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Epistemologies of the South IV - The end of a cognitive empire: what comes next?

June 21 to 29, 2018, Curia (Portugal)

 THE INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL “EPISTEMOLOGIES OF THE SOUTH” IS A COLLECTIVE SPACE DESIGNED TO MEET, EXPERIENCE, DISCUSS AND BROADEN THE EPISTEMOLOGIES OF THE SOUTH.

The Epistemologies of the South are an epistemological and political proposal that put into question the hegemonic centrality of the modern Eurocentric matrix project and wager on the broadening of cognitive justice and social justice recognising the impossibility of one existing without the other. The South, in this context, is not a geographical place, rather a metaphor for the unjust suffering promoted by the oppression of colonialism, capitalism and hetero-patriarchy and for a plural space of epistemological creativity closely linked to knowledges forged in resistances and struggles. The South thus thought is heterogeneous and includes diverse spaces, varied experiences and an infinity of knowledges. The Epistemologies of the South recognize these differences and value them, encouraging South-South dialogues, as well as South-North dialogues.

The end of a cognitive empire, title of Boaventura de Sousa Santos’ latest book  (forthcoming), points to the  epistemological  and political exhaustion of  Eurocentric thought and the need to value epistemological, pedagogical and methodological proposals that promote the struggle against epistemicide,  the destruction of knowledges not validated or made non-existent by the criteria of the modern scientific canon.

The Summer School is as crossroads for the expansion of political and epistemological imagination, which does not exhaust itself in the denouncement of capitalist, hegemonic, colonialist and hetero-patriarchal thinking, but also aiming to build and think different alternatives, and at different scales, that, through intercultural translation, can contribute to the reinvention of the narratives on what comes next. Articulating art, science and knowledges of resistances and struggles, the work will be collective and will bring together Boaventura de Sousa Santos, researchers from the Epistemologies of the South group, poets and musicians, as well as forty participants from all over the world.

As in the previous editions, a heterogeneous group is expected in terms of origin, knowledge, age and experience of work and struggle. This summer school will be a space of mutual exchange and co-learnings that will provide the means to imagine and draw utopias from concrete experiences and knowledges.

 Epistemologies of the South are based on four assumptions:

1.That the understanding of the world is much broader than the  Western understanding of the world;

2. That alternatives are not lacking in the world. What is indeed missing is an alternative thinking of alternatives;

3. That the epistemic diversity of the world is infinite and no general theory can hope to understand it;

4. That the alternative to a general theory is the promotion of an ecology of knowledges combined with intercultural translation.

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