should study how Indigenous and African descent teenagers make sense of these narratives and the consequences of these representations in educational equality (namely, in test-performance and drop-out rates).

Notes 1. While the systematic analysis focused on the textbooks’ sections which describe the different Indigenous populations within Spanish colonial rule, I also draw on some sections referring to the pre-Hispanic period. 2. In 2011 there was a change in the Mexican History curriculum; as the books that will incorporate those changes were not published until the summer of 2014 they were not considered for the present analysis. 3. The National Indigenist Institute (Instituto Nacional Indigenista) was established as part of Liberal Indigenism’s agenda. As Marzal defines it, Indigenism is ‘the project of the “winners” in order to integrate the “losers” in the society that is born after the conquest’. Three main policy frameworks have oriented the different governments’ approach to this question: ’the Indigenous societies should be preserved as such under the control (defense-exploitation) of the dominant society (colonial indigenism), they should be assimilated into the national society in order to form a unique mestizo nation (liberal indigenism), or they should be integrated in the national society, but keeping certain characteristics (integrationists indigenism)’ (Marzal, 1998, p. 14). 4. The Spanish colonies were divided in viceroyalties. The Viceroyalty of New Spain corresponded to the current territories of Mexico, California, Arizona and Texas.

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References Apple, M. (2000) Ideology and Curriculum in J. Gómez Villanueva and A. Hernández Guerrero (comp.) El Debate Social en Torno a la Educación. Enfoques Predominantes (México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). [1st edn 1979] Araújo, M. and S. R. Maeso (2012) ‘History Textbooks, Racism and the Critique of Eurocentrism: Beyond Rectification or Compensation’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35 (7), 1266–85. Atienza Cerezo, E. and T. A. van Dijk (2010) ‘Identidad Social e Ideología en Libros de Texto Españoles de Ciencias Sociales’, Revista de Educación, 353 (September–December), 67–106. Carretero, M. (2007) Documentos de identidad. La Construcción de la Memoria Histórica en un Mundo Global (Buenos Aires: Paidós). Castellanos Guerrero, A. (1998) Nación y Racismos in A. Castellanos Guerrero and J. M. Sandoval (eds) Nación, Racismo e Identidad (México: Editorial Nuestro Tiempo). Castellanos Guerrero, A., J. Goméz Izquierdo and F. Pineda (2007) El Discurso Racista en México in Teun A. van Dijk (ed.) Racismo y discurso en América Latina (Barcelona: Gedisa Editorial). Horbath, J. E. (2012) ‘Rezago Social y Discriminación de la Política Social Hacia los Grupos Indígenas en Sonora’, Revista de Relaciones Internacionales, Estrategia y Seguridad, 7 (1) (January–June), 173–89. Horbath, J. E. (2006) ‘La Discriminación Laboral de los Indígenas en los mercados Urbanos de Trabajo en México: Revisión y Balance de un Fenómeno Persistente’, V Congreso Nacional AMET 2006 Trabajo y Reestructuración: Los Retos del Nuevo Siglo, April, Ciudad de México. Jiménez Alarcón, C. (1995) Historia del Hombre en México (México: Fernández Editores). Knight, A. (1990) ‘Racism, Revolution, and Indigenismo: Mexico, 1910–1940’ in T. R. Graham (ed.) The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870–1940 (Austin: University of Texas Press). Latapí de Kuhlmann, P. (2008) Ser en la Historia (México: Ediciones Pedagógicas/ McGraw-Hill). J. A. Machuca Ramírez, J. A. (1998) Nación, Mestizaje y Racismo in A. Castellanos Guerrero and J. M. Sandoval (eds) Nación, Racismo e Identidad (México: Editorial Nuestro Tiempo). Marzal, M. M. (1998) Historia de la Antropología (Ecuador: Ediciones Abya-Yala). Masferrer León, C. V. (2011) La Enseñanza sobre los Africanos y Afrodescendientes en la Educación Primaria y Secundaria en México in Afrodescendencia: Aproximaciones Contemporáneas desde América Latina y el Caribe (Centro de Información de las Naciones Unidas),, accessed 10 September 2012. Plá, S. and S. L. Sosenski (2010) México en el Tiempo. Historia Tercer Grado (Mexico: Editorial Patria). Pozo, J. L., M. Asensio and M. Carrero (1997) Modelos de Aprendizaje-Enseñanza de la Historia in M. Carretero, J. I. Pozo, M. Asensio (comp.) La Enseñanza de las Ciencias Sociales (Madrid: Visor Dis).


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Secretaría de Educación Pública (2007) Programa Sectorial de Educación 2007-2012,, accessed 9 August 2010. Secretaría de Educación Pública (2006) Plan y Programas de Estudio 2006. Educación Básica. Secundaria (México: Secretaría de Educación Pública). Secretaría de Educación Pública (1994) Plan y Programas de Estudio 1993. Educación Básica. Secundaria (México: Secretaría de Educación Pública). Sierra Camacho, M. T. (1997) ‘Discriminación e injusticia en regiones indígenas’, Latin American Studies Associatio, XX International Congress, 17–20 April, Guadalajara, Jalisco. Téllez, M. and J. L. Fontes (comp.) (2004) La Legislación Mexicana de Manuel Dublán y José María Lozano (Mexico: Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Estado de México, El Colegio de México, Escuela Libre de Derecho). Treviño Villarreal, H. J. et al. (2003) Historia de México. Tercer Grado (México: Ediciones Castillo). Tutino, J. (1990) De la Insurrección a la Revolución en México: las Bases Sociales de la Violencia Agraria, 1750–1940 (Mexico: Ediciones Era). Van Dijk, T. A. (2000) Ideología: Una Aproximación Multidisciplinaria (Barcelona: Gedisa Editorial). Van Dijk, T. A. (2009) Discurso y Poder (Barcelona: Gedisa Editorial). Van Dijk, T. A. and E. Atienza Cerezo (2010) ‘Identidad social e ideología en libros de texto españoles de Ciencias Sociales’, Revista de Educación, 353 (September– December), 67–106. UNESCO (1995) ‘Multiculturalism: a Policy Response to Diversity’, 1995 Global Cultural Diversity Conference, 26–28 April, Sydney, Australia. Vázquez Gómez, G. (1990) ‘La Educación Multicultural’, Educar, 16, 7–16. Velázquez, M. E. (2006) Mujeres de Origen Africano en la Capital Novohispana, Siglos XVII y XVIII (Mexico: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). Wynter, S. (1992) Do not Call us Negros. How ‘Multicultural’ Textbooks Perpetuate Racism (San Francisco, CA: Stanford).

13 Social Mobilization and the Public History of Slavery in the United States Stephen Small

Introduction Slavery in what became the United States endured for more than 250 years. The European international slave trade to what became the US lasted for almost 200 years, and after it was legally abolished in 1808, the domestic trade in enslaved people (the so-called ‘interstate trade’) within the US continued for more than 55 years. During the international trade at least 800,000 Africans were kidnapped, transported, or landed in the US. From the 1770s to the 1860s, the ‘interstate trade’ involved the sale of more than 650,000 enslaved African Americans from the Upper South to the Lower South. Another 1.3 million were sold locally in the South. Ports from New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama, to Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina thrived on the basis of this trade in humans (Eltis and Richardson, 2010). Political power and economic wealth across the South was largely based on ownership of enslaved property, and legal enforcement or support for slavery. Religious organizations and civic life were almost inextricable from slavery. The entire system was enforced with the power of the state. Substantial parts of the physical infrastructure of US slavery still exist today across much of the South. Docks, wharves and warehouses; cotton exchanges, courts and city halls; banks, insurance companies and businesses; churches; cotton mills and sugar mills. There are mansions formerly owned by master-enslavers and merchants on plantations in rural areas, or in the elite districts of Southern urban 229


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centres. Monuments, memorials and museums built during or after slavery – including vast numbers dedicated to Southern veterans of the Civil War – are scattered across the landscape. And while slavery in the US lasted longest in the South (and is mainly thought of as a Southern phenomenon) in fact it involved many more regions than just the South. From New England and New York to Missouri and Arkansas; and as far West as de facto slavery in California. Enslaved men worked in the ports of Massachusetts, enslaved women worked in the dairies of Rhode Island, both men and women cut trees in the forests of New York, and worked in the mines in Missouri. Some of these physical infrastructures still remain though we know a lot less about them than we do about those in the South. Representations of the Civil War receive far more attention than any other aspect of slavery and there are innumerable buildings, mansions, memorials, monuments and battlefields from that period still extant. This includes the First White House of the Confederacy, multiple Confederate or Civil War museums and numerous battle sites across the South. There is a Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia and The National Civil War museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There is also a proposed Jefferson Davis Home and national library in Mississippi. While slavery was resisted by Africans and African Americans from the very start, physical testimonies to such resistance are far less likely to have survived to the present day. Memories are more often sustained by what has disappeared, than by what has remained! But there is still some infrastructure from that resistance too. Most common are churches like the First African Baptist church (1773) in Savannah, Georgia. A range of buildings and routes remains from the extensive Underground Railroad. There is a reconstructed Fort Mose in Florida (which commemorates the first community of Maroons in what became the US); and a signpost commemorating ‘Ibo landing’ in Georgia. Historical road markers to notable Black leaders like Frederick Douglass can also be found. These physical remnants and markers to Black resistance are fewer in number, less resourced, can be found in less central locations, and receive far fewer visitors than those to the master enslavers and the Southern Civil War veterans. A simple consequence of power inequities and differential access to resources in the past and the present. Several thousand plantation sites and related outbuildings from the period of slavery are also currently incorporated into a vast heritage tourism industry across the South. These sites contain mansions, slave cabins, work structures and a wide range of other buildings. Since 1994,

