“There can be no discourse of decolonization, no theory of decolonization,
without a decolonizing practice.” Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui
“The opposite of life is not death, the opposite of life is disenchantment.”
Luiz Antonio Simas and Luiz Rufino, Encantamentosobre política de vida
Spring 2021 was a strange, yet important time to study ‘decolonial’ theories and practices. The course syllabus read: “Emerging predominantly from Latin America, ‘decolonial’ studies call attention to the fact that coloniality is not only not over, not post, but that it permeates almost all aspects of our lives: subjectivity, race, gender, language, as well as our epistemologies and pedagogies.” Meeting on zoom every week in the midst of the pandemic, we discussed not just the theoretical issues raised above, but the environmental and political repercussions of colonialist and neoliberal policies that culminated in the current global shut-down. Isolated, each in our own living spaces in various parts of the world, confined to squares on zoom, we interrogated our relationship to land, language, bodies, scholarship, the digital, and each other. Participants met often, on zoom, to collaborate on the creation of the projects published here. Even in the face of Covid, which struck two of our members, a graduate student strike that led us to switch our digital platform mid-stream, and zoom fatigue, that affected us all—participants created this powerful testament to decolonial thinking, living, and responding in the time of Covid.
“This story,” as Fernando Banuelos puts it, “is written under a state of emergency and public calamity. This story is written under the sign of isolation, which is also always already the sign of the fugue and of longing for the exterior. It’s a story of confinement, or rather several confinements. Academic, identitarian, physical, social, epistemic, urban. Linguistic. It is, also, a story of escape.”