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[Image: two people with beards, one in a turban, one in a hat, holding what look like geometric tools] source: wikipedia

Decolonising Science Reading List

It’s The End of Science As You Know It

October 2016 Introduction

In April, 2015, one of the most visible topics of discussion in the Astronomy community was the planned Thirty Meter Telescope and protests against it from Native Hawaiians who didn’t want it built on Mauna Kea. I wrote a lot about this on social media, spending some significant time trying to contextualize the debate. This reading list was originally created in response to requests for where I was getting some of the information from. A lot of people asked me about what I’d been reading as reference points for my commentary on the relationship between colonialism and what we usually call “modern science.”

Original April 2015 Commentary

There are two different angles at play in the discussion about colonialism and science. First is what constitutes scientific epistemology and what its origins are. As a physicist, I was taught that physics began with the Greeks and later Europeans inherited their ideas and expanded on them. In this narrative, people of African descent and others are now relative newcomers to science, and questions of inclusion and diversity in science are related back to “bringing science to underrepresented minority and people of color communities.” The problem with this narrative is that it isn’t true. For example, many of those “Greeks” were actually Egyptians and Mesopotamians under Greek rule. So, even though for the last 500 years or so science has largely been developed by Europeans, the roots of its methodology and epistemology are not European. Science, as scientists understand it, is not fundamentally European in origin. This complicates both racist narratives about people of color and innovation as well as discourse around whether science is fundamentally wedded to Euro-American operating principles of colonialism, imperialism and domination for the purpose of resource extraction.

The List

We Live In the Future. Come Join Us. by Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Written by

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein: fighting scientists with science http://www.linkedin.com/in/chandaprescodweinstein / http://cprescodweinstein.com

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Written by

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein: fighting scientists with science http://www.linkedin.com/in/chandaprescodweinstein / http://cprescodweinstein.com

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