Decolonial Epistemic Resistances and (Trans)local Practices

deadline for submissions: 
September 23, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)
contact email: 

We are inviting scholars and graduate students to participate in our seminar at the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) 2020 annual conference, titled “Decolonial Epistemic Resistances and (Trans)local Practices.” This conference will be held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Chicago on March 19-22. Please see our seminar description below or via this link: The ACLA portal submission is opened until September 23, 2019. You may find more updates via this link about paper submission: Please submit your presentation abstract through the ACLA portal with a maximum of 1500 characters (spaces included). If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at: (Chia-Hsu Jessica Chang, Graduate Student at Comparative Literature at Binghamton University) (Wei-Tsung Chen, Graduate Student at Cinematographic and Audiovisual Studies at Université Paris 3 - Sorbonne Nouvelle) 

We would appreciate if you widely share our seminar description to your colleagues and friends. We look forward to hearing back from you!


Seminar Title: Decolonial Epistemic Resistances and (Trans)local Practices

       We call for the researches on decolonial epistemic resistances that challenge Eurocentric modernity/coloniality. We look for (trans)local practices that show the epistemic disobedience or/and epistemic transculturation. Different from civil disobedience that seeks reformation within Eurocentric epistemology, Walter Mignolo suggests that epistemic disobedience seeks transformation that brings disobedience to the “point of non-return” (2009). And to paraphrase Mary Louise Pratt, epistemic transculturation at the colonial contact zone is an important demonstration of transformative epistemic disobedience (1992). In this panel, we pay attention to the very details of the logics lying within epistemic resistances. These logics are often hidden by Eurocentric theories that are claimed to be universal, objective, and scientific. Epistemic resistances cannot be fully understood if we do not see their logics. Therefore, we welcome projects that carefully contextualize and historicize (trans)local resistances in order not only to make full sense of them but also to reject violent theorization, simplified labeling, and dismissive attitude of Eurocentric humanism. For example, Oyeronke Oyewumi criticizes that women question is a “Western-derived issue” and an “imported problem” that are “not indigenous to the Yoruba” (1997). Likewise, Chung-Li Kao rejects the Western-determined arts by mapping his own epistemic territory with the art devices he creates (2012).

      This panel also highlights the travel and exchange of epistemic resistances. By learning each other's methodology and attitude, we can build a web of relations that leads to a deep social change. For example, Taiwanese thinker Kuan-Hsing Chen proposes “Asia as method” to shift [the] points of reference from the Eurocentric experiences to the experiences of the colonized in Asia and the Third World (2010). Gloria Anzaldua and Cherrie Moraga state that women of color in the U.S. have the “‘third world’ consciousness within the first world,” and, with this statement, they appeal for a coalition across the borders between racialized groups in the U.S. and the border between the First and Third World (1981). Inspired by these thinkers, this panel is intended to be a collaborative exploration.

Suggested topics:

- Transculturation, rejection, or creation of forms and genres (literary, art, media, visual, sonic...)

- The coloniality of universalized modern concepts and social categories (gender, human, nation, science, art, religion…)

- Travel and exchange of epistemic resistances; border, trans-regional, or coalitional thinking

- Combatting epistemological erasure and ontological denial

- Decolonizing modern/colonial technology; decolonial cultural techniques

- Anti-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary thinking

- Translation as assimilation, creation, or creolization

- Challenging the human-nonhuman, culture-nature and other dichotomous divisions

- Unruly, corporeal body as the site of questioning, thinking, and resistance