How to Practice Decolonization?

This is Morgana's contribution to Moments of Pause. Send us your reflections via resolve@usask.ca!

I will soon finish my first year as a graduate student in Canada. So much has happened since I moved here from Brazil in the summer of 2019! Becoming a Teaching Assistant, for instance, provided the opportunity to work closely with the most wonderful humans at the Women’s and Gender Studies department of the University of Saskatchewan. One of them is Karen, who introduced me to RESOLVE and to the cooperation network that comes with it.

In early January, Karen asked me if I would be interested in developing this very website. My first thought was: I know absolutely nothing about programming! I learned soon enough I would not have to build the website from scratch. Phew! Instead, Karen posed another challenge: to practice decolonization while conceiving the outline and content for it.

As a researcher, I am interested in understanding Indigenous movements and feminisms in Latin America. Being a white Brazilian woman studying abroad, it is part of my job to approach my thesis with decolonial lenses. Yet, Karen’s request surprised me! How could I practice decolonization on building a website? I had never really considered websites before. However, I realized that as any academic production – in the form of papers, thesis, or lectures – a website is also a language developed by means of colonial institutions.

A website is also a public space, such as most social media, that follows certain hierarchies of knowledge and power dynamics. That is, some ideas and expressions are more often highlighted than others - under predetermined structures and fixed languages - like a website’s home page. For this reason, Karen suggested these Moments of Pause, where everyone is invited to contribute with small reflection pieces on their experiences with RESOLVE Saskatchewan and research concerning violence. We also decided to have an open invitation to collaborate via the Community Voice section, where there is flexibility on format and content according to each individual and/or organization suggestions, while also making the Resources along with News and Events segments available for contribution. I am looking forward to interacting with the community, learn with different perspectives and make the RESOLVE Saskatchewan website ours!

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