TALK: Decolonising Information

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Interested readers are invited to check out the slides accompanying a short invited presentation entitled ‘Decolonising Computing’ given by Dr Syed Mustafa Ali, Lecturer in the School of Computing and Communications at The Open University, UK.

The talk was delivered as part of a workshop on diversity and inclusion in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) teaching at the 6th eSTEeM Annual Conference: STEM FuturesSupporting Students to Succeed which took place on 25-26 April 2017 at The Open University.

The slides (PDF format) are available for viewing / download from here.

Interested readers are invited to check out the following related materials:

Peace

REFLECTION: Who is in Charge of The Future of The Internet?

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

I’m currently reading a paper entitled “Bottom of the Data Pyramid: Big Data and the Global South” (2016) by non-white / Indian female, Payal Arora, Associate Professor, Department of Media & Communication Faculty of History, Culture and Communication at Erasmus University Rotterdam. The paper is available (in PDF format) here.

On her blog, The 3L Mantra to live by! A mashup of Labor, Leisure & Learning, Arora describes herself as follows:

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Suffice to say, I was not too impressed with this rather auto-Orientalising self-description, nor with the following TED presentation she delivered:

Interested and discerning Counter-Racist / decolonial viewers are invited to consider:

  1. how she frames the relation between the non-white / non-Western ‘periphery’ and the white / Western ‘core’ of the modern/colonial world system of global White Supremacy (Racism) in terms of ‘the poor’ and ‘the rich’, i.e. in race-less / de-raced / un-raced economistic terms.
  2. how she assimilates peripheral / Oriental behaviours to (tacitly universalised) core / Occidental behaviours by first talking about the history of ‘leisure’ in a (19th Century) European / Western class-based context, and then projecting categories (leisure and labour) from the core to the periphery on the post-colonial (sic) basis that “they are like us”. Who is this us that this non-white female is associating herself (and other non-white people) with / assimilating herself (and other non-white) to?

While it might appear that such a move is intended to overcome a legacy of colonial ‘othering’ which sees ‘them’ as essentially different to ‘us’, it is important to appreciate that this is being attempted by appealing to Eurocentric / West-centric norms. In short, her project is one of (neo)liberal inclusion within (covertly racialised yet overtly race-less) capitalist logics.

I would suggest that Arora’s discourse is postcolonial rather than decolonial, being economistically-framed in terms of inclusive capitalism. She completely fails to understand the intrinsically racialised nature of capitalist logics of accumulation, something that the late black Marxist scholar Cedric Robinson discussed in detail, as have critical race and decolonial scholars more recently.

Ultimately, while Arora’s critique of Big Data / datafication is useful, it is limited, and as to the question ‘Who is in Charge of The Future of The Internet?’, does that question really need to be asked?

Peace

REFLECTION: Decolonize The New Year

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

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The New Year of the Gregorian calendar, i.e. 2017, is soon to descend upon ‘The World’, and in what follows I should like to offer an extended reflection on why I think (attempted) Muslims – and other people having different calendar systems for which their New Year arrives on a different date – should distance themselves from commemorating – and it is a commemoration – the occasion of “New Year’s Eve”. Continue reading

Is This The Future?

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Is This The Future..JPG

  1. Climate Change Escalating So Fast It is ‘Beyond Point of No Return’
  2. Elon Musk Announces His Plan to Colonize Mars and Save Humanity
  3. UK Military will use Artificially Intelligent Lasers to Expand Britain’s Economic Empire

Despite my researvations about the necessity – let alone desirability – of embracing an ‘apocalyptic‘ outlook, if only to understand the thought, speech and/or action of Racist (White Supremacist) man and woman, I think developments such as these, viz. (1) possibly irreversible climate change, (2) extra-terrestrial expansion of colonial/modernity = systemic White Supremacy (Racism), and (3) the rise of the machines under ‘the megamachine’ that is postmodernity/postcoloniality, need to be considered in terms of their ‘entanglement’ with each other and other related developments.

Beyond this, there is the question concerning the possible relevance of the following somewhat obscure Qur’anic signs / indicators (ayaat) to consider:

(55:37) When the sky is rent asunder, and it becomes red like ointment…

(55:33) O assembly of jinn and ins. If it be that you can pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, then pass. Yet not without authority shall you be able to pass.

(27:82) And when the word is fulfilled against them, we shall produce from the earth a beast to speak to them for that mankind did not believe with assurance in Our Signs.

Peace

The(ir) Future…

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Consider the cover of the latest issue of New Scientist magazine and think about the use of the definite article in the title which implies a collapse of possible alternative – and multiple – trajectories onto a single trajectory, thereby pointing to the linear re-inscription of time-space (history-geography) under contemporary conditions of colonial modernity / White Supremacy (Racism):

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Consider also the references to colonization (‘Mars Colony’), a purportedly impending emergence of the post-human ‘singularity’ (‘Super Intelligence’), the threat of (sub-)human destruction (‘population explosion’, ‘World War III’) against the ‘background’ / ‘backdrop’ of an entanglement of such developments with the long duree history of colonial modernity and its refinement / adaptation under increasing contestation of Orientalism / Eurocentrism / coloniality / White Supremacy (Racism) etc.

Peace

LECTURE: Islam and Decoloniality

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Check this out: (click on the image to access the Facebook event page)

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Interested viewers can watch a recording (part video, part audio) of the event here, and are invited to check out the following related presentations:

  1. Towards an Islamic Decoloniality (Euro-Arab Foundation short course, Granada, April 2014) – Slides (and audio)
  2. Further Towards an Islamic Decoloniality (Muqaddimah Academic Summit keynote, Kerala, December 2015) – Slides available here
  3. An Introduction to Islamic Decoloniality (talk delivered at Decolonise Not Diversify festival, Birmingham, October 2016)

Peace

TALK: An Introduction to Islamic Decoloniality

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Interested viewers are invited to check out the following talk delivered by Dr Syed Mustafa Ali at the Decolonise Not Diversify festival hosted by Art Against The Grain at the Birmingham Impact Hub on Saturday 8th October 2016:

During the course of the presentation, Ali continues his exploration of the idea of an Islamic decoloniality, building on earlier formulations of this notion. The slides to accompany this talk are available here.

Interested viewers are invited to check out the following related presentations:

  1. Towards an Islamic Decoloniality (Euro-Arab Foundation short course, Granada, April 2014) – Slides (and audio)
  2. Further Towards an Islamic Decoloniality (Muqaddimah Academic Summit keynote, Kerala, December 2015) – Slides available here

Peace