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In search for the decolonization of knowledge

In search for the decolonization of knowledge
© Taylla de Paula

​The idea of constituting a network of education, responsible for the exchange of didactic materials produced by centers in the South Atlantic axis, motivated articulations in the laboratory of educational interventions.

Six participants of the conference debate projects that privilege the dialogue of different types of knowledge. In the group, the Angolan architect and researcher Filomena Carvalho, the cultural agent Luciana Modé, the visual arts professor Emi Koide (UFRB), the researcher Nicolas Wasser, the German anthropologist and curator Mona Suhrbier, and the professor Félix Kaputu (UFMG).

Paulo Freire in Brazil

Recovering ideas of the philosopher and educator Paulo Freire (1927-1991) in the 60s, Emi Koide remembers that, in Brazil, the perspectives of the author have been systematically attacked. Departing from the thinking of Freire, the researcher highlights the role of a dynamic based on the protagonism of local agents about the didactic materials chosen for the young adult education. “How do these subjects dialogue with what surrounds the communities? It is necessary that content that is studied in the rural zones, for example, incorporate the circumstances and knowledges of that region. This way, urban schools can, indeed, send their books, but they must also receive productions from areas that, supposedly, are not in the center.” According to Koide, this movement would be capable of oxygenating the network of knowledge already accommodated in a hierarchical vision of education. 

Diverse knowledges

One of the aspects cited by Filomena Carvalho passes tangentially by the notion of decolonizing knowledges. In highlighting the value of self-esteem in the educative process of children, she affirms that it is necessary to teach them to feel proud of themselves. “When we know each other, we respect one another. In dealing with other epistemologies, we will get to know new means of living together.” For this, it is necessary to blur the roles of producer and consumer, diluting borders. Filomena also highlights the importance of financial support and of the logistical structure for the circulation of these other knowledges. For Nicolas Wasser, the tradition can be capable of canceling intellectual debates, also becoming co-responsible for humanitarian violations, like in the cases of murders of women and of the LGBTT population. “We cannot see tradition as something frozen in time.”

To live together

The importance of the notions of community and of living together is put in scene by Luciana Modé. Thinking about the relation between education and the devaluing of communitary knowledges, she notes that academicism can move away the idea of coexistence with other approaches to the world, besides impeding the formation of new networks. “Living together with the difference in our countries, dealing with other looks, goes through the dynamics of decolonization. Some indigenous communities, for example, understand in a very different way the educational training of a subject,” she completes. The discussions in the lab propose a horizontal approach to education, in which many different types of writing and transmission of knowledge are considered. Because of this, the result of the group will go in the direction of a network that makes circulate non-Western and non-traditional knowledges, produced by local mediators. Cities of Brazil, such as Cachoeira (BA) and Belo Horizonte (MG), and in Angola, such as Luanda, would receive didactic materials produced in different realms of the Southern axis.

by Luis Ferndando