Polylogues at the intersection(s) of decolonisation, conviviality and ‘critical diversity’ literacy: (Re-)imagining a ‘good life’

Sayan  Dey's picture
Type: 
Call for Publications
Date: 
February 23, 2022 to May 31, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Black History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Oral History, Race / Ethnic Studies

The Oxfam Inequality Report is a yearly reminder of the pervasiveness and depth of embedded injustices and inequalities in our daily lives. Colonial trajectories continue to shape contemporary tendencies to universalise the constitutive elements of a ‘good life’, encapsulated in global goals such as the SDGs. The resultant erasure denies other social and political imaginaries, other ways of knowing and understanding the world; as the Zapatista say, ‘a world of many worlds’, wherein we collectively create pluriversal spaces to flourish.

Conviviality provides one frame to collectively live and flourish in mutual respect with human and non-human environments. If we turn the pages of any dictionary, we see that the term ‘conviviality’ means friendliness. This might include ‘being helpful’, ‘being accommodative’, ‘being supportive’ and ‘sharing and caring,’. In a similar way, the term ‘diversity’ also generally refers to  practices of de-hierarchization, pluralizing and collective endeavour in producing knowledges. Critical diversity literacy (CDL) provokes us to interrogate dominant methodologies of knowledge production. Taken together, commitments to create and contribute to spaces for diverse and convivial thinking must mean challenging dichotomous, polarised and/or binary representations (e.g., men/women; North/South; rich/poor) and work towards conditions that enable all forms of life on this planet to lead a ‘good life’.

In practice, however, the theoretical ideals of conviviality and diversity are underfed with varied forms of social, cultural, political, racial, gender, economic and other forms of hierarchies turning them into a mere narrative at constant risk of co-optation. The phenomena of accommodativeness, friendliness, and support are dictated by specific frameworks of (neo)colonial power dynamics, which celebrate certain individuals, communities, ideologies, and societies at the cost of dehumanizing others. Such phenomena rarely address the power relations that mark some as disadvantaged and others as privileged. The logic of modernity underpins these divides, securitising borders, grabbing land, extracting natural resources and patronising the ‘other’ with tied aid, undertaken in the name of a monolithic ‘global development’ project.  The standardization of these policies, practices and forms of knowledge production has resulted in myopic view of what it means to BE. The very essence of being and knowing has been reduced to a certain way of living; hence an investigation into the alternatives is not only imperative but also essential to get out of the binaries and build possible futures that may be dormant, but may not yet be impossible. This call for papers is an initiative to unthink the well-thought, and rethink the unthought modes of existing, knowing, doing and communicating.

This series of short articles sets out to explore how the strategies and tools of conviviality and critical diversity literacy converge and diverge, how they might learn from each other, and how the resultant ‘polylogue’ might contribute to the discourse and practice of ‘decolonisation’. The articles will seek to identify what it means to be ‘in-between’ conviviality and CDL. What are the benefits and dangers of labelling schools of theorizing if we want to derive actions for social justice from it?

This radical article series is a collaborative project between the Convivial Thinking Collective (https://www.convivialthinking.org/) and Wits Centre for Critical Diversity Studies (https://www.wits.ac.za/wicds/). The central purpose of this project is to open up alternative, depolarized plural spaces of knowledge dissemination, publication and dialogue that lie outside formalized institutionalized spaces. In order to continue with the dialogues in the future, the editors will invite the selected contributors to convert the short articles into full-fledged journal articles (5000-8000 words) with the International Journal of Critical Diversity Studies (Published by Pluto Press: https://www.plutojournals.com/ijcds/.) Selected articles will also be considered to be a part of papers presented during the WiCDS annual conference in a work in progress plenary panel.

Language and pitching level

We encourage articles with academic or conversational language, including poetry and prose. Where possible, citations should be made through hyperlinks. We welcome submissions from contributors with any kind of institutional affiliation – or none at all.

For now, this call requires articles between 1500-2000 words that may address, though are not limited to, the following themes:

  • What are the requirements of a ‘good life’ for all? How might concepts of conviviality and critical diversity help imagine these?
  • Can conviviality and critical diversity be imagined as decolonial strategies?
  • How do conviviality and critical diversity contribute to diverse ways of knowing and imagining a world of many worlds? This might include addressing questions such as:
    1. How does Critical gender studies unpack the necessity of queerness as a usual and normalized way of habitual existence?
    2. How can conviviality and critical diversity be practiced through the culture of culinary epistemologies?
    3. How do Science and Technology Studies preserve and practice racism and the Global North-Global South hierarchy? What are the possibilities of overcoming them?
    4. What are the ways in which we can develop and practice pedagogy and curriculum with respect to the phenomena of conviviality, and critical diversity literacy?
    5. How do conviviality and critical diversity invite us to acknowledge and celebrate in-betweenness and the deconstruction of binaries in our daily life?

Timelines: 

Submission of short articles (1500-1800 words): 31st May 2022

Notification of review outcome: 30 July 2022

Publication timeline: The selected articles will be published sequentially from the first Sunday of August 2022 in the Rai section of www.convivialthinking.org.

For any query please do not hesitate to get in touch with Kudzaiishe Vanyoro (kudzaiishe.vanyoro@wits.ac.za) and Sayan Dey (sayan.dey@wits.ac.za)

Regarding the publication of selected articles with the International Journal of Critical Diversity Studies, the editors will get in touch with the authors in January 2023.

Contact Info: 

Editors: Wits Centre for Diversity Studies  and Convivial Thinking Editorial Collective