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I have personally visited more than 200 plantation museum sites, in ten states, including the biggest (Nottoway plantation), the most visited (Oak Alley plantation), the most photographed (Boone Hall), as well as some that belonged to US presidents, when they were master-enslavers (The Hermitage, Tennessee). I have collected detailed information on an additional 50 sites. Since 2005, my main focus has been on twenty-firstcentury antebellum slave cabins at these sites, particularly in Louisiana. I have visited ‘slave villages’ and ‘slave quarters’ in rural Louisiana and in Jacksonville, Florida; ‘slave streets’ in South Carolina and North Carolina. I have even visited ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ in Maryland, currently awaiting incorporation into heritage tourism. By comparing the location, treatment and social significance of ‘slave cabins’ and mansion houses at these sites, I highlight unequal access to resources and differential social valuations of the past, in the production and dissemination of knowledge about slavery and its legacies (Small, 2012, 2011a, 2011b). I have made comparisons with similar patterns of public history at other locations across the African diaspora, especially in Western Europe (Small, 2011b; Nimako and Small, 2012). Given the vastness and longevity of slavery in US history, and the tremendous contribution it made to the political, economic and social life of what became the US, to what extent is slavery represented in public history and in museums of American history across the US today? In which public history sites can information about the slave trade, slavery and resistance to slavery be found? To what extent is the physical infrastructure of slavery incorporated into public history sites on slavery? What are the main strategies for representing the history of the slave trade, slavery and resistance at these sites? What is the nature of knowledge production of slavery and its legacies at these sites? What role did – and does – social mobilization – of Whites and of Blacks – play in the range of representations that currently exist? And how does the infrastructure as a whole reveal tactics of silencing the past, as compared with tactics that are more critical of the past?

Slavery museums and exhibits in the United States There are many mainstream museums1 across the US that house permanent or temporary exhibits on slavery and its legacies (Horton and Horton, 2006). These museums mainly originated as the result of rich and wealthy donors, and/or professional museum specialists (Katz and Katz, 1965). At first such museums paid little or no attention to Black people (or other people of colour) except their occasional treatment as


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primitive or backward peoples (Katz and Katz, 1965). Beginning in the 20th century, and especially after the Civil Rights movement was well under way, they increasingly incorporated a less exoticized approach to such representations. Today there is a large number of museums that have permanent or temporary exhibits on slavery or its legacies. Outside the South, this includes the Museum of American History, Washington, DC, and museums in Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore and Detroit, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Many Museums across the South have similar exhibits, including the state museums in New Orleans and in Baton Rouge, and State museums in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. There are also state museums in other Southern States, including Tennessee, Alabama and Virginia. Some of these museums have permanent exhibits. Some hold temporary exhibits, typically in Black History Month (February), or on anniversaries of important events in Black history (for example, the birthdays of Black leaders, or the anniversary of important historical events). At the time of writing (2013) many museum exhibits are currently being organized from 2011 through 2015, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. There is a significant number of specialist African American museums across the nation, many of which have exhibits on slavery and its legacies. These museums primarily date to the 1960s, though they often began as private collections or exhibits in segregated Black spaces across the nation (Wilson, 2012). This includes, for example, the Martin Luther King National Historic site in Atlanta, Georgia; The Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama; and The International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina. Other specialist African American museums include The Charles H Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Dating to the 1960s, this is the first such museum ever to exist in the US. There is the Dusable museum in Chicago, The Chattanooga African American Museum in Tennessee; the California African American Museum in Los Angeles; and the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver, Colorado. None of these sites have slavery as the only issue, and very few of them have slavery as the main focus. The most common focus in these museums is the Civil Rights movements and related activities. The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco makes a point of covering African diaspora life before, during and after slavery, refusing to define Black life as beginning or being reducible to slavery. An African American museum in Washington, DC, with funding from former President

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George W. Bush, is scheduled to open in 2015 (Bunch, 2010). It will include a wide range of topics relating to slavery and its legacies. There are specialist house museums or museums on the ‘great men’ of American history – including many associated with slavery. Several US presidents were master-enslavers and their involvement in slavery is mentioned at their home sites and/or national sites. For example, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Zachary Taylor in Virginia and Andrew Jackson in Tennessee. Other ‘great men’ of politics, including Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederacy, in Georgia. There are also sites that include a range of military leaders, such as Robert Lee in Virginia. Houses dedicated to ‘great women’ of the slave era are few and far between. There is also a smaller string of museums dedicated to ‘great men’ of African American history, and several of these address slavery and its legacies. No one gets more attention than Martin Luther King, who has a whole range of museums, memorials, centres and streets across the nation named after him (Romano and Raiford, 2006). There is the Frederick Douglass house in Washington, DC; Booker T. Washington National Park in Virginia; the Booker T. Washington Home in Tuskegee, the George Washington Carver National Monument in Missouri; and the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in Florida. The W. E. B. Du Bois homestead in Massachusetts is commemorated with a small monument. There are far fewer sites dedicated to ‘great women’ of African American history though there is the Harriet Tubman museum in Georgia, where the fascinating story of the escape from slavery of Ellen Craft and her husband is told (Craft and Craft, 1999). Another Harriet Tubman museum can be found in Maryland. There is also the Lucy Laney museum in Savannah. Both mainstream and specialist African American museums vary in size, resources, the range of exhibits and in the emphasis that they put on different periods of African American history and culture, including the multiple connections to Africa and the Africa Diaspora. In most of these museums slavery is just one aspect of African American history, and typically not the one that gets most attention. Most of these museums follow mainstream practice in highlighting the contributions of important men (and to lesser extent, women) and they represent typical gender roles of men and women as they have unfolded historically in the US. There is some descriptive recognition of the ways in which the experiences of Black women diverge in fundamental ways from those of White women. For example, how under slavery Black women had to work in the fields, performed roles as domestics to White


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women, and were the victims of White male predators to a far greater degree than White women (Glymph, 2008). There are many images of Black women among the ranks of those at the forefront of education, religion and in the protest movements for civil rights. Whenever African American museums address slavery, they typically confront the injustice, inhumanity and violence of slavery; the resistance, resilience and dignity of Black people; they identify great events and incidents, especially the Underground Railroad; they exhibit works by AfricanAmerican artists; and they personalize the victims of slavery, especially leaders, by mentioning their names, families and accomplishments. Mainstream museums are more uneven in the ways that they address slavery and their legacies; some are explicit and direct, but many stop at going beyond simple or perfunctory statements of the injustices of slavery. Most limited their focus mainly to leaders and important events. Few of them provide any detailed condemnation of slavery and its injustice. There is currently (2013) no museum of slavery in the US. A fundraising campaign to start a National Slavery Museum began in 2001, and was spearheaded by former Virginia Governor, Douglas Wilder. A plot of land was donated in Fredericksburg, Virginia as the location for the museum. The project stumbled along to 2008 and then in 2011 filed for bankruptcy before it ever opened. At the time of writing (2013) there is a dispute over funding and the ownership of donated artefacts, with no clear indication that it will ever open. There are no museums dedicated to rebellions under US slavery, such as those led by Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser or Denmark Vessey. These men are frequently mentioned in African American museums. There are also no museums dedicated to the middle passage or to slave auctions. Though there is a small ‘Old Slave Mart’ museum in Charleston, South Carolina, housed in what was once a very active ‘slave auction’. And there are few museums dedicated to the Black Panther Party, or the Nation of Islam, though again, specialist African-American museums consistently highlight such leaders and/or events.

