July 31, 2023 | Category: Worlds of Lithium Lectures September 2023

Not Knowing: A Possibility Towards Decolonial Thinking. By professor Marisol de la Cadena

How could we imagine, think, feel and practice decoloniality in the 21st century, an era deeply marked by ecological crisis, wars, social outbursts and the exhaustion of our conceptual tools to understand the world?

And how would it be possible to undo our habitual ways of knowing in a way that wonder, and new openings, are continuously possible in the presence of those others we are with?

Anthropology is an interesting case to experiment and think with these questions, as it is the paradigmatic heir of colonial history, scientific racism and capitalist extractivism. In this Worlds of Lithium lecture, Marisol de La Cadena will explore not knowing as epistemic stance and practice towards the possibility of decolonial analysis.

Anthropology, being a quintessential heir of colonial thought and practice, is a discipline that continuously struggles to undo modes of thought deeply rooted in grammars that separate objects from subjects, human from non-humans, self and other, all grammars that have been the conditions of possibility to silence a pluriverse of voices through various forms of violence, exclusions and erasures. Tonight, Marisol de la Cadena will explore not knowing as epistemic stance and practice towards the possibility of decolonial analysis. This not knowing does not imply “not knowing yet.” It does not embrace the modernist ethos of a better, enlightened future, prone to be, indeed, known. Rather than resulting from research as a final and closed outcome, “not knowing” guides it along an open-ended process.

In her talk, De la Cadena will explore “not knowing” as an analytic method and an epistemic stance that performs intertwined tasks: it prevents researchers from merely producing “theoretical” knowledge emerging in the absence of those who inspired its sense of inquiry and curiosity. Besides this, “not knowing” takes our ways of thinking to the limit of its possibilities. Indeed, the reason of the talk is to think how “not knowing” may emerge as a possibility towards decolonial thinking—a phrase in which the processual gerund ‘thinking’ wants to indicate an endless task which does not stop with denunciation, theoretical critique, or renewed moral categorizations. Marisol de la Cadena will propose not knowing as a tool to inhabit learning as an unfinished domain, where decoloniality appears as an ongoing adventure rather as an state awaiting to be achieved.

This talk has been co-organized with SPUI25, and registration is needed. Online option is also possible at the time of registration in the following link: