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Human Architecture : Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge
Number of Followers: 5  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 1540-5699
Published by U of Massachusetts Homepage  [18 journals]
  • Deep Learning in the Sociological Classroom: Understanding Craving and
           Understanding Self

    • Authors: Linda R. Weber
      Abstract: Deep learning is a dialectical process; the tension between the intellectual understanding and the emotional experience of a subject matter can result in self-insight that has transformative potential. Insight into the self in relationship to the subject matter is the hallmark of this symbolic interactionist understanding of deep learning. Students in two iterations of a senior-level seminar on symbolic interaction abstained from an object of desire for a two-week period; during this time, they blogged about their experiences abstaining, craving, and relapsing. At the end of the two-week period, these blogs were combined to form a qualitative database that was subsequently uploaded into a qualitative data analysis program for phenomenological analysis. The students used this database to write a seminar paper about the overall structure and process of craving that elucidated both the intellectual and the emotional components of learning. This researcher analyzed the students’ blogs and papers for signs of deep learning. In general, the integration of the emotional experience with craving and the associated intellectual learning about craving and the transformation of self, signifies that the dialectical process of deep learning about craving can occur in a college classroom.
      PubDate: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:44:21 PST
  • Lisa Suhair Majaj’s Geographies of Light: the Lighted Landscape of
           Hope (Book Review)

    • Authors: Rehnuma Sazzad
      Abstract: This is a review of the book, Geographies of Light: the Lighted Landscape of Hope, a collection of poetry by the Palestinian-American poet Lisa Suhair Majaj, published by Del Sol Press, Washington, D.C, 2009. “Reading Majaj,” the reviewer Rehnuma Sazzad states, “we surely realize that whatever differences of skin, colour, or map we may have, we are the neighbours of the stars by dint of inhabiting a tiny planet that has not yet stopped its orbit round its own star.” In her view, “The book presents a wonderful landscape, which is filled with the presence of light. The landscape spreads over different continents and establishes the poet’s belief and hope in humanity by building up an imaginative geography in which she feels at home.”
      PubDate: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:44:20 PST
  • The Voice of a Country of Called 'Forgetfulness': Mahmoud
           Darwish as Edward Said's "Amateur"

    • Authors: Rehnuma Sazzad
      Abstract: This is a study of two close friends: Edward Said and Mahmoud Darwish—cosmopolitan and humane Palestinians who were fellow compatriots in the fight for the Palestinian cause. Both resigned from the PLO in the wake of the Oslo Accord as a sign of protest to the agreement. However, this was mostly true on Said’s part. Darwish said he was a poet; of what use was politics to him? This paper tries to answer this question by exploring the dynamic interplay of poetry and politics in what Said would call Darwish’s ‘amateurism.’ Said’s ‘amateur’ is an intellectual who remains extraordinarily committed to truth and justice through all her/his efforts. An ‘amateur’s’ relentless task is to ‘speak truth to power.’ In order to perform the task, s/he combines the traits of Gramsci’s ‘organic intellectual’ and Benda’s ‘cleric’ in her/himself. Like the organic intellectual, s/he persistently challenges hegemonies through advancing progressive ideas and as a Bendaesque moral force, s/he acts against all kinds of subjugations and aggressions. The author argues that an ‘amateurish’ breaking of barriers took place when Darwish the poet turned into a Palestinian spokesman out of his passion to speak truth to the occupying Israeli power. Consequently, his art and his politics of universal human freedom vis-à-vis Palestine became so inextricably interlinked that he started to fill football stadia with his poetry recitation. Whether he wanted it or not, politics thus became an integral part of Darwish’s artistic project.
      PubDate: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:44:19 PST
  • Exploring Pluriversal Paths Toward Transmodernity: From the Mind-Centered
           Egolatry of Colonial Modernity to Islam’s Epistemic Decolonization
           through the Heart

    • Authors: Dustin Craun
      Abstract: This paper explores the intersections between the decoloniality/transmodernity school of thought and Islamic spirituality, popularly known as Sufism. Beginning with an in depth study of the egolatry of Western epistemology which places white Western man and the mind on a false god like pedestal, this work explores two modes of being. One that is centered in coloniality/modernity what is called here the pyramidal construction of man, versus a decolonial process centered in the seat of human perception/consciousness centered in the heart as understood in Islamic/Sufi epistemology, called here the pyramidal construction of the human. As these pyramids clearly demonstrate, needed is a shift from the ego/nafs/self at the top or center of Man’s onto-epistemological existence, to the ego/nafs/self being placed in a state of spiritual peace at the bottom of one’s existence where the ego/nafs/self is placed last. To make this shift in the geo-politics of knowledge in the context of Islam, he argues that what is needed is a shift away from Descartes and Western modernity’s centering of human consciousness in the mind, to a re-centering of consciousness in the spiritual heart (qalb). This in turn requires a shift back to a Tassawuf (Islamic Sufism) and thus a heart (qalb) centered understanding of Islam in relation to modernity. Since the Islamic spiritual science of Tassawuf has been de-centered and scapegoated in relation to Islamic discourses such as “modern revivalist Islam” (Wahabism/Salafism) and secular modernists, in this paper the author seeks to show that as it relates to the Muslim world, Islamic Sufism can make an important epistemological contribution to the perspective of decoloniality. Pulling from the decoloniality/transmodernity thinkers such as Enrique Dussel, Walter Mignolo, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, and Ramon Grosfoguel, this paper also engages the work of Fanon, Cesaire, Laura Perez, and the Muslim thinkers Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Ibn Arabi, and Sherman Jackson.
      PubDate: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:44:18 PST
  • The Structure of Knowledge in Westernized Universities: Epistemic
           Racism/Sexism and the Four Genocides/Epistemicides of the Long 16th

    • Authors: Ramón Grosfoguel
      Abstract: This article is inspired by Enrique Dussel's historical and philosophical work on Cartesian philosophy and the conquest of the Americas. It discusses the epistemic racism/sexism that is foundational to the knowledge structures of the Westernized University. The article proposes that the epistemic privilege of Western Man in Westernized Universities' structures of knowledge, is the result of four genocides/epistemicides in the long 16th century (against Jewish and Muslim origin population in the conquest of Al-Andalus, against indigenous people in the conquest of the Americas, against Africans kidnapped and enslaved in the Americas and against women burned alive, accused of being witches in Europe). The article proposes that Dussel's argument in the sense that the condition of possibility for the mid-17th century Cartesian “I think, therefore I am” (ego cogito) is the 150 years of "I conquer, therefor I am" (ego conquiro) is historically mediated by the genocide/epistemicide of the "I exterminate, therefore I am" (ego extermino). The 'I exterminate’ is the socio-historical structural mediation between the idolatric 'I think' and the 'I conquer.'
      PubDate: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:44:17 PST
  • Thoughts on Dussel’s "Anti-Cartesian Meditations"

    • Authors: Lewis R. Gordon
      Abstract: This is a commentary on the article "Anti-Cartesian Meditations: On the Origins of the Philosophical Anti-Discourse of Modernity" by Enrique Dussel published in this issue of the journal. The author argues that Dussel’s argument raises several important considerations in the study of the epistemic and normative presuppositions of European modernity.
      PubDate: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:44:16 PST
  • Philosophy, the Conquest, and the Meaning of Modernity A Commentary on
           "Anti-Cartesian Meditations: On the Origin of the Philosophical
           Anti-Discourse of Modernity" by Enrique Dussel

    • Authors: Linda Martín Alcoff
      Abstract: This is a commentary on the article "Anti-Cartesian Meditations: On the Origins of the Philosophical Anti-Discourse of Modernity" by Enrique Dussel published in this issue of the journal. According to the author, Dussel’s Anti-Cartesian Meditations suggest the following conclusions for a revisioning of the discipline of philosophy: (1) If, as Rorty suggests, the meaning of philosophy is simply the history of philosophy or whatever philosophers discuss, then European philosophy does not understand what philosophy is because it does not understand its own history of philosophy; (2) Given that Descartes’ skeptical, reasoning "I" is produced through conquest, and the claim of comparative supremacy of the specific individual against its cultural others, this is hardly a good foundation for a truly rational modernity. Such a source of reasoning is neither sufficient nor reliable in terms of knowing one’s self or knowing others, or certainly in knowing how one’s own ideas and beliefs are related to or influenced by those of others; (3) The revision of the history of rationalism, modernity, and epistemology suggested in Dussel’s account suggests a new way to understand the relationship and connection between secularism and rationalism, loosening the hold of the sometimes dogmatic assumption that secularism is the only route to rationalism; (4) Despite the intensity of Dussel’s critique, his work also suggests that there may be a way to usefully distinguish the modern from Modernity, or in other words to separate a genuinely normative sense of the modern as a reflexive operation of critique from the colonialist Modernity with its legacy of self-justification and false consciousness. In this case, there may be a way to salvage philosophy after all.
      PubDate: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:44:15 PST
  • Law, Globalisation, and Second Coming