Public history at plantation museum sites The most explicit, systematic and detailed account of slavery and its legacies in public history in the US can be found in what I call the plantation museum infrastructure (Small, 2011a). This infrastructure consists of an immense range of museum sites that extends across the US South and that focuses on slavery, the international and domestic

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slave trade, the Civil War and their legacies. The infrastructure includes public, not for profit and private museums, mansions, galleries and exhibits. They are promoted by Welcome Centers and tourist offices, and advertised across the South, the nation and the world in travel and tourist books, newspapers and magazines and online. Millions of national and international visitors go to these sites each year. In rural areas, this includes sites housed in original or reconstructed plantation complexes, working plantations, and related buildings. And they have on site mansions and outbuildings, including kitchens, workspaces like blacksmith and carpenter shops, sugar mills and cotton barns. In urban areas they include mansions and townhouses that belonged to masterenslavers and their families. These sites organize guided and unguided tours of buildings and gardens. And a significant number of these buildings are original eighteenth- and nineteenth-century structures that are the remains, restorations, reconstructions and replicas of antebellum slave cabins and slave quarters (Vlach, 1993; Eichstedt and Small, 2002; Harrison, 2008; Small, 2009, 2011a). I define these sites as plantation museum sites (Small, 2011a, 2012), and the cabins as twenty-first-century antebellum slave cabins (Small, 2009, 2011a, 2012). A twenty-first-century antebellum slave cabin is ‘A cabin built in the antebellum period, primarily for habitation by enslaved persons, and which has survived (restored or reconstructed) into the 21st century’ (Small, 2009, p.2, fn1). A minimum estimate of the numbers of buildings in this infrastructure must run into the thousands. Although these sites are almost all in buildings or structures first built during slavery, their main goal is not to narrate stories of slavery. Their main priority is the heritage of Southern history including extensive attention to periods after slavery was legally abolished. Their main focus is on architecture, elite White lifestyles, ‘great men’ like presidents, governors, senators, but also writers, painters and artists and important political events – like national independence and the Civil War. Only occasionally do they focus on ‘exceptional women’. The narratives are articulated around class – economic and social elites, political leaders, and the extremely wealthy; and around gender – with a detailed focus on the social roles, experiences and aspirations of elite White men (in politics, economics and the military) and elite White women (in domesticity, family and philanthropy). But all the sites have at least something to say about slavery and I identify three narrative styles for representing slavery and slave cabins: relative incorporation, marginalization and symbolic annihilation (Small, 2009, 2011a, 2012). Relative incorporation occurs at sites where


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‘the topics of enslavement and those who were enslaved are discussed throughout the tour’ (Eichstedt and Small, 2002, p. 10). These sites are explicit and relatively detailed in their acknowledgement of the cabins as part of heritage tourism. Information and details about the cabins are provided in systematic ways, for example in site literature (online and promotional leaflets), in placards and signs at the site. The cabins may even be part of a tour. Examples include Booker T. Washington National Monument in Virginia, a National Park Service site; Frogmore plantation, a privately owned site in Louisiana; Boone Hall, a privately owned site in South Carolina; Evergreen plantation, a privately owned site in Southern Louisiana that used to be a sugar plantation; and Kingsley Plantation in Northern Florida (owned by the National Park Service). At sites where marginalization is the dominant narrative style there is only perfunctory mention or reference to the slave cabins. This involves ‘trivialization and deflection’, that is, where ‘slavery and African Americans are mentioned, but primarily through mechanisms, phrasing, and images that minimize and distort them’ often including highlighting ‘faithful slaves’ and ‘the benevolence of plantation owners’ (Eichstedt and Small, 2002, p. 10). The cabins are simply mentioned in passing – during the tour, in the leaflets or the videos – and in ways that may be literal, trivializing or dismissive. The Antebellum Plantation (a public site) and Alexander H. Stephen’s State Historic Park in Georgia (also public) are examples. So too is Springfield plantation, a privately owned site in Mississippi. Symbolic annihilation occurs at sites that ‘ignore the institution and experience of slavery altogether or treat them in a perfunctory way’ (Eichstedt and Small, 2002, p. 10). And ‘where slavery and the enslaved are either completely absent or where mention of them is negligible, formalistic, fleeting or perfunctory’ (ibid., p. 107). The cabins receive little or no attention to their historical value, or they are represented in a condescending or offensive manner, or with little respect. Passing mention is made of them, but they are organized at sites in ways that demean them, the people who used to live in them, and their history. Whether intentional or not, this amounts to institutional neglect. A striking example of symbolic annihilation occurs at Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site in Georgia, (public site) where one of the slave cabins functions as rest-rooms at the site. Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana (privately owned) is another good example. And symbolic annihilation also occurs at Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches, Louisiana (a not for profit site). This is a complex site because it belonged for a

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long time to a legally free family of colour – the Metoyers – that owned more enslaved persons than any of legally free people of colour in the South (Mills, 1977). And representations of women (though not gender) are more complex than at most other sites. We get information at the site about the legally free people of colour and about women, but it is all highly circumscribed and the women are all represented as exceptional women. Overall, the exceptional woman narrative remains subordinate to the site’s preoccupation with the lives of the elite plantation owners, and to details of architecture and building interiors. But while the majority of (coerced) residents of these sites were enslaved people; and while the majority of buildings in which people regularly slept and lived at these sites were those occupied by the enslaved; nevertheless, it is the mansions occupied by elite White plantation owners that invariably garner most attention in heritage tourism. At sites with slave cabins still present, the cabins are typically located at the back of the big house, and they receive far less attention and far fewer resources as compared to the main houses (Small, 2011a, 2012). Very few sites provide individualizing or humanizing information about the former residents of slave cabins, and there are few images of Black women or Black men. Exceptions to this general pattern are Booker T. Washington National Monument in Virginia, and Frogmore Plantation in Louisiana. The privileging of elite White lives and buildings reflects their social valuation by the owners of the sites. The treatment of slave cabins, especially in the last ten years, reveals clear ambivalence on the part of site staff. On the one hand, the cabins are increasingly valued for their authenticity, and their role in telling a more inclusive story of slavery. Several sites that previously possessed cabins that were unused or in remote areas, have recently brought them to the central area of these sites; and several sites that had no cabins have since acquired them, or built reconstructions. On the other hand, the cabins are still highly marginalized overall, perhaps because too much attention to them threatens to raise issues around inequality, racism and gender during slavery – and about the link between contemporary racial inequality and slavery – that are believed best left alone. As I will shortly mention below, it is when we think about what is missing from these sites, and about the ambivalent treatment of slave cabins, that we really get insights into the issues of social mobilization this chapter raises, and into what I call the institutionalization of neglect. What is missing becomes more visible, so to speak, when such sites are compared with the exhibits at the specialist African-American museums mentioned above.


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Discussion I argue that the public history of slavery in the museum infrastructure of the US constitutes a ‘separation of knowledge’ that is still emerging from the ‘segregation of knowledge’ that is a direct legacy of slavery and legal segregation. It is a separation of knowledge, because the exhibits on slavery in mainstream museums typically occupy separate and more limited spaces than those on American history generally; AfricanAmerican specialist museums are highly dispersed, have less resources, began later and are less well known than mainstream museums. It is a segregation of knowledge, because this separation was not voluntary, but resulted from the past legal and de facto segregation of US society in most of its institutions, including museums. In other words, the separation has not yet escaped the consequences of segregation. And nor is it likely to do so in the near future, for reasons described below. The White South erected the ideological and institutional edifice of White supremacy as a basis for most stories told about Southern history in general and slavery in particular (Brundage, 2005). This edifice was and is reflected in political debates, historical accounts, research productivity and museum and public histories of the South (Blight, 2001). It included extremist and fanatical elements, as well as more mainstream and less virulent elements. But all were predicated on the same principles – alleged Northern aggression, the ‘lost cause’,2 an honourable Southern society built on chivalry, decency and honour, a benign slave system of paternalist planters, and complacent and ‘happy slaves’ (with a few bad apples on both sides). Central to this was racism and gender – White men as the defenders of White womanhood against a perceived Black threat. Hidden beneath the surface – typically denied or discredited – were some of the harsh facts whose recognition upset the story – millions bought and sold, families separated, the whip and the lash, brutality, violence and sexual predation, and the most vehemently expressed notions of White racial purity and Black racial impurity. For almost 100 years (from 1860s through the 1950s) many professional historians across the South (except African-Americans) largely condoned this approach, and many strongly advocated for it. Even since the 1950s, many professional historians continue to conduct work predicated on this bedrock of assumptions. In other words, the current separation (and subordination) of museum exhibits on slavery, and the privileging of elite White lifestyles and mansions at plantation museum sites today (along with the erasure, neglect or sanitization of slavery and slave cabins) are the direct result

