The Institute Project on Decoloniality 2021-2024 (IPD '24) is a three-year research project run by the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. With an aim to decentre Whiteness in academia and mitigate the disproportionate favouring of White, English-speaking scholars, IPD '24 augments existing work by RACE.ED, UncoverED, the Centre for African Studies, the Centre for South Asian Studies, the Edinburgh Centre for Global History and many others. Following similar thematic campaigns led by IASH, such as the 1986 Institute Project on the Scottish Enlightenment (IPSE '86) and Technology, Communication and the Humanities 1988 (TeCH '88), IPD '24 largely concerns the inclusive and expansive study of decoloniality. The following is a working definition, not intended to exclude any decolonial scholars or theoretical frameworks:
Informed by the work of a variety of writers in both the Global South and Global North, and spanning Indigenous rights, Africana thought, and movements for reparatory justice, decolonial inquiry contends that knowledge generated within what is termed a ‘colonial matrix of power’ has left us with a narrow, patriarchal and contested understanding of ourselves and the world. One means of addressing this is to challenge accepted theories of knowledge about the modern and the global, understood as ‘epistemic disobedience’, with a view to re-imagining and reconstructing our world, something in which university-based teaching and learning, research and wider community engagement is pivotal.
Thus, IPD '24 scholarship predominantly explores issues regarding but not limited to:
- Decolonising gender and sexuality
- Decolonising the curriculum
- Anti-colonial and decolonial theory
- Intellectuals in and from the Global South
- Intersectionality and multiple inequalities
- Race and racialisation
- Decentring Western feminist knowledge production
- Scotland’s role in the British Empire
- The University of Edinburgh’s colonial legacy and alumni roles in the slave trade
- The histories of Edinburgh graduates and staff of colour
Each year, approximately 35 Fellows are appointed, and a playwright commissioned to create a script inspired by the themes above. During their time, Fellows are expected to give a work-in-progress talk about their work at IASH, with more senior Fellows expected to deliver a public lecture. Additionally, their work will be presented at annual conferences, with the proceedings published as part of IASH's Occasional Papers series. Ultimately, IPD '24 will result in the output of a major edited publication and/or a special issue of Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.
IASH provides financial resources, office facilities, and most importantly, a safe space beyond individual schools for researchers from the university and the wider international academic community to collaborate and disseminate their responses to the themes.