How might declonising the academy intersect with academic everyday practice, for instance in the context of migration studies? As efforts to decolonise the academy are gaining force, not least in universities in the United Kingdom, such as at the School of Oriental and African Studies, questions about how this timely intellectual scrutiny can or ought to affect academic everyday practice should be pondered. Especially in relation to how the ‘decolonise academia’ initiatives help foster greater knowledge and understanding, thus stimulating and furthering academic inquiry.’
Map of the British Empire from the India & Colonial Exhibition in London, 1886. PHOTO: The British Library
When we discuss decolonising the academy, we are talking about power, and more specifically power hierarchies. So, we are discussing unevenly distributed power when it comes to defining knowledge, which inevitably leads to skewed knowledge, to incomplete knowledge.
Two statisticians at the University of Oslo have blown a hole in Steven Pinker’s famous theory that the Long Peace dates from 1945 onwards. But Pinker is excited about the new calculations, which suggest that this more peaceful period instead began in 1965 – during the Vietnam War.
Washington 1971: The demonstrations against the Vietnam war may have made it more difficult to go to war. Foto: Leena A. Krohn / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
In his 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, the internationally famous psychologist and popular-science author Steven Pinker looks at history over several millennia and observes that the world has become gradually more peaceful. He has also described the period since World War II as “the Long Peace”, due to the decline in the number of interstate wars. But now Pinker seems to be having second thoughts, after reading a blog post written on January 15 by Professor Nils Lid Hjort of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Oslo (UiO), following a seminar at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).Read More
The political leadership in Israel often uses the concept of “friend” and “enemy.” Other countries also use those concepts from time to time, but it seems that they are particularly prevalent in Israeli political language. For instance, Prime Minister Netanyahu talks of “true friend” Donald Trump, “close friend” Narendra Modi of India, while other leaders and nations may be more difficult to place on his friendship scale. Israel is a country I have engaged with professionally and personally for many years, and something I will continue to do. I consider myself a friend of Israel, but that raises the question: what does that mean?
A soldier from the Golani Brigade relaxes in the desert. PHOTO: Creative Commons/IDF
Since the end of March thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have taken part in demonstrations along the border with Israel. The Israeli military response has resulted in many deaths and many more serious injuries among the protesters. The protests are continuing.
One of the consequences of war is disrupted food provision. The connection between conflict and hunger is indisputable when we look at today’s locations of the major global hunger emergencies: Rakhine in Myanmar, the Kasai Region in DR Congo, north-eastern Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It is estimated that 80 percent of the World… Read more »
In March, I argued that the connections between climate change and security are complex, contingent, and not fully understood. Most of the academic literature has firmly focused on conflict onset with the broader security consequences largely understudied. For policy audiences, the nuance can be frustrating. It is difficult to know what to do with such… Read more »
Monday 7 May The SPLM-IO faction led by Taban Deng Gai announced that it has officially joined the country’s ruling party SPLM, under the overall leadership of President Salva Kiir. President Salva Kiir accepted that Riek Machar could come to Juba under the protection of the Regional Protection Force. President Kiir did not accept however… Read more »
Monday 30 April South African telecom operator MTN will expand its operations in South Sudan. There is a rising demand for mobile services, conceivably linked to the expulsion of Vivacell. Tuesday 1 May SPLM-IO has released the 10 aid workers abducted in Central Equatoria. A border dispute caused soldiers from the SPLA to halt a… Read more »
In the war in Syria, the two globally most militarily active superpowers – Russia and the United States – have soldiers actively deployed on opposite sides on the same battlefield. This is the first time this has happened since the end of World War II, and it is a dangerous situation.
At the same time, we see that the Cold War “hotline” – a direct line of communication between Moscow and Washington – continues to function. This seems to have been vital during the Western military response, on 14 April, to the use of chemical weapons in Douma a week earlier, when Russia and the United States managed to prevent further escalation of conflict between them.
The ruins of the 2018 American-led bombing of Damascus and Homs. Photo: Tasnim News Agency / Wikimedia Commons
From a Norwegian vantage point this is important. The Syrian conflict is the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of our time. In itself, it is an extremely complex war involving a large number of parties, within Syria, from the region, and beyond. But a confrontation between Russia and the United States, given that each directly supports a different side in the conflict, could also have implications for Norway’s relationship with the superpowers and, in the final analysis, for Norway’s own security. Accordingly, it is good news for Norway that the mechanisms for preventing escalation continue to function.
There is little doubt that the missile strikes defied international law. None of the established justifications for a military attack on another country’s territory were in place. When the Norwegian government expresses its ‘understanding’ for the attack, without entering into further discussion of the international law implications to which one otherwise attaches such great importance, it is a reflection of a small state that feels increasingly vulnerable at the interface between a more aggressive Russia and a less predictable United States. Read More