CFP: Symposium at ICHST 2021: Spectrums of Coloniality

July 25-31, 2021, Prague, Czech Republic

“Decolonization, which sets out to change the order of the world, is, obviously, a program of complete disorder. But it cannot come as a result of magical practices, nor of a natural shock, nor of a friendly understanding. Decolonization, as we know, is a historical process: that is to say it cannot be understood, it cannot become intelligible nor clear to itself except in the exact measure that we can discern the movements which give it historical form and content.”

-Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 1963, p. 36


Spectrums of Coloniality:

Decolonizing Knowledge, Reconfiguring Practices, Recasting the history of the Sciences.


By Patrícia Martins Marcos & Sarah A Qidwai


Over the past decades, calls to decolonize academia have risen both in frequency and tenor. Such appeals strike at the heart of every domain of scholarly pursuit. From the university and museums, to teaching curricula, methodologies, knowledge production, epistemologies, and disciplinary formations, the reach of decolonial critiques is both wide-reaching and multifaceted. While the call has resulted in numerous responses, they are largely disconnected across the board. This symposium aims to organize a series of panels in which both the theory and praxis of decolonization are taken up in the context of the history of medicine and of the sciences. Doing so, entails engaging in discussions bound by a common decolonial commitment, rather than by the structuring schemas imposed by disciplinary, thematic, chronological, and geographic fields of specialization. Because the decolonization of the sciences requires a denaturalizing of the present, this call for papers is extended to scholars working on both colonial and postcolonial sites, modern and early modern, medieval, classical and non-Western knowledge-making practices and categories. Beyond these confines, we also invite papers that confront, historicize, and challenge the tacit ubiquity of white, male, patriarchal, ableist, and heteronormative “normality” that was central to the colonial project. The variety of domains – both quotidian and institutional – onto which the colonial was inscribed, the Spectrums of Coloniality, demands that we engage with a broad range of moments and geographies as well as a vast scope of themes. Ultimately, the aim of the symposium is to turn decolonization into more than a metaphor (Tuck and Yang, 2012) by facilitating conversations that cut across institutionally imposed boundaries.


We are planning to organize a symposium for ICHST 2021 in Prague from July 25-31 2021. Following the symposium, the goal will be to submit a proposal for Osiris.

Call for papers

We encourage proposals on a wide range of topics that engage in a multitude of geographies, knowledge, methodological approaches, and disciplinary backgrounds. Topics include (but are not limited to):

–       Indigenous knowledges and sciences

–       Early modern knowledge categories and sciences

–       The political stakes of studying the past

–       Logocentric knowledge systems and archival fictions

–       The contingency of knowledge categories and disciplinary formations

–       Material culture, visuality, and museum practices

–       Global history methods and practices

–       Science beyond Western contexts

–       Geographies of knowledge production, travels, circulation, syncretism, and interaction of different epistemic systems.

–       Contending with the legacy of imperial ideologies and colonial violence.

–       Teaching curricula for the history of medicine and of the sciences

–       Questioning the centrality of national historiographies

–       The role of translations and translators in the history of science


Please submit abstracts to via email here by no later than February 28, 2020. Please let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Deadline: February 28, 2020

Posted: February 12, 2020