produced. As a result, Europe became the locus of epistemic enunciation, and the rest of the world became the object to be described and studied from the European (and, later on, the United States), perspective. This article concentrates on the overall profile of the project and on those members of thecollective that, in the first stage, provided the foundational concepts and, in the second stage,expanded the base toward new horizons. We have entered a period in which universal assumptionsabout knowledge production are being displaced. In other words, knowledge, like capitalism, nolonger comes from one center; rather, it is geopolitically distributed. That global distributiondemanded a concept to account for it. Geopolitics of knowledge is a key concept in modernity,coloniality, and decoloniality.
The project has its point of origination in Latin America, but it is not for Latin America only, in thesame way that Marxism, postmodernism, or psychoanalysis originated in Europe but is not for Europeonly. The concept of decolonization originated in the Bandung Conference (see Wright 1956). Theconcept of coloniality originated in South America in the 1990s (Quijano 2009, cited in Aníbal
Quijano and Coloniality of Power ). Postcoloniality originated in the 1980s, right after the publicationof Francois Lyotard’s
The Postmodern Condition
(Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1978). Both postcolonialism and (de)coloniality are results of the Bandung Conference. The conference wasneither for capitalism nor for Communism, and it was not a compromise—a “third way,” as was proposed in the 1990s. It was something else, a delinking from both, that is, decolonialization (seeQuest’s The Lessons of the Bandung Conference), and that means that both capitalism andCommunism were indeed two types of colonialism (one with an emphasis on free market and theother with an emphasis on state control of the market), but both inheritors of the Enlightenment.Bandung was a departure, a delinking and the initiation of a long process of decolonization anddecoloniality as a set of global, interrelated projects without a center. A historical description of decolonization in Africa and Asia can be found in Duara 2003. The poetics and politics of decolonization were magisterially articulated by Césaire 1955 and by Fanon 2004. In Latin America,
the legacy of José Carlos Mariátegui (see Mariátegui 1971) was a key antecedent of the concept of coloniality. The “failure” of the process of political and economic decolonization was not questioningcoloniality, as Quijano has shown us, but rather in the logic that underlined the particular historicalform of colonialism. The experience that Africans and Asian countries were going through hadalready happened at the beginning of the 19th century in Latin America, and it was already known bythe 1960s that “independences” were indeed a new form of colonialism: that is, internationalcolonialism in the process of building the national states (see González Casanova 2003). It was alsoclear at the time that coloniality operated not only in the sphere of the political and the economic but basically at the epistemic (see Fals Borda’s Uno siembra semilla pero ella tienen su propia dinámicaand Sánchez Lopera 2008), cultural, and aesthetics levels (see Achinte’s Comida y colonialidad cited
under Decolonial Aesthetics).
Discourse on Colonialism
. Translated by Joan Pinkham. New York: MonthlyReview, 1955.Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »
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