Discourse Ks – Gonzaga Debate Institute 14



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Colonialism included the colonial expansion of knowledge regardless of whether it not it was critical of itself – means the alternative links to the K


Mignolo, Duke University professor of Literature and Romance Studies, 2

(Walter, Argentine semiotician and professor at Duke University, Published Winter 2002, “The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference”, Pg. 79-80, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 101, Number 1, Winter 2002, Accessed July 10 2013, JB)


It cannot be said of Wallerstein that he, like Vattimo or Habermas, is blind to colonialism. Unlike continental thought, Wallerstein is not imprisoned in the Greco-Roman–modern European tradition. The politics of location is [End Page 79] a question valid not just for minority epistemology. On the contrary, it is the keystone of universalism in European thought. Cornel West's perception and analysis of the "evasion of American philosophy" speaks to that politics of location that is not a blind voluntarism but a force of westernization. 66 Although the United States assumed the leadership of Western expansion, the historical ground for thinking was not, and could not have been, European. The "evasion of American philosophy" shows that tension between the will to be like European philosophy and the impossibility of being so. 67 The logic of the situation analyzed by West is similar to the logic underlined by Bernasconi vis-á-vis African philosophy. The variance is that the evasion of American philosophy was performed by Anglo-Creoles displaced from the classical tradition instead of native Africans who felt the weight of a parallel epistemology.

The social sciences do have a home in the United States as well as in Europe, which is not the case for philosophy. But the social sciences do not necessarily have a home in the Third World. Therefore, while opening the social sciences is an important claim to make within the sphere of their gestation and growth, it is more problematic when the colonial difference comes into the picture. To open the social sciences is certainly an important reform, but the colonial difference also requires decolonization. To open the social sciences is certainly an important step but is not yet sufficient, since opening is not the same as decolonizing, as Fals-Borda claimed in the 1970s. In this sense Quijano's and Dussel's concepts of coloniality of power and transmodernity are contributing to decolonizing the social sciences (Quijano) and philosophy (Dussel) by forging an epistemic space from the colonial difference. Decolonizing the social sciences and philosophy means to produce, transform, and disseminate knowledge that is not dependent on the epistemology of North Atlantic modernity—the norms of the disciplines and the problems of the North Atlantic—but that, on the contrary, responds to the need of the colonial differences. Colonial expansion was also the colonial expansion of forms of knowledge, even when such knowledges were critical to colonialism from within colonialism itself (like Bartolome de las Casas) or to modernity from modernity itself (like Nietzsche). A critique of Christianity by an Islamic philosopher would be a project significantly different from Nietzsche's critique of Christianity. [End Page 80]

Impact Answer




Their root cause claims are false-there is no single cause of events, rather many different causes


Wallerstein, is an American sociologist, historical social scientist, and world-systems analyst, 97

(Immanuel, an American sociologist, historical social scientist, and world-systems analyst. His bimonthly commentaries on world affairs are syndicated, 1997, Binghamton.edu "Eurocentrism and its Avatars: The Dilemmas of Social Science," http://www2.binghamton.edu/fbc/archive/iweuroc.htm, Accessed: 7/6/13, LPS.)


But even if we agree on the definition and the timing, and therefore so to speak on the reality of the phenomenon, we have actually explained very little. For we must then explain why it is that Europeans, and not others, launched the specified phenomenon, and why they did so at a certain moment of history. In seeking such explanations, the instinct of most scholars has been to push us back in history to presumed antecedents. If Europeans in the eighteenth or sixteenth century did x, it is said to be probably because their ancestors (or attributed ancestors, for the ancestry may be less biological than cultural, or assertedly cultural) did, or were, y in the eleventh century, or in the fifth century B.C. or even further back. We can all think of the multiple explanations that, once having established or at least asserted some phenomenon that has occurred in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, proceed to push us back to various earlier points in European ancestry for the truly determinant variable.

There is a premise here that is not really hidden, but was for a long time undebated. The premise is that whatever is the novelty for which Europe is held responsible in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, this novelty is a good thing, one of which Europe should be proud, one of which the rest of the world should be envious, or at least appreciative. This novelty is perceived as an achievement, and numerous book titles bear testimony to this kind of evaluation.



There seems to me little question that the actual historiography of world social science has expressed such a perception of reality to a very large degree. This perception of course can be challenged on various grounds, and this has been increasingly the case in recent decades. One can challenge the accuracy of the picture of what happened, within Europe and in the world as a whole in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. One can certainly challenge the plausibility of the presumed cultural antecedents of what happened in this period. One can implant the story of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries in a longer duration, from several centuries longer to tens of thousands of years. If one does that, one is usually arguing that the European "achievements" of the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries thereby seem less remarkable, or more like a cyclical variant, or less like achievements that can be credited primarily to Europe. Finally one can accept that the novelties were real, but argue that they were less a positive than a negative accomplishment.




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