SSPSSR Department Seminar: CRT, decolonial thought, and coronavirus
3 October 2020
We are delighted to share details of the first SSPSSR seminar of the new academic year. Dr Ali Meghji (University of Cambridge) will be presenting on critical race theory and decolonial thought, drawing on both right-wing populism and the coronavirus pandemic as case studies. Inevitably, things are different this year so the talk will be conducted online:
Towards a theoretical synergy: interrogating critical race theory and decolonial thought
Ali Meghji, University of Cambridge
Thursday 8 October 2020 4-6pm – via Zoom
There is a burgeoning interest in the differences between the sociology of race and decolonial thought. This talk develops such discussions by focusing on decolonial thought and a seemingly incongruous paradigm within the sociology of race – critical race theory (CRT). While decolonial thought stresses the continuity of colonial power relations, is committed to transnational and temporally connected analysis, and tends to use historical methods, CRT is based around the premise that contemporary racism must be analysed outside of colonial legacies, tends to analyse nation states outside of their global interlinkages, and methodologically commits to a 'presentism' by focusing on the contemporary day. Nevertheless, despite these differences, in this talk I argue that CRT and decolonial thought can synergize to provide prescient analysis of contemporary crises. To display the efficacy of this synergy, I focus on two case studies: right-wing populism, and the coronavirus pandemic. In each of these cases, we see that neither CRT nor decolonial thought can analyse them sufficiently on their own, but that together they can address each other's blindspots. I therefore aim to synergize decolonial thought and CRT to open new avenues in the social sciences for globally oriented analysis that pays attention to national particularities.
Dr Ali Meghji is a lecturer in social inequalities in the department of sociology, University of Cambridge. His work balances the global, historical approach of decolonial thought with the more nationally-specific focus of critical race theory. He has a forthcoming book ‘Decolonizing sociology’ due for release in December in the UK.