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of long established and continuing racialized power inequalities across the nation and the South, including their irrepressible class and gender dimensions (Jones, 1986). Inextricable from these economic factors are the divergent political ideologies embraced to explain Southern history. In museums outside the South they reflect the influence of class in privileging high culture and art; and in museums across the South, class privileging is clearly present too, but they reflect the ideological pre-eminence of Southern gentility, paternalism, and the ‘lost cause’ as the historical pillars of Southern heritage (Yuhl, 2005). It also reveals the changing role and influence of the state. Economic inequalities and political power, established during slavery and modified but extended during Jim Crow, provided the fuel for the proliferation of museum exhibits of this kind throughout the South, and also provide the foundation for the contemporary distribution of resources at these sites. The ideological impetus across the South to represent the defeat of the confederacy as a noble and honourable ‘lost cause’, and slavery as a paternalistic institution for the benefit of the so-called ‘negro’, in all its myriad versions, shaped the ways in which museums, monuments and memorials emerged, and the forms that they adopted, especially in public spaces (Savage, 1997). Jim Crow segregation and state-sponsored violence prevented any significant alternate public representations emerging from Black institutions or individuals, with the important exception of those in segregated Black spaces. The state, at national and county level, supported all these inequities. Gender, race and class conventions across the South meant that elite White women emerged to lead many of these public commemorations of slavery and the Civil War, especially in the realm of historic house museums (Brundage, 2005; Yuhl, 2005). For all the same reasons, few Black women were allowed or able to play prominent roles in public commemorations, unless they were in the designated role of so-called ‘mammies’ for the aggrandizement of the ‘lost cause’ (McElya, 2007). Emerging from slavery and the Civil War, Black people also sought to carry out research, produce and document knowledge and disseminate information about slavery and its legacies (Blight, 2001). And they achieved highly significant if largely circumscribed successes (Clark, 2005). They developed their own community history and exhibits in segregated Black spaces, especially in churches, literary societies and schools. They built memorials and small monuments, often in segregated cemeteries. And a small but significant number of Black academics and intellectuals built data bases of original knowledge that challenged racism and centrally incorporated Black voices and visions (Glymph,


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2003; Blight, 2001, 2002; Wilson, 2012). They were determined to tell history as they experienced it and saw it. But they told such histories at their peril if they came outside segregated communities. Any attempt to push these into the public realm incurred immediate White violence (Brundage, 2000, 2005). In a context in the South in which Blacks were overwhelmingly dependent upon Whites for jobs and personal safety, they had few other alternatives but to toe the line, or work clandestinely. And Blacks paid far more attention to literacy and education. It is only with demands arising from the Civil Rights movement, that the long established Black challenges to the broader Southern hegemony faced fewer threats of violence, were provided with greater state support, and more public spaces were opened up for counter-narratives of Southern history (West, 1999). It became less dangerous or life threatening for Blacks to promote their understandings of slavery in the public realm. The social mobilization of Blacks revealed in the Civil Rights movement, Black Power and the Nation of Islam, led to the end of legal segregation, to increased access by Blacks to political office, and to a far greater range of public history representations of slavery and its legacies (Brundage, 2005; Autry, 2008). This is evidenced in the fact that the majority of African American specialist museums and galleries have emerged only since the 1950s (Wilson, 2012). Black social mobilization also influenced the emergence and shaping of key exhibits in mainstream museums across the nation. Some of these general patterns – of segregation of knowledge and a separation of knowledge – are more vividly highlighted when we examine the ‘institutionalization of neglect’ in representations of slavery and slave cabins in plantation museum sites (Small, 2012). As I outlined above in this chapter, plantation museum sites continue to devote far more attention to living spaces, workspaces and lifestyles associated with elite Whites. They are still very strongly influenced by notions of Southern gentility, nobility and pride. All of them are gendered. Blacks continue to appear at these sites largely in complementary supporting roles to enhance White honour, decency or generosity. These sites are replete with benevolent masters and ‘faithful slaves’. And despite some significant changes in the last 15 years, this remains the overarching orthodoxy and the nature of knowledge production at Southern plantation museum sites. What about slave cabins? As recently as 30 years ago, the idea that any attention should be devoted at these sites to the living spaces of the enslaved was typically dismissed with incredulity or ridicule at most sites. They were seen as possessing little architectural or social value,

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and were largely marginalized or allowed to disappear. But times have changed. Over the course of the last three decades, slave cabins are increasingly valued (Small, 2011a). These changes resulted from the criticism sites received for their partial coverage of plantation history, from the professionalism of site management and from a yearning for the black dollar (cash spent by African-American tourists). Cabins are also increasingly valued for the authenticity they bring to sites. More attention than ever before is currently devoted to slave cabins, but again, it is highly circumscribed (Small, 2011a, 2012; Modlin et al., 2012). At no more than a tiny number of sites do the cabins get major attention; the vast majority of sites still frame the cabins in the shadows of the big house; and there remains a determined effort to resist addressing some of the uncomfortable truths that attention to the cabins seems to beg: exploitation, brutality, sexual predation, and the consanguinity between ‘master and slave’ that was an open secret of antebellum plantation society. Nor do many Blacks yet wish to address these issues. At present, Black people in the US do not have the resources to challenge or shape the mainstream museums outside the South; nor do they have the resources to undermine the ideological grip of Southern gentility prevalent at plantation museum sites. While museum exhibits on slavery are not the most urgent or pressing problem in the Black community, they still mount a strong fight in individual specialist museums.

Conclusion Not everyone wants to visit a museum or exhibit devoted to detailing the harsh aspects of slavery and its legacies. Most non-Blacks in the US would prefer not to discuss slavery and its legacies, in museums, or any other public institutions. Many Black people feel the same way. Elsewhere in the African diaspora – for example, in Britain, France and the Netherlands – many Black people would much prefer to bury the past and leave it far behind (Small, 1997; Nimako and Willemsen, 2011; Nimako and Small, 2012). But there are others who believe that significant progress in tackling current racial inequality and discrimination will be achieved only by detailed knowledge and information about the past; knowledge that is obtained with rigorous, detailed and extensive research on slavery and its legacies; that this is better than silence about the past. And that it is far superior to allowing incomplete, insufficient or distorted information, as well as


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ignorance or myth, to shape contemporary discussions of slavery and its legacies. The Black community reflects such a range of views. Besides, just because such museums exist, it does not mean everyone has to visit them. It must be appropriate that there should be exhibits that provide comprehensive and inclusive information on slavery and its legacies; that are based on the best and most recent knowledge; and that take account of multiple perspectives! This is especially relevant in the United States, given its international influence and the fact that more research and knowledge has been produced on slavery in the US, than on any other territory in the Americas. There is extensive information about slavery and its legacies in a wide range of museums today, from mainstream public and private museums, to specialist museums of African-American history and culture, to plantation museums sites, as well as those dedicated to presidents and other ‘great men’ of history. But the nature and scope of coverage, the discursive orientation and the issues highlighted vary dramatically. Many of them have not yet fully escaped the legacy of Southern gentility. All of them have to contend with the US nationalist ideology of progress and a propensity across the nation to disavow public discussion of race in general and slavery in particular. For all these reasons, I argue that this museum infrastructure represents a ‘separation of knowledge’ that is the outcome of the ‘segregation of knowledge’ – a direct legacy of slavery and legal segregation. It is unfortunate that it is the plantation museum site infrastructure across the US South that constitutes the biggest range of institutions that address slavery. Despite noticeable improvements in the last 15 years, they still fail to tell a full or fair or balanced story. Their silences are too loud, their evasions too obvious, their euphemisms too pervasive, and their marginalization of slavery too entrenched. They still remain too extensively under the thrall of Southern gentility. For reasons of economics, of politics and of personnel, it is unlikely they will realize fundamental change any time soon and that tactics that silence key elements of the Southern past will continue to prevail. In this context, it is reassuring to recognize that many AfricanAmerican specialist museums exist to challenge their dominant views, and the underlying assumptions upon which such views are based. Mainstream museums locate their direct but limited critique of slavery within a grand narrative of American history that puts the emphasis on eventual freedom, equality and fairness; plantation museums relatively incorporate, marginalize or simply annihilate slavery from their narratives; but museums managed or influenced by African-Americans