    • Authors: Oscar Guardiola-Rivera
      Abstract: In the wake of the "war on terror" and the emergence of a global surveillance regime shrouded in secrecy during the first part of the 21st century, notions of "empire" and the "white man’s burden" (including "saving" the global economy, or behaving as global protector) are in the process of being rehabilitated in social theory, public law, human rights and global economics. Meanwhile, such principles as universal access to justice and equality are relegated to the dustbin of history, as if they were dangerous remnants of a previous period of history in which genuine aspirations to global justice resulted in the pathologies of today. The work of social theorist and political philosopher Enrique Dussel, emerging from within the legacy of Latin American thought, is hereby marshalled to the aim of reconstructing such notions as "people", "justice" and "international" in relation to the need for political organisation and legal creativity, against new forms of imperialism today. Based on Dussel’s reading of the liberatory event in Paulian theology and Latin American society’s popular religiosity, this paper seeks to explore an alternative agenda for theorizing about legal and political principles and institutions from an internationalist perspective.
      PubDate: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:44:14 PST
  • Justice after the Law: Paul of Tarsus and the People of Come

    • Authors: Eduardo Mendieta
      Abstract: This is a commentary on "The Liberatory Event of Paul Tarsus" by Enrique Dussel (2009), a part of the third volume of Dussel’s Politics of Liberation. The article’s author seeks to show how Dussel reads Paul in a dialectical way, in what we can call a prismatic hermeneutical way, namely, first by attending to the Sitz im Leben, the historical-interpretative, context in which Paul produced his own texts, and how that existential and historical situation continues to disrupt the Pauline texts; second, by attending to ways in which this Sitz im Leben, has been excluded, concealed and negated when appropriating Paul’s texts; third, by reading Paul against our own contemporary problems and questions. It is by reading Paul against and through his Sitz im Leben, the author argues that Dussel is able to show how there are in Paul’s letters a series of "critical categories"—to use the expression he uses in our text (Dussel 2009:115)—that can and must be recovered for the sake of a critical, liberatory political philosophy. In a third and final part, the author turns to Dussel’s reading of Agamben, as is articulated in the text before us, in order to show that while Agamben is closer to Dussel than Dussel himself is willing to acknowledge, Agamben falls short of what Dussel’s prismatic hermeneutics accomplishes—namely to show the way in which Paul can indeed be read in a philosophical-political way that does not retreat behind to a political-theological reading that closes off both Paul as a "sacred" text to innovative readings, nor closes off our political reality to a religious critique. The philosophical-political reading of a religious text can yield a religious critique of fetishized political institutions and ways of thinking that in turn may generate new critical categories. A philosophical-political reading of sacred texts may also yield a political-economic critique, as Marx so eloquently illustrated (see Dussel 2007 [1993]).
      PubDate: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:44:13 PST
  • Agenda for a South-South Philosophical Dialogue

    • Authors: Enrique Dussel
      Abstract: The intercultural dialogue that has been developing since the beginning of the 21st century as a cultural and political priority should have an inter-philosophical global dialogue as its epistemological and ontological foundation. However, given the asymmetric relation between the Global North and the Global South, it is necessary that this global dialogue begin with an interphilosophical dialogue among the world’s post-colonial communities. This essay argues that it is imperative for philosophers of the South to come together to define and claim for themselves a philosophical practice—generating its topics and methods from its own historical, socioeconomic-political realities and traditions—that is critical of and goes beyond the European "I" which, by virtue of its colonial history, has asserted itself as the universal standard of humanity and philosophy. In asserting the particularity of their own traditions and the creative possibilities of their own situations, dialogues among the philosophers of the South work towards the realization of a pluriverse, where each culture will be in dialogue with all others from the perspective of a common "similarity," enabling each to continuously recreate its own analogical "distinction," and to diffuse itself within a dialogical, reciprocally creative space.
      PubDate: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:44:12 PST
  • Introduction: Enrique Dussel’s Multiple Decolonial Contributions

