Despite coming from a postcolonial society myself, I didn’t have much awareness of the decolonisation agenda, I must embarrassedly admit. I can in fact pinpoint the moment when the concept first registered in my mind. It was in 2007, in a mall in Kuala Lumpur where I was hanging out with fellow panelists after a conference and impulsively bought a book titled Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. Then, to be honest, I didn’t think much about it for another few years. Now I am in an environment where hardly a day goes by without it being brought up, and this has enabled me to realise that it is a far broader battle than including non-Western books in the reading lists.
Let me share my bookmarks on this topic — del.icio.us style. (Remember del.icio.us?)
Geraldine Moane (1999). Hierarchical systems: Patriarchy and colonialism. In: Gender and Colonialism: Psychological Analysis of Oppression and Liberation.
Elijah Meeks (2011). Digital humanities as thunderdome. Journal of Digital Humanities 1(1).
Mark Surman (2016). “The rise of digital empires is creating a colonial vision of the internet — we have to stop it”. New Statesman, 1st September.
Olivia Solon (2018). Elon Musk: we must colonise Mars to preserve our species in a third world war. The Guardian, 11 March.
Nick Couldry & Ulises A. Mejias (2018). Data colonialism: Rethinking big data’s relation to the contemporary subject. Television & New Media 20(4): 336-349.
Jeongmin Kim (2020). Former North Korean diplomat vows to improve protection for defectors if elected. NK News, 19 February.
Han Woo Park (2020). [기고] ‘대구’를 ‘도구’로 이용하지 마라. 매일신문, 23 February.
Marius Meinhof (2020). Othering the virus. Discover Society, 21 March.
Thus, what failed in Europe is not liberal democracy but postcolonial arrogance. There was no lack of information, language ability, or time to learn what had happened in China. There was a lack of relating Chinese disasters to ‘us’, due to prevailing notions of orientalism and colonial temporality. Regrettably, Chinese state media have now started, too, to tell the story of the outbreak as a contest between ‘our’ and ‘their’ political systems rather than a natural disaster, and started to spread similar conspiracy theories as new orientalists did before. This may in turn make them underestimate the danger of a return of the virus in the coming year.