Welcome to A Decolonial View

April 1st, 2021 by Alva Blomkvist

Welcome to this decolonial student-led blog! We who run the blog are the current class in the masters programme Colonial and Postcolonial Studies in Linneaus University, in Växjö, Sweden. The ten of us make out a small and diverse group of students, with different experiences of academia as well as of colonialism/decolonialism. This blog will hopefully become a valuable platform for us to exchange ideas and to get to use in practice what we learn theoretically in the classroom. To start things of, we have all answered a couple of questions about ourselves as an introduction.

 

Frantzeska Papadopoulou Skarp

Who am I: Frantzeska Papadopoulou Skarp, a Greek living in Sweden.

What discipline am I from: I come from the field of legal sciences in which I have been conducting research for the past twenty years.W

hy did I choose this programme: I chose this programme because I am very much interested in colonial and post-colonial legislation and I wanted to get acquainted with the theoretical and methodological framework.

What has been most interesting so far in this program? It has been really a great experience, lots of new things to learn, exciting discussions and challenging tasks.

 

Cheng-fen Wang

My name is Cheng-fen Wang. I am from Taiwan, a place of conflicts because of the postcolonial era. I have finished my studies in Taiwan in Journalism. To be honest, I am a bit shy even though I have been a journalist for a few years. Few years later, I realized myself and would like to continue to study. At the beginning, I’m interested in International Relations, however, the Postcolonial Faculty seems more interesting. Eventually, I chose Postcolonial Faculty as my profession. Insofar, I enjoy literature most, particularly in postcolonial literature. I have read numerous classical pieces no matter from the East or the West. Somehow, it is still not enough for the scope of literature is extensive. It is always good to stay hungry, stay foolish.

 

Fatemeh Shirazizadeh

My name is Fatemeh Shirazizadeh. I was born in 1981 in Iran.my studies were about comparative religion and mysticism; I graduated in master in 2008 from Azad University. My Master thesis is about Pluralism in the World Religion. It was the translation of a book with the same name written by Harold Coward into Farsi and a brief research about pluralism in religion.

I stated my job as a volunteer teacher in educational ministry in Iran and after some years worked as an English teacher for beginners in IranMehr English Institute. Although I loved my academic major, but there were never opportunity to work directly in that region. Therefore I decided to continue my education and take a chance in another country. I could get the Colonial and Postcolonial Studies in LNU in 2020 and this was my best chance in my whole life. At first it looks strange and hard for me to study in LNU since I didn’t have any foreign experience before but after a while I understood that how much I like it and it is good opportunity for me to work about subjects that I like.

 

Fahmid Islam

1) What is your name?

Answer: Fahmid Islam

2) Where are you from?

Answer: I am from Bangladesh, a South Asian country.

3) What is your academic background?

Answer: I have post-graduation in English literature.

4) Why did you choose this programme at LNU?

Answer: I would like to get thorough understanding of post coloniality and decolonization; I also want to find out the reasons of migration of South Asian people to Europe especially to Nordic countries.

5) What is something from these 1.5 semesters that has made an impact on you?

Answer: Various theories learned through these courses, particularly different migration theories have opened up vision about current scenarios regarding increasing maltreatment towards migrants around the world.

 

Ejner Pedersen Trenter

My name is Ejner Pedersen Trenter, and I am at the time of writing living in Malmö, which is also where I received my bachelor’s in international relations. My main focus was on issues of sovereignty and political myth, something which I have carried with me over to this masters’s programme. While IR is a field of study which has seen a high level of progression over the last years, there is s

till a need for a strong, decolonial dimension, something which unfortunately is rather under researched. The focus of this programme, which is on literature, social work and history, is a brilliant way to find new ways of analysing the political world, through a more intersectional lens.

 

Mehvish Tania

My name is Mehvish Tania.

I am from Pakistan.

I have done a master in English literature from Pakistan and an MBA in marketing from South Korea in marketing. I have teaching experience in Pakistan.

