nl en

Philosophy and Decolonization


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Philosophy: Global and Comparative Philosophy, who have successfully completed their first year, and also completed at least 10 EC’s of the mandatory components of their second year, including Language of Thought, and Concepts of Selfhood.

  • BA students in Filosofie, who have successfully completed their first year, and also completed at least 10 EC’s of the mandatory components of their second year, including Comparative Philosophy, and Political Philosophy or Philosophy of Mind.

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement, and for whom this course is part of their programme.


In this course, we will study decolonization as a theory and practice of intercultural philosophy. Theoretically, we will focus on the intellectual traditions and strategies of decolonization, its evolution over time, and in different ways it continues to evoke such powerful emotive and epistemic legitimacy. Drawn to history, we will examine decolonization as a theory of subjective restoration in response to modernity and colonial historicity (considering, for example, decolonial linkages to the Enlightenment and modernity). As a dominant theme in interculturality, we will explore how such a study enables us to bridge gaps between disciplines and other epistemic traditions. Our study equally involves several case studies of decolonization in different parts of the world, with a significant focus on globalized interconnections and interculturality. In practice, what and how can we apply decolonization theory? We will examine processes and procedures of decolonization as intercultural philosophy, whether as a practical theory of intersectionality or post-colonial feminist theory. As a theory and method, how would our systems (or methods) feature in the decolonization of the curriculum? In philosophy? In Politics? History? Economics? IR? What is the intersection between gender, sexuality, and coloniality?

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • the epistemic practice of decolonization as a critical theory;

  • critical themes in decolonial studies and the sociology of knowledge emanating from it;

  • the global connectedness and intercultural dimension of decolonization;

  • basic concepts and interrelated themes associated with decolonial studies;

  • the intersection of gender and sexuality in colonial and anti-colonial discourses;

  • what decolonization means for philosophy as a discipline;

  • practical application of decolonization both as philosophy and critical studies.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • compare different decolonial traditions and understand the continuities and discontinuities with other traditions;

  • negotiate and critically apply fundamental theories of decolonization;

  • learn the ability to critically understand thematic approaches in the intellectual history of colonialism and decolonization;

  • learn, improve, and develop critical writing and presentation skills in good academic English;

  • acquire the ability to write and deliver conference papers through learned practice in class.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Midterm essay, 800-1200 words (30%)

  • Final essay, 800-1200 words (30%)

  • Presentation (30%)

  • Participation (10%)

Attendance is compulsory for all students. Missing one class is OK (but send me an email), missing two may be possible in exceptional circumstances but, missing three means ‘you are out’ of the course. Preparation for class is as critical as active participation. Non-participation counts as non-attendance for the seminar.

Students are expected to take an active part in the discussions. All are required to read the “core” text for each class. These readings will constitute the basis for the seminar. Supplementary readings will be offered in addition to the core readings of the day. These supplementary readings are for general knowledge and not compulsory.


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests (see above).


The resit will consist of a written essay. No separate resits will be offered for mid-term or final tests. The mark will replace all previously earned marks for subtests. Attendance is required – without sufficient attendance students will be excluded from taking the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examinations cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Mignolo, Walter D. 2000. ‘The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference,’ South Atlantic Quarterly 101 (1): 57-96.

  • Wynter, Sylvia 2003. ‘Unsettling the Coloniality of Being / Power / Truth / Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresetnation – An Argument,’ CR: The New Centennial Review 3 (3): 257-337.

  • Quijano, Aníbal 2007. ‘Coloniality and Modernity/ Rationality,’ Cultural Studies 21 (2): 168-78.

  • Aimé Césaire, Discoure on Colonialism.

  • Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Mask.

  • Nira Yuval-Davis, “Chapter 1: Theorizing Gender and Nation,” in Gender & Nation (London: Sage, 1997): 1-25.

  • Joane Nagel, “Masculinity and nationalism: gender and sexuality in the making of nations,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 21.2 (1998): 242-269.

  • Mark Mazower, No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations.

  • Ousmane Sembene, God’s Bits of Wood.

  • Bhambra, Gurminder K. 2014. Postcolonial and Decolonial Reconstructions in Connected Sociologies. Bloomsbury Academic.

  • Maldonado-Torres, Nelson 2007. ‘On the Coloniality of Being: Contributions to the Development of a Concept,’ Cultural Studies 21 (2-3): 240-70.

  • Mignolo, Walter D. 2007. ‘Delinking: The Rhetoric of Modernity, the Logic of Coloniality and the Grammar of De-coloniality,’ Cultural Studies 21 (2): 449-514.

  • Quijano, Aníbal 1997. ‘The Colonial Nature of Power and Latin America’s Cultural Experience’ in Roberto Briceño-León and Heinz R. Sonntag (eds), Sociology in Latin America. Proceedings of the ISA Regional Conference for Latin America.

  • Vázquez, Rolando 2011. ‘Translation as Erasure: Thoughts on Modernity’s Epistemic Violence,’ Journal of Historical Sociology 24 (1): 27-44.

  • Walsh, Catherine E. 2002. ‘The (Re)articulation of Political Subjectivities and Colonial Difference in Ecuador Reflections on Capitalism and the Geopolitics of Knowledge,’ Nepantla: Views from South 3 (1): 61-97.


Enrolment through uSis for this course is not possible. Students are requested to submit their preferences for the third-year electives by means of an online registration form. They will receive the instruction and online registration form by email (uMail account); in June for courses scheduled in semester 1, and in December for courses scheduled in semester 2. Registration in uSis will be taken care of by the Education Administration Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the information bar at the right hand side of the page.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc., contact the Education Administration Office Huizinga


Not applicable.