ENGAGING NARRATIVE EPISTEMIC BLACKNESS
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        Ever since I decided to focus on knowledges and experiences of peoples of African descent to make sense of the world (i.e. a non-exhaustive understanding of epistemic Blackness), I keep on thinking about how much time we could have saved. In our sense-making. In our sense-making-for-change at the service of the will-to-life (Dussel, 2008).

“You already know enough”, writes Lindqvist in Exterminate All the Brutes ([1992] 2007, p.2). “So do I. It is not knowledge we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and to draw conclusions.”

In my contribution I seek to both complicate and walk with this provocation-invitation. Complicate by acknowledging that we are engaging in sense-making on the ruins of epistemicide, of Black epistemes in particular; walk-with, by acknowledging that the knowledges are nevertheless there, both very present and hidden in plain sight. I offer curated narratives, building on my father’s life stories as a Rwandan-in/after-exile as well as autobiographical examples of my everyday: traveling/researching/teaching/reporting-while-Black. I aim to engage what Ndlovu-Gatsheni and wa Thiong’o have conceptualised the colonial and decolonisation to be: dis-memberment and re-mebering respectively and think through the implications for knowledge-making at the service of the will-to-life from ‘disembodied African’ loci of enunciation.




Olivia Umurerwa Rutazibwa (1979) Is a Belgian/Rwandan International Relations scholar of epistemic Blackness and anticolonial solidarity. She is senior Lecturer in International (Development) Studies at the University of Portsmouth (UK) and Senior Research Fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (SA). In September 2021 she joins the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science (UK) as Assistant Professor in Human Rights and Politics. She is the former Africa desk editor and journalist at the Brussels based magazine MO*.
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