    • Authors: George Ciccariello-Maher et al.
      Abstract: This is a brief introduction by the co-editors of the vol. XI, no. 1 (Fall 2013) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, titled "Towards a Decolonial Transmodern World: A Conversation with Enrique Dussel."
      PubDate: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:44:11 PST
  • Editor’s Note: I Think; Therefore, I Don’t—Tackling the Enormity of
           Intellectual Inadvertency

    • Authors: Mohammad H. Tamdgidi
      Abstract: This is the journal editor’s note to the Fall 2013 issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, entitled "Conversations with Enrique Dussel on Anti-Cartesian Decoloniality and Pluriversal Transmodernity." In his invitation for a South-South philosophical dialogue as a prelude to a broader global philosophical conversation to advance anti-Cartesian decoloniality and pluriversal transmodernity, Dussel aptly forewarns those from the South embarking on such a conversation to become aware of and avoid what he calls "inadvertent Eurocentricity." This cautious, self-critical reflexivity not only is indicative of the depth of the project being advanced by Dussel and how he himself biographically arrived at his own world-view, but also points to the enormity of a broader challenge that exists in any liberatory conversation and effort, namely that of intellectual inadvertency. In other words, what can make problems such as ethnocentricity (including Eurocentricity, both as variants of egocentricity), among others, even more of an obstacle in advancing any conversation and practice (be they South-South and/or Global) is the fact that they can also (and often do) take place inadvertently and subconsciously, that is, beyond conscious self-awareness of the actors who otherwise explicitly seek with the best of intentions to advance their liberatory cause devoid of such biases. This editorial aims to highlight and further emphasize the significance of the subconscious processes that often accompany all political and cultural, including philosophical, dialogues, and reflects on the ways in which Dussel’s conceptual frames and the conversations in the present volume provide opportunities for reflections that may further contribute to understanding the challenge intellectual inadvertency poses in advancing decoloniality and pluriversality. It can be argued that a lack of adequate appreciation of this challenge may also be traceable to the prevailing interpretations of the Cartesian dictum: "I think; therefore, I am"—one that fails to acknowledge the multiplicity and plurality, simultaneously both personal and global, of the selves that constitute the reality of human voice uttering that dictum, leading to a subjective fragmention in discourse that precipitates intellectual inadvertency.
      PubDate: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:40:55 PST
  • Images Outside the Mirror?: Mozambique and Portugal in World History

    • Authors: Maria Paula Meneses
      Abstract: The author, speaking as a Mozambican researcher living and working in Portugal, examines the different types of knowledge about the history of the colonial relationship and the independence movement produced in the two countries. The colonial project entailed the construction of (at least) two divergent narratives on the meanings of the Portuguese presence in Mozambique, narratives that render difficult any possibility of mutual recognition. Colonialism involved much forgetting and silencing; the dominant Eurocentric perspective on colonial history needs to be questioned and problematized. This is not contradictory with a critical questioning of the official post-colonial narrative of the independent Mozambican state, whose nationbuilding function caused it to silence the diversity of memories generated by the interaction between colonizers and colonized and to justify the repression of those who questioned the official version of history. Public narratives, official or otherwise, that construct or reconstruct memories are inevitably in competition with each other and reflect power relations. But the full plurality of memory does not receive public attention; it must be dug out by activist researchers who are able to distinguish subject and object and to produce knowledge in full understanding of the complex relations created by historical legacies.
      PubDate: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 11:54:54 PDT
  • Places To Think With, Books To Think About: Words, Experience and the
           Decolonization of Knowledge in the Bolivian Andes

    • Authors: Anders Burman
      Abstract: Drawing on his anthropological field work in Bolivia in the midst of profound social and political change, the author examines the attitudes of various interlocutors toward knowledge, and in particular the important differences between “hegemonic theories of knowledge and indigenous epistemologies, between propositional and non-propositional knowledge, between knowledge of the world and knowledge from within the world, or between representationalist and relational ways of knowing.” He stresses that there is “no absolute dividing line,” no “clear-cut dichotomies after almost 500 years of asymmetric and colonial intermingling of epistemologies and knowledge systems from different traditions.” Relational ways of knowing and indigenous traditions of thought continue to be systematically treated as inferior but they are still present and are currently making themselves felt at the university.
      PubDate: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 11:54:53 PDT
  • The Crisis of the University in the Context of Neoapartheid: A View from
           Ethnic Studies

