May 22, 2024

Conference on Decoloniality

Decoloniality And Disintegration Of Western Cognitive Empire – Rethinking Sovereignty And Territoriality In The 21st Century

April 14-16, 2021

International Online Conference

Bios | Abstracts

Sponsored by The New Polis, Whitestone Publications, and Metropolitan State University of Denver in collaboration with members of the Iliff School of Theology and University of Denver communities.

The program and video recordings can be found below.

The conference brought together in an online webinar format scholars from around the globe to discuss what is meant by such increasingly familiar terms as “decoloniality” or “decolonization.” It will explore the relationship between these themes and issues of nationality, territoriality, and sovereignty as they concern the struggles of indigenous peoples.

As premier global theorists such as Walter Mignolo, Catherine Walsh, and Tink Tinker (all of whom will take part in the conference) have emphasized, decolonization is not simply a political and cultural matter. It is also a profound epistemic problem, insofar as it is the minds along with the lands of native peoples who have been colonized. Increasingly the 21st century has come to be marked by the slow disintegration of what Portuguese theorist Boaventura de Sousa Santos dubs the “cognitive empire” of Western thought that has been the drive epistemic force behind global neoliberalism.



All times relate to Mountain Daylight Time (Denver, Colorado, United States). Hyperlinks for video recordings for different sessions are included with the titles below.

Wednesday, April 14

8:00 am. Opening remarks (Roger Green and Carl Raschke, editors of The New Polis).

8:30 am – 10:00 am. “How Do You Do It as a Lawyer? Decoloniality and the Indian Child Welfare Act”. Sheldon Spotted Elk (Northern Cheyenne) and Andy Yost,  Public Knowledge LLC.

10:00 am – 12:00 pm. “Situating Knowing as a Practice of Decolonization”. Panel, Department of Performativity Studies, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.

  • “Knowing with Writing. Performing Far East from Eastwest” (Małgorzata Sugiera)
  • “Knowing with Stone. Decolonizing Nature from Former West” (Mateusz Chaberski)
  • “Knowing with Naturalcultural Ruins of Eastern Europe” (Ewa Bal)
  • “Knowing with the City. Decolonizing Speculative Fiction” (Mateusz Borowski)

1:00 – 3:00 pm. The Colonial Compromise: The Threat of the Gospel to the Indigenous Worldview (Fortress Academic, 2020). A panel of contributors to the book.

Tink Tinker (wazhazhe, Osage Nation); Edward Antonio, Concordia College; Miguel De La Torre, Iliff School of Theology; Ward Churchill, Lecturer and Activist; Natsu Taylor Saito, Georgia State University; Roger Green, Metropolitan State University of Denver.

3:15 pm. On Decoloniality. A Panel on the Book On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis by Walter Mignolo and Catherine Walsh (Duke University Press, 2018).

Walter D. Mignolo, Duke University, United States; Catherine Walsh, Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar, Ecuador; Fernando Herrero, University of London, United Kingdom; Tink Tinker, Iliff School of Theology (Emeritus), wazhazhe, Osage Nation.

Thursday, April 15

9:00 – 10:30 am. “Reconstructing Diversal Ontologies: Unlearning as a Methodology of Decolonial Living”. Magna Mohapatra and Zunayed Ahmed Ehsan, South Asian University, New Delhi, India.

10:45 am – 12:15 pm. “Decoloniality and the Critique of Western Modernity”. Rüdiger Lohlker, Hans Schelkshorn, Center for Religion and Transformation, University of Vienna, Austria; Achmad Munjid, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia.

1:00 – 3:00 pm. “Gender, Religion and Sovereignty within the Decolonial Turn”. Javier Orlando Aguirre, Román, Escuela de Filosofía. Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia; Emma Vélez, University of Illinois; Angelica Gómez, Universidad de Nariño – Universidad del Cauca, Colombia; Nicolas Panotto, Universidad Arturo Pratt, Chile.

3:15 pm. “Doing Decoloniality and Reclaiming Sovereignty: Community Discussion and Activist Forums”

In his book with Catherine Walsh On Decoloniality Walter Mignolo writes that “each of us is responsible for our decolonial liberation”. This open session for all conference registrants consists in a series of breakout discussion groups on a number of specific themes pertaining to decoloniality and sovereignty. It will offer an opportunity to air ideas and strategies concerning how one “does decoloniality” and reclaims sovereignty in a concrete and pragmatic fashion. Voices of students and attendees from the community will be given priority in these sessions.

Friday, April 16

8:30 – 9:00 am. “Grounding Nationhood: Soil as a Site of Collective Memory and Decolonial Disruption”.  Rana Nazzal Hamadeh,, Ryerson University, United States.

9:00 – 9:30 am. “The Western Cognitive Empire and the Rhetoric of Colonialism – A Scottish Case Study”.  Richard Saville-Smith, University of Edinburgh.

9:30 – 10:00 am. “Musing upon the Social Construction that Became South Africa. Tshepo Mvulane Moloi, Johannesburg Institute of Advanced Study (JIAS), South Africa.

10:00 – 10:45 am. “Governance, Decommoditization and Communality:  The Ngiguas of San Marcos Tlacoyalco in Puebla, Mexico.”   Guillermo López Varela, Intercultural University in San Marcos Tlacoyalco and María Cristina Manzano-Munguía, Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities of the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico.

11:00 – 11:30 am“Intimations of Unknown Worlds”: Decolonization and the Religious Existence of Land”. Ricardo Friaz, University of Oregon, United States.

11:30 am – 12:00 pm. “Black Sentience and Unreason: Sylvia Wynter’s Critique of Foucault & Derrida”. Brendon Brown, New School for Social Research, United States.

12:00 am – 12:30 pm. Res Publica Nullius: Landscape, Language, Occupation”. Michael Paninski, Brown University, United States.

12:30 – 1:00 pm. “Strictly Come Anglo with the U.S. on Top: John Ikenberry’s Liberal Internationalism”. Fernando Herrero, University of London, United Kingdom.

2:00 – 2:30 pm. “Digging up Settler Roots: Epistemological Legitimacy and Land Claims.” Teelin Lucero, Emory University, United States.

2:30 – 3:00 pm. “On the Glocalization of the Mesh for a More Suspicious Postcolonial Hermeneutics of Indigenous Australian Fiction
Bonaventure Muzigirwa Munganga, University of New South Wales – Sydney.

3:00 -3:30 pm. “Interstitial Witness: Refuge from Erasure in the Work of Alexis Pauline Gumbs”, Joshua Lawrence, University of Denver-Iliff School of Theology.

3:30 pm. Final Conference Summary and Conclusion. Alyssa Putzer and Jared Lacy, University of Denver.

In order to offer opportunities for attendees to peruse the literature on decoloniality prior to the conference, we have provided a pre-conference reading list.

Reading List