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:

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TALK: The Decolonial Question Concerning Computing

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

DRSMADr Syed Mustafa Ali, Lecturer in the School of Computing and Communications at The Open University (UK), delivered a talk entitled “The Decolonial Question Concerning Computing” at the Can Science Be Decolonised? conference which was organised by KCL WiSTEM (Women in STEM), KCL IFemSoc (Intersectional Feminism Society) & KCL BSA (Bioscience Students’ Association), and held at the Waterloo Campus of Kings College London (KCL) on 18-19 March 2017.

  • Interested viewers with FB access can access a video recording of the talk from here.
  • Interested readers can view / download a copy (PDF format) of the slides from here.
  • Recordings of presentations by all conference speakers are available from here.

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LECTURE: Islam and Decoloniality

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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)

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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

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CONFERENCE: Heidegger in the Islamicate World

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Check this out:

HiTIW.JPG

Dr Syed Mustafa Ali (The Open University, UK) will be presenting a paper entitled “Heidegger and the Islamicate: Transversals and Reversals”.

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EVENT: Decolonise Not Diversify

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Check this out:

DND.jpg

Among other featured speakers, Dr Syed Mustafa Ali (The Open University, UK) will be delivering a lecture entitled “An Introduction to Islamic Decoloniality“.

Facebook Event Link (additional information)

EventBrite Link (for further details and tickets)

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REFLECTIONS: Many Foundations, One Roof

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

In a previous post entitled REFLECTIONS: Of Structures, Infrastructures and Superstructures, I argued that the following sign / indicator (ayat) from The Qur’an [=Final Proclamation of God/Allah to Humanity]:

(16:26) Those before them had already plotted, but God/Allah came at their building from the foundations, so the roof fell upon them from above them, and the punishment came to them from where they did not perceive.

might be usefully interpreted, albeit partially, in ‘structuralist’ terms, viz.

  • Building / structure (bunyaan)
  • Foundations / Infrastructure / base (qawaa’id)
  • Roof / superstructure (saqf)

I then went on to ‘map’ / correlate the trans-historical / archetypal terms mentioned in the above sign / indicator (ayat) onto our contemporary historical socio-material reality, viz.

  • Building / structure (bunyaan) – colonial modernity
  • Foundations / Infrastructure / base (qawaa’id) – antiblack racism
  • Roof / superstructure (saqf) – White Supremacy (Racism)

However, earlier today I reflected further upon the wording of this sign / indicator and the fact that qawaa’id is a plural noun, the singular of which is qaa’idat. For this reason, I am inclined to think that (16:26) might better be understood as pointing to the many (kathra) forms of structural (bunyaaniy) oppression that a single (waahid) supremacist system might be founded upon. In this connection, consider the following figure taken from Andrea Smith’s essay “Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy” which appeared in Global Dialogue 12(2) in 2010:

Three Pillars of White Supremacy.JPG

In this diagram, each of the three ‘pillars’ – or foundational structural components – of White Supremacy (Racism) contributes to the system as a whole. One intriguing question is whether one or more components is more foundational / constitutive than others in the sense of having greater ‘ontological depth and/or breadth’. There is also the question of how the three structural component oppressions stand in relation to each other historically / temporally; while the static nature of the above graphic might give the impression that the relation between the components is synchronic, historical inquiry indicates a diachronic relationship.

In “Islam between Inclusion and Exclusion: A (Decolonial) Frame Problem“, Syed Mustafa Ali has argued that a historically-sedimented anti-Islamic ‘core’ lies at the heart of ‘the West’ insofar as the latter formation is emergent from Europe which is in term emergent from Christendom. On this basis, it might be argued that war against the Oriental ‘other’ – specifically, the Muslim ‘other’ – has the greatest ontological depth in the globally operating system of White Supremacy (Racism). However, I should like to point out that historical priority does not necessarily entail ontological depth – and certainly does not entail ontological breadth.

If not anti-Islamism, then what is most foundational (if anything)?

Although I have yet to articulate the position fully, I should like to suggest that what is most foundational – the foundation of foundations (qaa’idat-ul-qawaa’id), if you will – is, in fact, a trans-historical, mytho-poetic Ibleesian scorn of Adamic hamaa (‘dark mud’). (Note: The Qur’an does not make reference to blackness / sawad in this connection.)

I think this means that those, like Fanon, Gordon, Wynter and the Afropessimists, who argue that ‘anti-blackness’ is fundamental are onto something; it’s just that I think there is a need to get beyond the terms of the ‘secular’ frame within which that something is articulated: I would like to suggest that the key issue is hamaa and the ‘hamaaitic’ or  Hamitic. And what is the nature of the Hamitic, and where is it to be found?

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