Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

Student contribution: "The Zine of Global Knowledges"


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The Zine of Global Knowledges (ZoGK) constitutes a collaborative project of students participating in the tutorial "Decolonizing theory in practice" at the IAAW, which took place in the summer semester of 2021. The main aim of the course was to bring students from diverse backgrounds, institutional affiliations, and educational levels together to discuss the deeply entrenched hierarchies and legacy of colonialism in knowledge production, research (re-) sources and academia. The central question touched upon the critical reflection of how North-South research dynamics are constructed and which practices could create a more equal research environment in a globalized as nowadays. By citing the entire passage by Linda Tuhiwai Smith, the great importance and liabilities of a genuine decolonial approach become apparent:

'Decolonization is a process which engages with imperialism and colonialism at multiple levels. For researchers, one of those levels is concerned with having a more critical understanding of the underlying assumptions, motivations and values which inform research practices.' (Smith 2012: 20)

Drawing inspiration from a wide range of powerful social thought from the colonized and postcolonial world with concepts such as the "pluriversity" by Achille Mbembe (2015: 19), the course tried to contribute to the "decolonial turn" (Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2020:17)
Additionally, an integral part of the thinktank, we aimed to create were the guest lectures by Dr Ushehwedu Kufakurinani (University of Zimbabwe/ right now a research fellow at the University of Warwick) on "Epistemicide and epistuicides", as well as a Dr Stephen Temitope David (Stellebosch University, also a research fellow at the IAAW in 2019) on "the Sensate Body in Decolonial Thinking".
As the course took place entirely in the digital spheres, we chose a digital format to present the outcomings of our course. The publishing format of a Zine with its DIY aesthetics (see for a history of Zines see Duncombe 1997), which is going through a revival with the development of new digital tools, represented an appealing way to achieve three objectives:

create reliable research output with the integration of artistic aesthetics
challenge the boundaries of academic publishing norms but conduct reliable research according to research standards
publication experience for students at an early stage of their career

The organic and flexible structure of the course enabled all students to pursue their own mini-projects according to their research interests, utilizing interdisciplinary methodologies and taking into consideration multicentric perspectives. Therefore, the Zine covers issues regarding the legacy of colonialism in fashion, education & academia, language practices, climate change, and the internet.



Duncombe, Stephen. Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture. Microcosm Publishing, 1997, 2008, 2017.

Mbembe, A. 2015. Decolonizing knowledge and the question of the archive. Lecture delivered at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research.

Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. (2020). Decolonization, development and knowledge in Africa. Routledge.

Smith, L. T. 2012. Decolonizing methodologies: research and indigenous peoples / 2nd edition. London: Zed Books.