Part of the CSD Spring 2021 Seminar Series

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Olivia Umurerwa Rutazibwa, Senior Lecturer International (Development) Studies, University of Portsmouth, UK / Senior Research Fellow, Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS) will present the paper ‘Engaging Sankara on the Ruins of Epistemicide: Discovering, Reporting and Teaching Thomas Sankara as Anticolonial Archive’.

This paper is a collection of reflections on how we could engage Sankara as Anticolonial Archive (el-Malik and Kamola, 2017) and as/for wake work (Sharpe, 2017), for anticolonial knowledge making beyond personality cult, in a context of epistemicide (de Sousa Santos, 2014). An engagement with why he needed to be forgotten, who forgot and who not, and how he has been remembered, could point us in the direction of his dangerous, i.e. anticolonial, ideas and their stakes. This text offers three interventions: (1) I engage with my own discovery of the figure and ideas of Sankara to reflect on and illustrate epistemicide, as well as the places where the fissures are, i.e. there where the forgetting has not been successful; (2) I reflect on my journalistic attempt at curating and translating Sankara for a western audience – multidimensionally conceived – in the present, looking at pitfalls and opportunities (e.g. the need to frame him as the ‘African Che’ to make him readable in a context of profound colonial amnesia); (3) I explore Sankara’s words to (re-)think solidarity anticolonially, for the classroom and research agendas, zooming in on the idea of dignity (Agaciro) and the concrete case of Rwanda and the international aid context.

The seminar will take place online. Register for this event on Eventbrite.

The Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) is based in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Westminster. The centre undertakes research across a range of critical social and political challenges, promoting an interdisciplinary environment that embraces colleagues from politics, international relations, sociology and criminology.