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Free Seminar: Colonising Madness: Postcolonial theory within Critical Disability Studies, Mad Studies, and Critical (Educational) Psychology

14th September, University of Sheffield

This is a free event. You can book tickets here

Colonising Madness: Postcolonial theory within Critical Disability Studies, Mad Studies, and Critical (Educational) Psychology

Organised by China Mills and Dan Goodley, at the Critical Education and Psychology Centre for the Human (CEPCH), at Sheffield University’s School of Education

 Within Critical Disability Studies, Mad Studies, and Critical (Educational) Psychology, (post)colonial theory is increasingly being put to use. This work surrounds us with calls to decolonize education, disability, (global) mental health, methodologies, and more. It implies that the ableism and sanism enshrined in education, models of disability and ‘mental disorder’ from the global North, and the psy-disciplines more generally, are colonial: that they have historically been and continue to be tools of colonialism, and/or that they themselves colonize lived realities and ways of life. Postcolonial theory is also used to illuminate how intersecting forms of oppression and discrimination may be inscribed on people’s bodies, psyches and spirits, in multiple ways and across generations. And it is also used to read resistance.

This event emerges from this contested space and aims to enable a group of interdisciplinary scholars, activists and postgraduate researchers, to come together to discuss and critically reflect on the use of (post)colonial theory and discourses of (de)colonization within their own work and lives. The workshop will be framed around, though not exclusive to, a series of questions:

  • How can postcolonial activism and scholarship be put to work within Critical Disability Studies, Critical Psychology, and Mad Studies.
  • Colonialism is not one thing. It comes in many different shapes and sizes depending on different historical trajectories – from ‘civilising’, to eradicating and erasing, indigenous peoples and ways of life. Do these different types of colonialism affect how we speak about colonialism within the social sciences and humanities? Do they impact upon our attempts at research that is decolonizing, anti-oppressive and social justice oriented?
  • Do ableism and sanism, and the institutions that perform them, colonize? Or are they distinct forms of oppression that are interlaced with colonialism?
  • What about people and populations who are both psychiatrized and colonized?
  • Can and should we use colonization as a metaphor for other forms of oppression? And should we use decolonization as a metaphor in wider movements for social justice?

At this workshop speakers will share how they put postcolonial scholarship ‘to work’. Speakers include; Muna Abdi (University of Sheffield), Shaun Grech (The Critical Institute, Malta), Bruce Cohen (University of Auckland), Bill Penson (UCLAN), Dan Goodley (University of Sheffield) and China Mills (University of Sheffield). Talks will be interspersed with short five minute ‘provocations’ (questions, debates, anxieties) from scholars and activists around the world. This event actively seeks to promote the work of postgraduate researchers and activists, alongside other forms of scholarship, and a limited number of bursaries to cover travel expenses are available.

Please contact China Mills china.mills@sheffield.ac.uk (no later than July 1st), if you’d like to share a provocation, apply for a bursary, and to let us know how we can make the workshop accessible for you.

We look forward to seeing you in September.

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