I chose this programme because I am very much interested in historical information and postcolonial literature and I have another master in English literature and during the master I chose a postcolonial subject that was very interesting. I chose the programme because I want to know more about postcolonial literature.

This 1.5 semester made a very deep impact on my life because I have learnt so much about literature totally with a new aspect. This span of time increased my knowledge and experience of study as well.

 

Katarzyna Kiryluk

My name is Katarzyna and the discipline of my biggest interest is education. However, I have chosen this programme as I believe that getting another perspective in looking at the contemporary world may help me in becoming a better teacher. Also, what I have realised after a while, the covered material and conversations are the most fascinating aspects of the programme. They do not only help in understanding colonialism and postcolonialism, but also help me in developing intercultural competences thanks to which I start to understand my country and culture better – which itself is fascinating.

 

Alva Blomkvist

My name is Alva Blomkvist. I have a bachelor’s degree in history from Umeå University, Sweden. I grew up in the north of Sweden, also known as Sápmi – indigenous Sámi land. While studying history in a northern university (that arguably should be oriented towards indigenous history) I was made very aware the lack of interest in the topic of Swedish colonialism in Sweden today, inside and outside of academia. I was drawn to this programme to fill the gaps my bachelor’s studies left in the topic of colonialism. My favorite thing about the programme so far is the way it challenges us of thinking not only about colonialism in history and today, but in the struggle of decolonialism now and in the future.

 

Lauren Solomon

My name is Lauren Solomon and I was born in Manila, Philippines and I moved to Sweden when I was still in my teens. I have a bachelor degree in Fine Arts with a major in Visual Communication, which is a programme oriented towards questions of social, environmental and political issues both on the local and global context. One of the projects that I worked on in my bachelor studies was about the issue of poverty in the neocolonial Philippines. While in the course of the project, I stumbled upon a question posed by Filipino activist Alejandro Lichauco. In paraphrasing Lichauco, he asks— why is there mass hunger in this land of plenty? how can such opulence exist alongside unnecessary (and vicious) deprivation? how then to set forth the process of (real) decolonization? These are the questions that I also aim to find explanations for and expand on further. In choosing Colonial and Postcolonial Studies many of the themes we discuss in this programme already poses these very notorious questions. My early encounters with Postcolonial studies was through my readings of Edward Said’s (1978) Orientalism and Frantz Fanon’s (1961) Wretched of the Earth. Wanting to delve more and better understand these issues had been some of the reasons that prompted me to apply to this master programme. As an individual growing up in a complicated intermixture of cultures, from (ex) colonial Philippines, then as a migrant and as a diasporic identity, I relate to both of Said’s and Fanon’s writing. I always felt that I am in the borderline of contrasting worlds and speaking impartially yet ineloquently in these hotchpotch of languages (Tagalog/Spanish/English/Swedish). Straddling the fence between these different worlds (tropic/ nordic/monsoon/winter), all seemingly incongruent, yet they are worlds I constantly navigate to as well as re-negotiate their many clashing meanings. Perhaps as Edward Said might also say —(we are) I am simultaneously —outside, inside and between these worlds. I do feel closely to all of the courses that I have encountered in this programme. Some of the elective courses that made an impact on me recently was on Modern Natures and Postcolonial Ecologies in which I explore topics regarding rivers, urbanization and the persistence of slums. Another recent and very interesting elective course I had was on Postcolonial Studies in Comparative Literature where we discussed on themes of postcolonial identities and hybridity as well as issues on climate change and how to extend understandings and concepts of nature beyond Anthropogenic claims. And Lastly, I would like to impart here a quote I often return to as I read Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth:

 

“Hence the dreams of the colonial subject are muscular dreams, dreams of action, dreams of aggressive vitality. I dream I am jumping, swimming, running, and climbing. I dream I burst out laughing, I am leaping across a river and chased by a pack of cars that never catches up with me.”.

 

 

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