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Decolonizing Social Sciences - CANCELLED

7,5 credits

Course period: October 30, 2017- January 14, 2018

This course aims to build a conceptual framework for decolonizing social sciences and research. Drawing from feminist, postcolonial, decolonial and subaltern critiques of social  science knowledge production, the course aims at exploring the postcolonial or decolonial turn in different domains of the social sciences, exploring the global plurality of particular disciplines, in the conceptual understanding of relevant analytical tools such as human/non-human, culture/nature, public/private and gender/sex among many others. More specifically, the course activities are expected to unfold in three thematic modules. Each module will consist of lectures, seminars, and group activities including film screenings and discussions.

The first module, titled ‘Anti-colonial epistemologies’, will explore the work of social scientists that have highlighted the colonial legacy of our received knowledge regimes. However, as the topic has also concerned other fields such as humanities, it will provide an introduction to the topic as approached by several renowned thinkers from the global south (such as Chakrabarty, de Sousa Santos, Fanon, Freire, Mignolo, and wa Thiong'o). The module will further explore the ways in which these scholars have attempted to dismantle the hegemonic structures of  scholarship and build anti-colonial and decolonial epistemologies that form the foundation of a more democratic system of knowledge production.

The second module, titled ‘The Pervasive Colonialism in Legal Regimes’, will engage critically with the global rhetoric around legalization and formalization, with a rights based approach towards legitimizing anti-colonial claims. It will focus on deconstructing the underlying philosophy of such rhetoric and thereby attempting to expose its inherent colonial character. The core focus of this module is on how the inscription of postcolonial claims to land and resources within the colonially embedded notions of sovereignty, territory and property ownership, can simultaneously work towards recolonization.

The third module, entitled ‘Anti-colonial struggles in the Global North’, will cover case studies  of anti-colonial struggles embedded within the Global North. Examples would be the struggles of Sami people in Scandinavia, Native American peoples’ movements in USA and Canada, and movements of aboriginal people in Australia. The module will also critically discuss the  solidarity movements initiated by actors in the Global North and the possible risks of re- appropriating struggles. It will attempt to interrogate the flows of power and questions of identity, community, and belonging that frame and shape these struggles.

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Course Information

Course coordinator

Yahia Mahmoud


Course administrator

Helena Falk



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Application instructions autumn courses

In order to apply for the Faculty PhD courses, please complete this form.

Please discuss these courses with your supervisor before completing the form.

The last day to register for courses beginning in the autumn 2017 is normally one month before the course starts, though this depends on the availability of spots.

Late application is still possible as long as there are available spots.

Once you have submitted your application we will contact you in order to confirm your place on the course. Please also note that a course may be cancelled if not enough participants apply.


If the number of applicants exceeds available places, applicants are prioritised as follows*:

  1. Doctoral students from the Faculty of Social Sciences, Lund University
  2. Doctoral students from other faculties at Lund University
  3. External doctoral students

Please note: Applicants from other faculties* at LU and universities are required to pay a fee. The current fee is 8500 SEK for each PhD course offered by the Faculty.

*This fee and ranking does not pertain to LUSEM doctoral students taking the Research Ethics course. LUSEM doctoral students will be admitted on the same conditions as doctoral students at the Faculty of Social Sciences. There will be no fee for LUSEM doctoral students.