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tell a more complete story of the breadth and depth of slavery and its legacies, and they personalize and humanize African-Americans in ways that have no counterparts in mainstream or plantation museums. The public history of slavery that exists in these museums across the US today is a result of social mobilization in the context of entrenched inequalities of resources and power, of Southern Whites to tell a highly biased story, of Northern Whites to tell a class-based story; and of Blacks in all regions to correct the historical record in these museums. An analysis of representations of slavery in public history museums and exhibits across the US reveals continuing struggles over knowledge production and dissemination (Trouillot, 1995; Small, 1997). It highlights the conflicts between contemporary actors, stratified by class and race and gender, with unequal access to resources. And it reminds us of the inescapable legacy of slavery and legal segregation in shaping current knowledge production and dissemination. It reminds us that knowledge production is still inextricable from racialized ideologies, and that such ideologies today continue to be shaped by a remarkable combination of factors, including economic profit, political gain, nostalgia, the evasion of guilt, as well as hostility to Black people. For scholars interested in processes of racialization, an examination of these museums reveals two things. First, that racialized practices prevail in a wide range of institutions, not just in the political realm, or in the realm of material inequalities in jobs, housing, policing and education, but also in the cultural realm, of which museums are but one institution. Second, that racialized ideologies embraced by Whites address not just the present (arguments about alleged Black cultures of poverty, male crime violence, female irresponsibility), but also issues of the past (that slavery was benevolent, marginal, and that Whites achieved their present position on the basis of hard work, rather than state-sponsored institutions of racial exclusion). As we have seen from studies of White privilege, they are not likely to give up such comforting delusions any time in the near future (Frankenburg, 1993; Lipsitz, 1998). Whatever the strengths and limitations of current exhibits on slavery and its legacies, there is little prospect that they will be significantly improved in the near future. Actually, there is a greater possibility that their position will deteriorate even though the opening of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture (currently scheduled for 2015) in Washington, DC, should highlight issues again. Museum representations are not on the national political agenda, nor are they a priority for Black people. The most flagrant distortions about slavery promoted by the ‘lost cause’ ideology have been largely


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eroded and even confederate museums have toned down their message and modulated their language. The prevalence of Southern gentility remains entrenched, though it is far less strident and blatant than in the past. And there is a significant (if marginalized) infrastructure of galleries, exhibits and museums in which slavery and its legacies receive significant attention. There are scholars, community activists and artists that continue to produce a substantial body of work on slavery and its legacies, and those provide important sources of information outside museums. There is the occasional flare up in a museum from time to time, but the flames from such incidents soon flicker and fade. For most African-American leaders, organizations and communities, there are far, far bigger problems than museum exhibits, including mass incarceration, community decay, gun violence, single parent families, educational failure, and the debilitating effects of the economic recession, especially on employment. The recession is taking its toll on museums themselves – with funding cuts, diminution of resources, cutbacks in staffing and increasingly restricted opening hours. AfricanAmericans do not have access to the resources necessary to address all these problems. But we are fortunate that there are still dedicated individuals and communities who recognize that even in the face of such threats, we must still dedicate some of our time and energies to providing accurate, extensive and inclusive knowledge and information about slavery and its legacies.

Notes 1. By ‘mainstream museum’ I mean museums of American history and culture, funded by federal, state or city governments, as well as privately funded museums on these topics that are open to the public. I do not discuss art museums in this chapter. 2. The ‘lost cause’ is the ideological movement articulated in politics and literature by White Southerners after they lost the Civil War, to suggest that they were noble men with a righteous reason for waging war, and were defeated not by skill but by the bigger forces of the Union Army.

References Alderman, D. H. (2006) ‘Street Names as Memorial Arenas: The Reputational Politics of Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr., in a Georgia County’ in R. C. Romano and L. Raiford (eds) The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory (Athens and London: University of Georgia Press).

The Public History of Slavery in the US 245 Autry, R. K. (2008) ‘Desegregating the Past: The Transformation of Public Imagination at South African and American Museums’ (Madison: PhD Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison). Blight, D. (2001) Race and Reunion. The Civil War in American History (Cambridge, MA, and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press). Blight, D. (2002) Beyond the Battlefield. Race, Memory, and the American Civil War (Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press). Brundage, W. F. (ed.) (2000) Where These Memories Grow. History, Memory, and Southern Identity (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press). Brundage, W. F. (2005) The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory (Cambridge, MA, and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press). Bunch, L. G., III (2010) Call the Lost Dream Back. Essays on History, Race and Museums (Washington, DC: The AAM Press, American Association of Museums). Clark, K. A. (2005) Defining Moments. African American Commemoration & Political Culture in the South, 1863–1913 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press). Craft, E. and W. Craft (1999) Running a Thousand Miles to Freedom (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press). Eichstedt, J. L. and S. Small (2002) Representations of Slavery. Race, Ideology and Southern Plantations Museums (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press). Eltis, D. and D. Richardson (2010) Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press). Frankenberg, R. (1993) White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Glymph, T. (2003) ‘Liberty Dearly Bought: The Making of Civil War Memory in African American Communities in the South’ in C. M. Payne and A. Green Time Longer than Rope: A Century of African American Activism (New York: New York University Press). Glymph, T. (2008) Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press). Harrison, A. Y. (2008) ‘Reconstructing Somerset Place: Slavery, Memory and Historical Consciousness’ (Durham, NC: PhD Dissertation, Department of History, Duke University). Horton, J. and L. Horton (eds) (2006) Slavery and Public Memory: The Tough Stuff of American Memory (New York: New Press). Jones, J. (1986) Labour of Love, Labour of Sorrow: Black Women, Work and the Family, From Slavery to the Present (New York: Vintage Books). Katz, H. and M. Katz (1965) Museums USA: A History and Guide (New York: Doubleday & Company). Lipsitz, G. (1998) The Possessive Investment in Whiteness (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press). McElya, M. (2007) Clinging to Mammy. The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press). Mills, G. B. (1977) The Forgotten People: Cane River’s Creoles of Color (Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press).


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Modlin, E. A., Jr., D. H. Alderman and G. W. Gentry (2011) ‘Tour Guides as Creators of Empathy: The Role of Affective Inequality in Marginalizing the Enslaved at Plantation House Museums’, Tourist Studies, 11 (3), 3–19. Nimako, K. and S. Small (2012) ‘Collective Memory of Slavery in Great Britain and The Netherlands’ in M. Schalkwijk and S. Small (ed.) New Perspectives on Slavery and Colonialism in the Caribbean (The Hague: Amrit Publishers). Nimako, K. and G. Willemsen (2011) The Dutch Atlantic: Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation (London: Pluto Press). Romano, R. C. and L. Raiford (2006) The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory (Athens and London: University of Georgia Press). Savage, K. (1997) Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves. Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). Small, S. (1997) ‘Contextualizing the Black Presence in British Museums: Representations, Resources and Response’ in E. H. Greenhill (ed.) Museums and Multiculturalism in Britain (Leicester: Leicester University Press). Small, S. (2009) ‘Twenty First Century Antebellum Slave Cabins in Louisiana: Race, Public History, and National Identity’. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Organization of American Historians, 26–29 March, Seattle, Washington. Small, S. (2011a) ‘Multiple Methods in Research on 21st Century Plantation Museums and Slave Cabins in the South’ in J. H. Stanfield II (ed.) Rethinking Race and Ethnicity in Research Methods (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press). Small, S. (2011b) ‘Slavery, Colonialism and the Transformation of Museum Representations in Great Britain: Old and New Circuits of Migration’, Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, IX (4) (Fall), 27–38. Small, S. (2012) ‘Still Back of the Big House: Slave Cabins and Slavery in Southern Heritage Tourism’, Tourism Geographies: An International Journal of Tourism Space, Place and Environment, DOI: 10 .1080/14616688.2012.723042, 1–19. Trouillot, M-R. (1995) Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (Boston, MA: Beacon Press). Vlach, J. M. (1993) Back of the Big House; The Architecture of Plantation Slavery (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press). Wilson, M. O. (2012) Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (Berkeley: University of California Press). Yuhl, S. E. (2005) A Golden Haze of Memory. The Making of Historic Charleston (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press).

Index Compiled by Sue Carlton

Page numbers followed by n refer to notes Aborigines Protection Society 186 acculturation 76, 111 activism 81–2, 102, 103, 198 Afonso I (Nzingo Mbemba ruler of Congo) 182–3 Africa colonial legacy 126–9 decolonization 114, 130, 187 and nationalism 124, 187 state failure 9, 129, 130–1 African Slave Trade 181, 183 African Studies Association (ASA) 119, 121 African Survey 117, 118, 121 Africanist scholarship 114–31 in Britain 120–1 and Cold War 114, 119, 123–4 in context of colonial rule 114, 115–18 in Europe 115–17 method 122–9 in US 117–20 and Western national interests 121–2, 123, 130 Africans abduction and captivity of 25, 36, 168, 179, 180–1, 183–4, 189, 229 genocide/epistemicide 28 as people without a soul 36, 137, 180–1 aggression, and male sexuality 53 Al-Andalus, conquest of 23, 28, 29–30 Alpujarras trial 37, 44n American Civil War, commemoration of 230, 232, 235, 239 Americas conquest of 23, 30–8, 109, 180 and Eurocentrism 2, 110

