The Global Legacy
Edited By Michael A. Peters and Tina Besley
Chapter Thirty-One: Decolonizing Ways of Knowing: Communion, Conversion, and Conscientization
Decolonizing Ways of Knowing: Communion, Conversion, and Conscientization
The struggle to know and name the world is a central aspect of any decolonizing project, and Freire’s notion of conscientização (conscientization) refers to a form of critical engagement with the realities of the lived experience of the colonized world. It is not enough to know the world; knowledge must be brought to bear on changing the world. This chapter looks to draw together three key ideas from decolonial activists to anchor an exploration of the experiences of the (white) author with indigenous scholars engaged in research work where indigenous ways of knowing have been, in effect, quarantined by those scholars outside the academy. The inability/refusal of these scholars to see and acknowledge the legitimacy of their culturally familiar ways of knowing (Du Bois’s  double consciousness) can be seen to be a manifestation of the cultural amputation Fanon (1967) so vehemently resisted. The central concern of this chapter is to draw from the experience of deliberately engaging a process approaching that of conscientization, where shadows of vanguardism and neocolonial maneuvers were (possibly) cast unwittingly across an intent to expose and disrupt colonized ways of knowing, to consider the implications of Freire’s (1970/1972b) idea of communion for collaborative decolonial praxis.
The primary aim of the decolonial project is the positive reconstruction of the relationship between the colonized and the colonizer. This, as Paulo Freire explained, is...
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