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Decolonising Science

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SOAS University of London

London

WC1H 0XG

United Kingdom

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Science is often presented as an apolitical objective truth. Something that cannot be disputed and is not corrupted by uncertainties. Scientific knowledge is therefore given great weight in our societies. But rarely do we critique the foundations of what we now know as science.

Join Consented for ‘Decolonising Science’, where we will discuss the relationship between Western thought, colonialism and the colonial project. Western scientific thinkers debated for much of the 17th and 18th centuries whether people of colour could bleed blood, had souls or were human.This was done through the use of crass pseudo-scientific measures such as measuring noses and skulls. The impact of this was the categorization of different races (and different bodies more generally) into clear hierarchies.

Many would argue that this sort of violent scientific method is in the past. However, we still see eugenicist racist thinking seeping into scientific discussions. Arguments about the most intelligent “race” or how certain races are faster and stronger, continue to dominate. Science, or what we know as science, is still used to police the bodies of people colour, with Caster Semenya the latest and most abhorrent example of this. This is all part of a historical trajectory tracing back to the fascination with Sarah Baartman’s body in the 19th century.

Yet even beyond this, science as we know it is incredibly Western and incredibly white. As part of the colonial logic that positions whiteness as superior, the knowledge of non-Western communities has been erased from contemporary scientific debates. Rarely do we hear about the role Hinduism played in formulating early scientific knowledge, for instance.

This panel then will explore the colonial origins of science, the continued use of science to police and criminalize black and brown bodies, as well as asking, whether we can (and what it would mean to) decolonise science.

Panellists to be announced.

This is a ticketed event but as always if you can’t pay email us consenteduk@gmail.com

This event will take place on the 9th November, arrive from 6pm for a 6.30pm start at SOAS Alumni Lecture Theatre (Senate House Building).

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SOAS University of London

London

WC1H 0XG

United Kingdom

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Refunds up to 1 day before event

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