    • Authors: Nelson Maldonado-Torres
      Abstract: This paper is a decolonial intervention in the crisis of the Humanities today. It shows the colonial limits of its scope and the challenges posed by subaltern subjects and knowledges to its future. The essay is rich in examples of how the Westernized University works to reduce or neutralize the impact of Ethnic Studies and other forms of subaltern knowledge production that represent a challenge to the eurocentric/westerncentric Humanities as they exist today.
      PubDate: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 11:54:52 PDT
  • The Dilemmas of Ethnic Studies in the United States: Between Liberal
           Multiculturalism, Identity Politics, Disciplinary Colonization, and
           Decolonial Epistemologies

    • Authors: Ramón Grosfoguel
      Abstract: This paper is an analysis of the Westernized university and its Eurocentric fundamentalism in relation to the subaltern struggles of racialized groups in America and its impact on the formation of ethnic studies in the university's epistemic structure. The paper goes on to discuss questions of epistemic racism/sexism and the dilemmas that ethnic studies programs confront today in particular forms of disciplinary colonization, liberal multiculturalism and identity politics.
      PubDate: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 11:54:51 PDT
  • Slavery, Colonialism and their Legacy in the Eurocentric University: The
           Case of Britain and the Netherlands

    • Authors: Stephen Small
      Abstract: Drawing inspiration from the critique by Patricia Hill Collins of the “Eurocentric, masculinist knowledge-validation process,” the author examines various ways in which universities, both in Britain and the U.S., have long suppressed critical inquiry into the history of empire, slavery and the slave trade. Parallel to this critique, he examines museums and other memorial sites devoted to slavery in Britain and the U.S., including a small number of initiatives that challenge hegemonic accounts and draw attention to the agency and the resistance of the enslaved. He further draws attention to initiatives within academic institutions in the U.S., Britain and other parts of Europe to challenge dominant accounts of slavery and its legacy.
      PubDate: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 11:54:50 PDT
  • Decolonizing the Mind: The Case of the Netherlands

    • Authors: Sandew Hira
      Abstract: In a militant context, the author examines certain dominant historical narratives regarding slavery and abolition produced and disseminated in the Dutch university and Dutch governmental institutions. He denounces their ideological and non-scientific approaches and in particular their strong tendency to understate or deny the oppressive character of slavery and the responsibility of Dutch ruling classes in its promotion and in mystifying the historical factors that explain abolition.
      PubDate: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 11:54:49 PDT
  • About Them, But Without Them: Race and Ethnic Relations Studies in Dutch

    • Authors: Kwame Nimako
      Abstract: On the basis of direct experience in the Dutch university system, the author analyses the ways in which knowledge about ethnic minorities—so-called “minority research”—has been hegemonized by dominant elites who view minorities as problem populations and seek to manage minority problems in such a way as to minimize them and never question their own domination nor the historical heritage of colonialism and slavery. He describes several initiatives undertaken—mainly outside the university—by minority groups to re-examine race and ethnic relations and the history of slavery and abolition, including the National Platform on the Legacy of Slavery, the National Institute for the study of Dutch slavery and its Legacy (NiNsee), and the Black Europe Summer School.
      PubDate: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 11:54:48 PDT
  • ‘Epistemic Coyotismo’ and Transnational Collaboration: Decolonizing
           the Danish University

    • Authors: Julia Suárez-Krabbe
      Abstract: In the Danish university, outlooks on the countries of the South and issues of development are strongly conditioned by hegemonic perspectives marked by coloniality. Although, in an era of neoliberal university reform, decolonial critique of dominant forms and institutions of knowledge is a marginal pursuit, the author draws on the experience of the collective Andar Descolonizando, based at Roskilde University, to suggest some ways in which decolonizing critique can be trained on the university institution itself and its “position within global articulations of power.” Such critical work, aiming in particular at epistemic racism, can be accomplished through what the author calls, with Nelson Maldonado-Torres, “epistemic coyotismo,” that is, introducing into the discussion theories and perspectives that are generally excluded from academia—thereby causing them to be recognized at least, if not openly accepted, in pursuit of decolonizing forms of collaboration with social movements in the South.
      PubDate: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 11:54:47 PDT
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