Call for Papers


I’m organising this open panel on Decolonizing Science. I look forward to you joining our discussion!

Submission portal:

Deadline: Feb 1, 2019

Open Panel 33. Decolonizing Science: Where Have We Gotten To?

Joy Zhang, University of Kent;  Michael Barr, Newcastle University

The global trajectory of scientific innovations seems to be both interrupted and regenerated by the rise of the Rest. The ascent of China and India as serious contenders for global scientific leadership, thriving pockets of excellence in South America, and an emerging attentiveness to promoting pan-African research excellence, call into question the validity, authority and even relevance of a Western-dominated epistemic vision of what ‘good science’ is. A heightened and widened awareness to decolonise science among both the Global South and the Global North has led to genuine attempts at reshaping the production and delivery of knowledge. Yet such efforts and their impacts cannot be taken for granted. Some have argued that while the world is not flat, there is an observable trend of the ‘cosmopolitanization of science’, where stakeholders in the Global South capitalise on the concepts of risk and give rise to new ways of science governance. Others have cautioned against an intrinsic irony underlying ‘subaltern ethicality’, whose path to international recognition may re-enact existing hegemonic logic and reinforce scientific hegemony rather than decolonize it.

We invoke Spivak’s classic question: To what extent can the Subaltern speak (and be heard) amid a global entanglement of interests? What are the incentives and hindrances to decolonizing science in practice? How does this inform us about the organisation and governance of science for the public good? This session invites discussions on these questions from both the successful and less successful attempts to decolonise science in different regions.

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