Indigenous view of 142 in relation to conquest of Al-Andalus 30–8 Anderson, J. (former slave) 145 Angola 122, 154, 155, 162–3, 165 Angoulvant, G.L. 127 Anthropology 85, 116, 122, 123, 129, 140 anti-Semitism 30, 37, 44n, 82, 83, 106 Anti-Slavery Conference (Belgium 1889) 186–7 appropriation/violence dichotomy 2, 61 Arbenz Guzmán, Jacobo 56 Area Studies 8, 115, 118, 119, 120, 123 Arendt, H. 82, 84 Ashanti, King of 83 assimilation 76, 99, 170 Mexico 12, 209, 210, 222, 225, 226n Association for Asian Studies 119 Association of Concerned African Scholars (ACAS) 122 Balandier, G. 95 Basic Education National Conference (CONEB) (Brazil) 203 Bayart, J.-F. 8, 95, 96–7, 111, 112n, 126 behaviouralism 9, 122, 124 Belgium, colonization of Congo 185–7 Benna, Ziad 95 Berardi Bifo, F. 105 Berlin Conference (1884–85) 158, 163, 173n, 186 Bernasconi, R. 83 247


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Bhabha, H. 98 Black Power 77, 240 Boston University, African Studies programme 121 Bouteldja, H. 95–6 Braidotti, R. 105–6 Bratton, M. 126 Braudel, F. 43n Brazil anti-racist education 192–207 ethno-racial quotas in universities/colleges 194, 199 in-service teacher training initiatives 195, 200, 201, 202–3 Law 10.639/03 187, 192, 193–5, 198, 199, 200, 201 implementation 194, 199, 203–5, 206–7 Law 9394/96 (LDB) 193, 194, 195, 197, 200, 206, 207 National Curricular Directives 194, 199, 200, 205–6, 207n National Plan 193–4, 203, 204, 205–6 regional dialogues 205–6 research about diversity in schools 203–5 since 2003 199–206 Statute of Racial Equality 194 Black movement 11, 193, 194, 196, 197–8, 205 Black struggles for education 195–8 Brazilian Black Front 195 Buell, R.L. 118 bureaucratic-legal rule 125, 127–8 Cadena, M. de la 59 Callaghy, T. 126, 128 capitalist accumulation 2, 35, 36, 38–9, 44n, 123 Caracoles 41 Cardoso, Fernando Henrique 198, 199 Caribbean and Americas, and enslaved labour 180, 183–4 Carnegie Foundation 8, 117, 118, 119 Cartesian philosophy 25–8 Carver, George Washington 233 Castellanos Guerrero, A. 210 Castro-Gomez, S. 27, 98

Catholic Action (AC) 57, 63n Césaire, A. 3, 96–7, 110 Ceto, Pablo 57 Chabal, P. 126 Chakrabarty, D. 108, 128–9 Chan Santa Cruz 55 charisma 125 Charles V, King of Spain 136–7 child labour 187–8 Christianity 32 and Christendom 43–4n conversion to 29–30, 34, 35–6, 173n Cipaios 162 Cisneros, Cardinal 31 citizenship 68, 76, 78, 160 exclusion from 75, 76, 161, 173n Clapham, C. 126 Clichy-sous-Bois, mosque incident (2005) 95 clientelism 124, 125–6 Code of Rules of Indigenous Labour (1899) (Portuguese colonial policy) 160–1, 173n códices 31 Cold War 15, 187 and Africanist scholarship 114, 119, 123–4 post-Cold War era 188–9 Coleman, J.S. 124 Colonial Development and Welfare Acts (1940 and 1945) 117 Colonial Social Science Research Council 117 colonialism 1, 3–4 five dimensions of 145–7 modern 155, 156, 157, 158–9 occupation of space and time 73, 75 public commemoration of 16–17 and slavery 13–14 and violence 50–1 see also Dutch colonialism; Scientific Colonialism coloniality 2, 80 of being 39 forgetfulness of 3 of knowledge 40, 42 of power 7, 65, 66, 97 and violence 5–6, 47–62

Index colonization 94, 145–6, 160, 184, 215 destruction of history of oppressed peoples 155–6, 158 justifications for 50, 157, 158 and labour as resource 158–60 modern 158–9, 173n principle of effective occupation 163 and visceral reactions 49, 50, 51–3, 60, 62 see also Al-Andalus, conquest of; Americas, conquest of ‘The Colour of Culture’ (Roberto Marinho Foundation) 200 Columbus, Christopher 30–1, 32, 136, 180 Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars 122 Comparative Politics 9, 123, 124, 128 Conference against Racism (2001) 198 Congo, Belgian colonization 185–7 Coordination of Ethno-Racial Relations in Education (Brazil) 201 Cordoba library, burning of 31 Cortés, Hernan 31 Costa, E.A.F. 160 Côte d’Ivoire, nationalism 124 Craft, Ellen 233 Cruz, M.S. 195 Cruzoob (followers of the Cross) 55 cultural studies 19, 80, 94, 97–9 cultural syncretism 218–19 damnés 51–2 Davis, A. 4 de Man, Paul 83 decolonial ‘deconstruction’ 87–8 decolonial liberation 65 decolonial struggles in France 65–78 decolonial studies 8, 108–9 decoloniality, and violence 48–9, 61–2 Decolonizing The Mind (DTM) 9, 143 analytical nature of studies 143 dimensions of colonialism 145–7 and moral values 150–1 and reparations 149–50 use of statistics 144, 147


democracy 3, 41, 106 imposing 47–8 myth of racial democracy 197, 207 Derrida, J. 8, 98, 101–4, 108 Descartes, R. 25–6, 39, 45n, 51, 138 development 63n, 123–4, 128, 130, 139 developmentalism, and Mayan communities 56–7 Dias, L.R. 196 discrimination 75, 95, 96, 97, 138, 223 combating and challenging 69, 76, 204, 241 gender 224 in Mexico 216, 218, 223, 224, 225 racial 44n, 75, 155, 192, 216 religious 30, 36–7 see also racism diversity 4, 70, 172, 213, 223 cultural 3, 102, 198, 202, 210, 211, 225 epistemic 41–3 ethno-racial 11, 192, 194, 195, 201, 203, 205 in Europe 101 Diversity in College Programme (Brazil) 199–201, 203, 206 Diversity Programme Evaluation Report (2008) (Brazil) 200 ‘Diversity in Schools National Research’ 204 Douglass, Frederick 230, 233 Drescher, S. 148 Du Bois, W.E.B. 233 Dussel, E. 2, 23, 27–8, 40–3, 45n, 48 Dutch colonialism 9, 142–50 descriptive versus analytical approaches 143 implicit and explicit questions 144 and statistics 144–5 two schools 142–3 see also Decolonizing The Mind (DTM); Scientific Colonialism (SC) East African Campaign (WWI) 157 Eden, Anthony 120


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

Edinburgh University, Centre for African Studies 121 education, and racism, see also Brazil, anti-racist education; Mexico Education for All (SECAD/UNESCO) 200 Education and Ethno-Racial Diversity Forums (Brazil) 200–1 ego cogito (I think, therefore I am) 5, 25–8, 39, 50, 51, 138 ego conquiro (I conquer, therefore I am) 5, 27–8, 50, 51, 53 Eisenhower, D.D. 119 Eisenstadt, S. 126 Emmer, P.C. 145, 150 encomienda 36, 180 Engerman, S.L. 145 Eniymba, M. 138 Enlightenment 110, 137–8, 139, 140 Ennes, A. 158–9 epistemicide 23 see also genocide/epistemicide equality claim for 69, 76–7 and European values 97, 101 and pluralism 15, 225 Erickson, P. 139 Escobar, A. 61 ethnic cleansing 29, 62 Eurocentred Modernity 40–1, 42, 128 Eurocentrism 1–5, 7, 13, 15–16, 103, 104, 157 and Africanist scholarship 114 in education 12 Wittgenstein’s implied critique of 82, 83–90 Europe and reception of post-colonial and decolonial ideas 93–111 and slavery and slave trade 180–1, 184 European Constitution 100–1, 102, 104 European identity 97, 99–106 formation of 99–100 and imperial-colonial past 103–4 post-nationalist 105–6 Experimental Black Theatre (TEN) (Brazil) 197

Fabian, J. 129 Fanon, F. 51, 52, 53, 94, 155 Fassin, E. 73 Federici, S. 38–9, 44–5n Felipe Carrillo Puerto 31 feminization, and domination 51, 53 First African Baptist church (Savannah) 230 foco-theory 58 Fogel, R.W. 145 Ford Foundation 8, 117, 119, 120 Fort Mose (Florida), reconstruction of 230 Foucault, M. 8, 37, 44n, 98, 108 France 2005 uprisings 70, 95–6 abolition of slavery 104 anti-racist struggles 65–78, 95–6 impact of post-colonial immigration 69 and Iraq War 104 power relations and coloniality 65–7 racial segregation 74 sociologists 71–3 state control of Muslims 69 as White republic 68–71 Frazer, J. 85 French Republic 95–6 French revolution 35, 105 Gamio, Manuel 222 Gascoyne, General Isaac 183 genocide 23, 62, 63n genocide/epistemicide 28 against Africans in the Americas 36 against Indigenous peoples of Americas 31 against Indo-European women 28, 38–9, 44–5n against Muslims and Jews 28, 29–30, 31 consequences of 39–43 Germany and African troops in WWI 164, 166, 170 guerrilla strategy 165–6, 174n and Iraq War 104 threat to Mozambique 164, 165

