Decolonising Knowledge Systems in India

deadline for submissions: 
July 3, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Bennett University

Decolonising Knowledge Systems in India
(National Seminar)
Organised by School of Liberal Ats, Bennett University, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh
in collaboration with
Sahitya Akademi (Ministry of Culture, Government of India)
24 July, 2023

Call for Papers
15th August 2022 marked the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. However, even a cursory glance at our knowledge systems and frameworks is enough to indicate that decolonisation is yet to be achieved. Knowledge, as we know, has long been misused as a tool of colonization and imperialism, thus subjugating and controlling the weak. The stretched period of British colonialism ensured the hegemony of Western knowledges, oppressing, marginalising, and in some cases even eliminating, erasing, and muting alternative and/or other knowledges. Hence, it is vital to be cognizant of the fact that postcolonialism is a state of mind and a condition, and, therefore, not handcuffed to temporality, that is the demise of colonialism. It is the politics of knowledge, the control over what qualifies as ‘thinking’, ‘rationality’, and the concomitant cultural gatekeeping, that marks and sustains the disjuncture between civilised and uncivilised nations – the stereotype representations – that have long been projected and legitimized by the Western academia. This situation has only been exacerbated due to our own reluctance to test the vitality of Indian knowledge systems, and in some cases, the glorification and institutionalisation of Western scholarship. The eminent Indian scholar, Avadhesh Kumar Singh critiques our collective intellectual failure, questioning the lack of a critical paradigm of decoloniality in
Indian universities. Singh’s criticism is vital to understand the importance of decolonising our minds and having our own knowledge frameworks. The over-dependence on Western knowledge systems has led us to a point where one only acknowledges Western thinking as ‘thinking’, thus promoting the thorny question, ‘Can the Non-Western think?’ Questioning and refuting such claims, thus leading to creation of spaces for alternative knowledge systems, the world has already witnessed the South Africans’ ‘Rhodes Must Fall Movement’ in 2014. Unfortunately, India is yet to see this kind of a unified reaction to the racialized knowledge system of the West. In fact, any attempt to critique these superstructures of violence is often seen as irrational and regressive. This national seminar, therefore, attempts to address this gap, by asking questions related to our hesitancy to decolonise the existing knowledge systems in India.
Subthemes for the national seminar on "Decolonising Knowledge Systems in India" include:
• Colonial Legacies in Indian Literature: Exploring the influence of colonialism on Indian literary traditions and the need to decolonize literary canons and narratives.
• Decolonizing Social Sciences: Critiquing Western-centric theories and methodologies in psychology, sociology, political science, and philosophy and promoting alternative frameworks rooted in Indian perspectives.
• Language and Power: Examining the role of language in perpetuating colonial knowledge systems and the need for linguistic decolonization to empower diverse voices and knowledge traditions.
• Decolonizing Pedagogy: Discussing innovative teaching methods and curriculum redesign to challenge Eurocentric perspectives and foster inclusive and culturally relevant education.
• Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Recognizing and validating indigenous knowledge systems and their contribution to fields like psychology, sociology, political science, and philosophy.
• Postcolonial Identity and Representation: Analyzing the impact of colonial knowledge systems on the formation of individual and collective identities and the need for decolonized representations in literature, media, and the arts.
• Decolonial Feminisms: Exploring the intersection of gender, decolonization, and knowledge systems, and examining the contributions of feminist scholars to decolonial praxis.
• Activism and Resistance: Highlighting the role of social movements, grassroots initiatives, and intellectual activism in challenging colonial knowledge systems and promoting decolonial thought.
• Decolonizing Research Ethics: Examining the ethical implications of conducting research within a decolonial framework and promoting inclusive, respectful, and collaborative research practices.
• Decolonial Futures: Envisioning alternative futures and discussing strategies for transforming knowledge systems in India to foster social justice, equality, and decoloniality.

Call for abstracts:
We invite abstract submissions that explore a wide range of subthemes related to decolonizing knowledge systems, including but not limited to:

Colonial Legacies in Indian Literature Decolonizing Social Sciences Language and Power
Decolonizing Pedagogy Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Postcolonial Identity and Representation Decolonial Feminisms
Activism and Resistance
Decolonizing Research Ethics Decolonial Futures

We encourage submissions that engage with interdisciplinary approaches, present empirical research, offer theoretical insights, and propose innovative methodologies. Abstracts should clearly outline the objectives, methodology, and expected contributions of the proposed paper. The abstract should not exceed 200 words and must be submitted by July 3, 2023.

Please include the following details in your submission:
Title of the paper Name(s) of the author(s)
Affiliation(s) and contact information Subtheme(s) the abstract relates to
Brief biography of the author(s) (50 words)
Abstract submissions should be sent to by July 05, 2023. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by July 7, 2023.

Join us for this crucial dialogue on decolonizing knowledge systems and reshaping academic disciplines in India. Together, let us challenge existing paradigms and foster inclusive, diverse, and equitable knowledge frameworks.

For any inquiries or further information, please contact Mr. Prakash Rawat at
Registration Fee: Rs. 1000/