Universiteit Stellenbosch
Welkom by Universiteit Stellenbosch
STIAS openbare lesing deur Profs. Kopano Ratele en Glenn Adams - Decolonial Africa-centering Psychology
Begin: 13/04/2023, 16:00
Einde: 13/04/2023, 17:30
Kontak:Nel-Mari Loock - +27218082652
Plek: STIAS Wallenberg Research Centre

Register here​ by 11 April 2023​

STIAS Fellows Kopano Ratele, professor of psychology at the University of Stellenbosch and head of the African Centre for Critical and Creative Thought and Glenn Adams, professor of psychology at the University of Kansas and Interim Director of the Kansas African Studies Center will give public lecture titled: Toward a Decolonial Africa-centering Psychology: Beyond the Whitestream Gaze on Racism and Well-being  

From #RhodesMustFall to #BlackLivesMatter, an important component of intersectional anti-racist protest movements has been concerns about epistemic injustice and the corresponding need to decolonize and depatriarchalize knowledge institutions. Typical accounts of epistemic injustice focus on underrepresentation in knowledge production processes (epistemic exclusion) or imposition of Eurocentric models without regard to cultural-historical context (intellectual imperialism). In this presentation, we draw upon an Africa-centering standpoint and perspectives of decolonial theory to illuminate another manifestation of epistemic injustice that is particularly important in psychology and related disciplines: the coloniality of the modern individualist lifeways that increasingly inform both descriptive and prescriptive standards for everyday life in the modern global order.  

In the first half of the presentation, we locate this understanding of an Africa-centering standpoint among various approaches to the project of African psychology. Rather than turn a whitestream theoretical lens to the study of an African object, an Africa-centering psychology considers what the world looks like from here, takes African experience as a foundation for re-thinking whitestream theory-in-general. We then consider one the most important insights of an Africa-centering psychology: an appreciation for the coloniality of modernity. Decolonial perspectives emphasize that Eurocentric modernity and its associated individualist lifeways are not the leading edge of progress on a march to liberation and justice, but instead are both a product and source of racial violence in service of White futurity.  

In the second half of the presentation, we consider implications for understandings of racism and the study of well-being. Typical understandings tend to psychologize racism, approaching it as prejudice or other manifestations of individual bias. A decolonial Africa-centering psychology instead illuminates the materialization of racist ideology via the coloniality of knowledge and (well)being. The view from African standpoints suggests that dominant models of well-being are not the just-natural expression of human nature, but instead may depend on levels of affluence sustained through colonial plunder. Although the self-expansive personal growth associated with these lifeways can promote optimal individual experience for a well-situated few, they may do so at the expense of a viable existence sustainable at the level of humanity in general. An Africa(n)-centering approach holds potential to illuminate sustainability-oriented models of (well)being as a more solid prescription for viable collective existence in our shared-planet reality of global interdependence. 

 Author Bios 

Professor of psychology at the University of Stellenbosch and head of the African Centre for Critical and Creative Thought, Kopano Ratele teaches on African psychology and decolonial/critical social psychology. His recent books include Why Men Hurt Women & Other Reflections on Love, Violence and Masculinity (2022) and The World Looks Like This From Here: Thoughts on African Psychology (2019). He has a regular fatherhood feature on Wednesday night on SAFM’s The Meeting Point with Koketso Sachane. Glenn Adams is Professor of psychology at the University of Kansas and Interim Director of the Kansas African Studies Center. Together and separately they are part of decolonial, cultural, anti-racist, or Africa(n)-centring psychology collectives located in different parts of the world. Among these are the READSURA Collective, with whom they recently co-edited three special issues and authored four feature articles that apply decolonial approaches to the production of knowledge in psychology. While at STIAS, Adams and Ratele are working on a joint monograph on decolonial psychology and well-being.     ​