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15 resources to Decolonise Futures & Imaginaries

Resources to (un)learn colonial notions and models to move towards a decolonised state for envisioning the future.

Artwork by Tarika Jain

Over the last few years, ‘decolonising’ has become one of the new buzzwords and found its place in a range of disciplines attempting to redefine themselves. While there is no singular definition of what it means to decolonise, its descriptions and methodologies often revolve around challenging hegemonic ideas and models guiding practitioners, policymakers and scholars, amongst others, to achieve more holistic results. It redefines the discourse and practice to make it more inclusive and representative by weaving marginalised and underrepresented narratives and challenging the goals of the system within knowledge, its epistemic and its place in a historical and contemporary context.

Members of the Anticipatory Governance community, too, believe in decolonising futures and imaginaries in the hope to develop visions free of eurocentric/Anglo colonial clutches and impositions. A way forward is to incorporate texts – fiction and non-fiction, academic and otherwise – from marginalised and underrepresented writers into our reading lists and curricula.

Here is a list of decolonial literature for your next read.

  1. Imagining the Future of Climate Change: World-Making through Science Fiction and Activism by Shelley Streeby: Fictional and non-fictional stories of real-world social movements driven by indigenous people and people of colour to realise the unheard side of climate justice’s history.

  2. Hospicing Modernity by Vanessa Machado de Oliveira: A breakdown of archetypes of cognitive dissonance to explain how our neoliberal capitalist habits, behaviours and belief systems are holding us back and understand why it is time to disinvest.

  3. Buffalo Is the New Buffalo by Chelsea Vowel: 8 short stories depicting a world without violence, capitalism or colonisation, exploring science fiction tropes, the Indigenous world and its resistance through a Metis lens.

  4. VIOLENT PHENOMENA: 21 Essays on Translation by Dr Kavita Bhanot and Jeremy Tiang: A compilation of 21 essays written by 24 writers from across the world on literary translation, their violent imperial roots and a more disrupting, decolonising yet kinder practice.

  5. The Black Shoals: Offshore Formations of Black and Native Studies by Tiffany Lethabo King: A space for Black and Native literary traditions, politics, theory and art to meet productively and create new epistemologies and lines of critical enquiry while challenging white supremacy.

  6. Imagining Decolonisation by Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Rebecca Kiddle, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton, Amanda Thomas: Demystifying decolonisation and investigating the impact of colonisation on the Māori and non-Māori through real-life examples.

  7. Sacred Civics: Building Seven Generation Cities by Jayne Engle, Julian Agyeman and Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook: Curated intersectional works from acclaimed individuals, questioning deep-rooted assumptions operating in our society and drawing on ancient Indigenous traditions’ wisdom, about human settlements as the sites of transformation.

  8. Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century by James Clifford: Evocative essays explore future trajectories in a globalising world and the struggles of the participants in it against hegemonic cultural identities and economic power.

  9. Institutional Transformations: Imagination, Embodiment, and Affect by Danielle Celermajer, Millicent Churcher, Moira Gatens: An anthology investigating how institutions systematically disadvantage (or privilege) people based on their identity variables while exploring legal, political and normative interventions for a more just society.

  10. Pluriversal Politics: The Real and the Possible by Arturo Escobar: A critical work analysing radical alternative visions and the politics of the possible through an Indigenous and Afro-descendant activist-intellectual lens.

  11. Rewriting the Future: Using Science Fiction to Re-envision Justice by Walidah Imarisha: An article underlining the need for science or speculative fiction, fantasy, horror, magical realism and the like for social justice movements to provide readers with a platform to engage with issues of war, oppression, power and privilege productively.

  12. The coloniality of time in the global justice debate: de-centring Western linear temporality by Katharina Hunfeld: Reorienting the global justice discussion to the issue of time for avoiding epistemic violence through problematising colonial, teleological notions of temporality and accounting for the plurality of time.

  13. Indigenous Climate Change Studies: Indigenizing Futures, Decolonizing the Anthropocene by Kyle Whyte: A case advocating Indigenous studies’ approaches for addressing climate change due to their critical and decolonising nature.

  14. Decolonization is not a metaphor by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang: A necessary reminder of the unsettling truth about decolonisation and settler colonialism in the context of practising decolonisation.

  15. Education and ecological precarity: Pedagogical, curricular, and conceptual provocations by Fikile Nxumalo, Preeti Nayak and Eve Tuck: A call to consider alternative curricular and pedagogical approaches addressing the disconnect between changing lives due to climate change and the absence of corresponding adaptive and appropriate curricular and pedagogical reforms.

For more information and resources on decolonising futures and imaginaries, check out Decolonising Utopia Resource List and Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures.

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