Index globalization 4, 222, 223 Gobineau, A. de 140 Goldstein, J. 53 Gomes, N.L. 206–7 Goméz Izquierdo, J. 210 Gonçalves,L.A.O. and Gonçalves e Silva, P.B. 196 Gramsci, A. 98, 106 Granada library, burning of books 31 Grosfoguel, R. 108, 137, 139, 141, 180 Guatemalan civil war (1960–96) 49, 56–61 Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity’s (URNG) 58 Guerrero, Vincente 215, 220 Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP) (Guatemala) 57–8 Guevara, Che 58, 63n Guha, R. 106, 107–8 Guidotti-Hernández, N. 49, 52 Guillaumin, C. 71 Habermas, J. 101–4 Hailey, W.M.H.B. 117, 118, 121 Haitian Revolution 3, 104 Hale, C.H. 58–9 Hall, S. 94, 98, 99 Hatuey (Taino chief-Hispaniola) 141–2 Hayter, Sir William 120–1 Hazard, P. 99–100, 110 Hegel, J.W.F. 83 Heidegger, M. 82–3 Heijer, H. den 144 Hernández de la Cruz, F. 54 Historia de México (Treviño Villarreal2003) 212, 214, 215, 216, 217 Historia del Hombre en Mexico (Jiménez Alarcón-1995) 212, 214, 215, 216 historicism 9, 128–9, 131 history Eurocentric conception of 73, 171–2 and legacy of colonialism 3–4 Hochschild, A. 182–3, 186–7 Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site (Georgia) 236–7 human rights 3, 97, 105 humanity 2, 29–30, 39, 44n, 52 and soul 34–6, 37, 138 see also people with religion; people without a soul


Humboltian university 40 Hyden, G. 131 Ibo landing (Georgia) 230 ideal type (Weber) 126–8 Indigenism 222, 225, 226n Indigenous people of the Americas genocide/epistemicide 31 and a soul 134–7 see also Americas, conquest of; Brazil; Mexico Indigenous of the Republic (France) 5–96, 78n, 111–12n indio permitido 58–9 individualism 102, 103, 118 Indonesia, forced labour 185 Institutes of Social Research (Uganda and Nigeria) 117 integrationism 7, 75–7 Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) 199–200, 206 Inter-Ministerial Working-Group for the Valorization of Black Population (Brazil) 198 interculturality 12, 14, 61, 209, 210, 212, 217, 222–3, 225 see also multiculturalism Interdepartmental Commission of Enquiry on Oriental Slavonic, East European and African Studies 120 internally colonized 65, 74–5, 78 International African Association 186 International Association of the Congo 186 International Institute of African Languages and Cultures (IIALC) 116, 118 International Labour Organization (ILO) 187 International Relations 63n, 122, 126, 130 Iraq War 101, 104 Islam 29, 37, 141 and feminism 41 Islamophobia 30, 34, 36, 68, 69–70 Jackson, Andrew 233 Jackson, R.H. 124, 126, 130–1


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

James, C.L.R. 94 Jefferson, Thomas 233 Jews genocide/epistemicide 28, 29–30, 31 see also Judeophobia Jiménez Alarcón, C. 212, 214, 215, 216 João III, King of Portugal 182–3 Johnston, Harry 115, 116, 117, 130 Judeophobia 30, 34, 36 see also anti-Semitism Kant, I. 40, 82, 140 katunic prophecies 54, 62–3n King, Martin Luther 233 Kionga 165 Knight, A. 210, 213 knowledge decolonization of 23, 25, 42 see also Decolonizing the Mind destruction of 23 see also genocide/epistemicide founded on racism and sexism 25–8 scientific 1, 2, 14, 115, 116, 118, 136–8 situated and unsituated 26–7 knowledge production 23–5, 115–19, 122–3, 130, 136–8 based on theology 35, 136–9 and historicism 128–9 Kukulkán (Quetzalcóatl) 54 Ladinos 57–60 Laney, Lucy 233 Las Casas, Bartolomé de 35–6, 136–7, 142, 180–1 Latapí de Kuhlmann, P. 213, 218, 219–23 Latin America 106–11 violence and coloniality 5–6, 47–62 see also Guatemalan civil war; Yucatán Caste War see also Brazil; Mexico Latin American Subaltern Studies Group 106, 108 Le Vine, V. 126 Lee, Robert 233 Leibniz, G.W. von 100, 111

Lemarchand, R. 125–6 Leopold II, King of Belgium 185–6 Lettow-Vorbeck, P. von 165, 166, 170 liberation struggles 4, 6–7, 15, 17, 161, 197 and border strategy 77–8 see also France, anti-racist struggles; Zapatistas libraries, burning of 31 López Fontes, J. 214 ‘lost cause’ ideology 238, 239, 243, 244n low-intensity warfare 47, 52 Lugard, F.J.D. 116, 121, 127, 130 Lula da Silva, Luiz Inácio 193, 198, 199 Machuca Ramírez, J.A. 210 Malcolm X 66–7 Maldonado-Torres, N. 3, 20 coloniality and violence 48, 50, 51, 53 social classification 32–3, 44n, 138 Mamdani, M. 127 Marranos 29, 31, 36–7 Mayas 1847 revolt 54–5 see also Yucatán Caste War cosmovision 54 impact of Guatemalan civil war 56–61 women combatants 60–1 Médard, J, -F. 126 Menchú Tum, Rigoberta 18, 20n, 58 Mendieta, E. 98 Mérida, siege of 54 mestizaje 12, 14, 16, 60, 210, 213, 217–19, 223, 225 Mestizos 57, 209 Mexico assimilation 12, 209, 210, 222, 225, 226n education reforms 211–12, 220 national identity 12, 209, 211, 217, 225 race and racism in history textbooks 209–26 1993 reform textbooks 212, 213–18, 224

Index 2006 reform textbooks 213, 218–24 African and Asian populations 213–14, 217, 219, 224 African slavery 214, 219–20 discourse analysis methodology 211–12 Indigenous people 214–17, 220–3, 224–6 multiculturalism and interculturality 209, 210–11, 212, 217–19, 223–4, 225 México en el Tiempo (Plá and Sosenski-2010) 213, 218, 220–3 Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) 122 Mielants, E. 137, 180 Mignolo, W. 109 Modernity 1–6, 8, 73, 109–10, 123, 221 and colonialism 48, 66, 73, 105 Eurocentred 40–1, 42, 128 see also Transmodernity modernization 12, 56, 103, 225 theory 9, 122–9 Monk, R. 83 Montt, General Ríos 63n Morales, Evo 58 Morelos, José Maria 215 Moriscos 29, 31, 36–8, 44n Moura, C. 196 Mouzinho de Albuquerque, J. 163 Mozambique modern colonialism 155, 156, 157, 158–9 and labour laws 159–62 transport infrastructure problem 172n police forces 164 prazos da coroa 162–3, 174n and WWI 154, 155-6, 162–9 actors on Mozambique front 162–5 forces involved 166–9 war theatre in 165–9 multiculturalism 12, 14, 15–16, 76–7 in Mexican history textbooks 209, 210–11, 212, 217–19, 223–4, 225 see also interculturality


Multitudes (French journal) 104, 105–6 Munanga, K. 192 Muslims genocide/epistemicide 28 see also Islam Nation of Islam 66, 234, 240 nation-states imperial 68 origin and formation of 4, 11, 30, 66, 189 National Black Awareness Day (Brazil) 193 National Conference of Education (CONAE) (Brazil) 203 National Curricular Directives for the Maroon School Education 194 National Curricular Parameters (PCN) (Brazil) 198 National Defence Education Act (US-1958) 119 national identity 3 Mexican 12, 209, 211, 217, 225 National Network of Continuing Education for Basic Education Teachers (RENAFOR) (Brazil) 201 National Technical Commission of Diversity for Subjects Related to Education of Afro-Brazilians (CADARA) 201 nationalism 124, 187 European 106 and violence 15, 49 Nazism 82, 102, 151 Nebaj 57 Netherlands 9, 137, 178, 185, 188 colonialism see Dutch colonialism new anti-slavery movement 187–8, 189 new states 124, 125 Ngungunhane (Ngune ruler-Mozambique) 163 Niassa Company 10, 162, 163, 166 Nimako, K. 146 non-Christians/non-Whites, inferiority of 37, 39, 50, 110, 139, 140–1, 160 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) 187, 200


