Joao Victor Krieger
University of Alberta
Eurocentrism, Academia and the Coloniality of Knowledge: an alternative
For centuries, colonialism structured the symbolic and material relations in the Americas. Despite its diversity of methods and practices throughout the continent, the colonial power established a hierarchic division of power, consolidating it in the white patriarchal elites’ hands. The enforced dominance of a Eurocentric mentality influenced the emergence of the modern institutions in these lands. Ideological and repressive state apparatuses created in this perspective served to secure the colonial hierarchy rule—in other words, a white supremacist colonial order. Consequentially, the prevalence of white-dominated institutions meant the subjugation of alternative ways of living and thinking. Colonialism delegitimated indigenous knowledge and the knowledge brought by diasporic folks. Nonetheless, these epistemologies survived in the margins of society despite their stigma and devalued status. Long past the years of European domination, the colonized mentality persists. Institutionalized spaces dedicated to the production and reproduction of knowledge—such as Universities—echoes the European canons and martyrs. White authors (European and their descendants in the colonies) abound in textbooks, while non-Europeans struggle for recognition. In this logic, academia is indeed a Eurocentric institution. The legacy of colonialism in academia urges us to reform its basis. The dominance of Eurocentric knowledge must be challenged and give way to other intellectual systems. I will argue that the practices, philosophies, ways of living that were historically repressed symbolize a necessary alternative to disrupt this scenario. Thus, the Epistemologies of the (Global) South have the potential to deconstruct the coloniality of knowledge and Eurocentrism in American academia.