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), Report on the Americas 122 Oostindie, G. 149, 151 Ornellas, Ayres de 162–3 other absence of view from 9, 141–2 based on race 138–9 and collaboration 146 concept of 18, 33, 137, 138–41 and inferiority 139, 140–1 misrepresentation of 15, 16 see also non-Christians/non-Whites pariah 84 Party of the Indigenous of the Republic (PIR) 8, 65, 95 parvenu 84, 86 patrimonialism and neopatrimonialism 9, 124–7, 128, 130 Pélissier, R. 162 people without religion 32–4, 180 people without a soul 33–4, 35, 36–7, 137, 138, 180 philanthropic foundations (US) 8, 117–19, 130 philosophy/philosophers and biography 83 and racism 82–4, 86 Pineda, F 210 Plá, S. 213, 218, 220–3 plantation museum sites (US) 230–1, 234–7, 240–1 Political Science 122, 126, 130 Portugal 48 and African troops 156, 157, 163–9 and anti-Portuguese feelings 166 carriers 154, 167–9 forced recruitment 168–9, 171 and modern colonialism 155, 156, 157, 158–9, 163 labour laws 159–62, 174n and WWI 155, 156–7, 164–9 see also Berlin Conference post-colonial studies 93–4 and cultural studies 97–9 and decolonial studies 8, 108–9

Latin America and Spain 106–11 post-colonialism and postcoloniality 80–1 and post-Westernism 109 resistance to in Europe 93, 94–7 post-modernism 80, 93, 108 post-slavery 185, 186, 189 post-structuralism 8, 83, 98, 105 Postma, J.M. 181, 182 power and coloniality 7, 65–7 and knowledge 2, 3, 8, 62 see also knowledge Prosser, Gabriel 234 purity of blood 28, 29, 30, 33, 37 Quijano, A. 2 racial state 68–9, 88 racial struggles 65–7 and humanistic universalism 72–3 as struggle for power 67, 71–3, 74 White and Indigenous political fields 73–5 see also France, anti-racist struggles racism 2–4, 238 biological 35, 138–9, 141 colour 33, 36 cultural 35, 141 institutionalized 11, 36, 37, 142 in Mexican history textbooks 209–26 naturalization of 5, 6, 50–1 and preservation of racial privileges 4, 6, 17, 68–9, 75 religious 33–4, 36, 37, 44n see also Marranos; Moriscos scientific 37, 44n, 139, 140 White working class and 68–9 racism/sexism, epistemic 5, 25–8, 39–40, 43 rape 51, 52 regulation/emancipation dichotomy 2, 61 reparations 149–50 Republican pact (social-national-racial pact) 68–9, 70 Rivera Cusicanqui, S. 58–9

Index Rockefeller Foundation 8, 117, 118, 120 Rodney, W. 179 Rodrigues, T.C. 197 Romilly, Sir Samuel 183 Rorty, R. 82–3, 90n Rosberg, C.G. 124, 126 Roth, G. 125 Rovuma river (Mozambique) 165, 174n Royal African Society 115 Said, E. 94, 102 Sanford, Henry 186 Sanjinés, J. 50, 53 Santos, S.A. 197 São Paulo, Black press 196 Sarkozy, Nicolas 70 Sartre, J.-P. 82 Sati ritual 112n School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) 118 Schutztruppe 166 Scientific Colonialism (SC) 9, 143, 145 contrasting slavery with colonialism 145 descriptive nature of studies 143 emotion versus logic 147–50 and idea of reparations 150 as ideology 151 and moral values 143, 150–1 and use of statistics 144, 147 scientific knowledge see knowledge, scientific Scramble for Africa 173n, 187 Secretariat of College Education (SESU) (Brazil) 201 Secretariat of Continuing Education, Literacy, Diversity and Inclusion (SECADI) (Brazil) 198, 199, 201, 203 Secretariat of Continuing Education, Literacy and Diversity (SECAD) (Brazil) 198, 199, 201, 202 Secretariat of Racial Equality Promotion Policies (SEPPIR) (Brazil) 198 Secretary of Indigenous Affairs (Mozambique) 160


Sectorial Programme of Education (Mexico) 210 secularization 25, 35, 44n, 102, 104 Sepúlveda, Juan Ginés de 35, 136–7, 180–1 Ser en la Historia (Latapí de Kuhlmann-2008) 213, 218, 219–23 Sklar, R. 128 slave cabins 230, 231, 235, 236, 237, 240–1 slavery and slave trade 48, 129, 139–40, 178–90, 229 abolition 3–4, 104, 146–9, 150–1, 183, 229 and reinvention 185–8 addressing legacies of 189 case for 137 chattel slavery 185, 189 comparison with Jewish Holocaust 151 concepts of ‘slave’ and ‘trade’ 179–80, 184, 188, 189–90 earlier forms of servitude 185 eligibility for enslavement 184 importance of knowledge about past 241–4 and involvement of African rulers 181–3 modern slavery 179, 187–8 new anti-slavery movement 187 as partial aspect of colonialism 145–7 statistics 144–5, 147 US public history of 229–44 and violence 183, 185 Small, S. 142–3 Smock, D.R. 120, 121 social classification 30, 32–3, 44n, 138 Social Science Research Council (SSRC) 119, 122 sociocryonics 127 solipsism 26 Sosenski, S. 213, 218, 220–3 Sousa Santos, B. de 2–3, 156 South Africa 62n, 66, 122 South Asian Subaltern Studies Group 106–8 Souza, A.X. 206–7


Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge

Spain 48, 106–11, 136–7 Spinelli, A. 105–6 Spivak, G.C. 48, 49, 98, 108, 112n Stanley, Henry 186 statistics, and lying 144–5 Stephens, Alexander 233 structuralism 98 subaltern, use of term 106, 107 subaltern studies 106–8 Sutton, F.X. 120, 121 Táíwò, O. 127 ‘Talking Cross’ 55 Taracena, A. 55 Taylor, Zachary 233 Technical Cooperation Term (UNESCO) 199 Tedlock, D. 61 Téllez, M. 214 theology, and knowledge production 35, 136–9 Title VI Africa National Resource Centres 122 Transmodernity 25, 40–3 Traoré, Bouna 95 Treviño Villarreal, H.J. 212, 214, 215, 216, 217 Trexler, R. 51 Trouillot, M.-R. 3 Tsib, Ysidro 54 Tubman, Harriet 233 Turner, Nat 234 Tutino, J. 215 txitzi’n (deep pain) 60–1 Uniafro (programmes for college students) 201–2 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 187 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 187 United Nations Truth Commission 56 United States (US) interstate slave trade 229 public history of slavery 17, 229–44 African American museums 232–4, 238

Black voices 239–40, 241 on ‘great men and women’ of slave era 233, 235, 236 lives of Black women 233–4, 237, 239 markers of Black resistance 234, 240 monuments and museums 230, 231–44 National Slavery Museum project 234 plantation sites 230–1, 234–7, 240–1 remaining physical infrastructure 229–31, 234–7 representations of Civil War 230 separation and segregation of knowledge 238–40, 242 slave auctions 234 slave quarters 231, 235, 236–7, 240–1 slave rebellions 234 and symbolic annihilation 236 Underground Railroad 230, 234 strategic interests in former European colonies 123 and violent interventions 47–8, 49 University Grants Committee, report (1959) 120–1 Valladolid Junta of the School of Salamanca 35, 36, 136–7, 141, 180 Van der Walle, N. 126 Van Dijk, T.A. 215 Velázquez, M.E. 214 Vessey, Denmark 234 violence and coloniality 5–6, 47–62 and decoloniality 48–9, 61–2 and desire 49 as exercized by hegemonic elites 49–51, 52, 53 naturalization of 50–1, 52 as visceral reaction of colonialized subjects 49, 50, 51–3, 60, 62 see also Guatemalan civil war; Yucatán Caste War viscerality 50, 51–3, 54, 60, 62

Index Wallerstein, I. 43n, 110 Washington, Booker T. 233 Washington, George 233 Weber, M. 125, 126–8, 141 Welfare State 68, 69, 102 Western superiority 1, 2, 24–5, 39, 108, 110–11, 140, 147 Westernized university 5, 18, 23–5, 27, 39–40, 42–3 White, L. 156 Wilder, Douglas 234 Williams, E. 105, 147–8, 185 Williams, R. 106 Wittgenstein, L. 81–90 women burnt as witches 23, 28, 38–9 and indigenous knowledge 38–9 rights movements 4 Woodson, Carter G. 233


World Social Forum 59 World War I African participation 154–7, 162–71 see also Mozambique, and WWI; Portugal, and WWI Wynter, S. 2, 3, 214, 215, 217, 219, 224, 225 Yucatán Caste War 49, 53, 54–6 Zambesi valley military campaigns 162–3 Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) (Zapatistas) 41, 42, 209, 210, 216, 222–3 Zolberg, A.R. 124 Zumbi dos Palmares March against Racism 198