Decolonial Subversions
Main Issue 2023

Editorial: Thinking Other-wise: Decoloniality and the Global Racial Order


This issue is a dialogue between different speakers, each with an engagement with colonial racial capitalism and its exercise of power. Instead of the working backwards of Eurocentric research and cultural consumption/production, with an assumption of a god-eye-view of that closes/forecloses thought,2 in this issue, there is an authentic generative journey of grappling with social, political, and economic forms of domination which operate on a global scale and manifest in local structuring of access. The project of Thinking Other-wise, that is both a process and a destination constantly reimagined, occurs through the generation of knowledge that challenges the racial order without being tethered to it, consumed and constituted by it. It is a process of cultivation that unmasks domination, and roots in embodied and communal knowledges. Unmasking requires unlearning the dependency on colonial knowledges and authority, and the capitalist structuring of the economic. It is a way of reclaiming authority over the narratives and histories so that there can be self-determination and imagination which resists the infiltration of coloniality and brings about futurity for people subjected to colonial and racial domination. This authority and self-determination are part and parcel of decolonial subjectivation that is relational, that cultivates collectivities not as a grouping of autonomous individuals, but as a collectivity of subjects all in a state of responsive relationality. Locating out of racial colonial capitalism, therefore, is a process of unlearning dependency and the reclamation of authority, subjectivation, and self-determination which cultivates decolonial sovereignty.

Disrupt the Discourse: An eLearning Course and Digital Toolkit to Aid the Development of an Anti-Racist Pedagogy


Kevin J. Brazant presents Disrupt the Discourse, a digital tool kit of resources and content inspired by Critical Race Theory, values of social justice and anti-racism practice.  This toolkit incorporates a web-based eLearning course builder that allows the development of online courses for any device. This toolkit has been purposefully designed and developed, cognisant of the challenges of digital poverty (i.e. lack of access to laptops and the adoption of mobile learning, such as using smartphones and smaller devices and navigating intermittent and unstable internet connections). It serves as a reference point and guide for educators seeking to facilitate courageous conversations relating to both staff and students who identify as Black Indigenous People of colour (BIPOC) and their lived experiences as they navigate colonial and white spaces both figuratively and physically. Users of the toolkit will gain an understanding of issues of racial discrimination, oppression and structural inequality whilst equally fostering white allyship and critical consciousness for self-actualised activism and praxis for racial and social justice. Using this toolkit, educational activists can find creative ways to collaborate with each other and students across schools of thought and subject disciplines, and by sharing their practice for the evolution of racially conscious learning and teaching.   The Disrupt the Discourse Toolkit fosters agency, promotes resilience and builds capacity for anyone to become an agent for racial justice. Through the process of co-creation and collaboration, the toolkit combines contributions from academic research and teaching innovation in a bid to mobilise a community of disruptors, using digital technology to create accessible content that informs and facilitates critical dialogue.

The Circus Princess: De-Orientalisa


Layachi El Habbouch’s poem, The Circus Princess, is a counterhistory, a poetic telling of the story of colonization of the Middle East and North Africa in the form of a tale at the center of which is the girl representing both the loss of innocence and ecology, land, gender. The poem invites us into the violence of colonization at the visceral level, repeating the act of devouring, “nahsh” in the original Arabic poem. In doing so, it does what Nabil Matar describes in his work, which is to detail how colonization functions not only in relation to invasion of lands and extractivism, or direct violence and the domination of nature, but also through epistemic violence and the civilizing mission. The poem describes the cartographies of colonial violence and their embodied, psychological, and social dimensions.  Nahsh means the tearing of the flesh, an act of taking apart in many directions and making into pieces, something done to bodies, human and animal. The reader automatically recognizes the colonial violences of state formation in the Middle East and North Africa, actualized by empire to conquer through division. The violence of the tearing apart of land, asserts the poet, is also a gendered violence. As the girl finds her identity in pieces, she is displaced and dispossessed from herself, to become an Other to her language, her family and community, and even in relation to her own history.  However, in her displacement, the girl claims agency to traverse the world and jump barriers, liberating herself by locating the freedom to exist rooted in her lineages and religious and communal affiliations beyond victimhood. Revisiting the colonial past for decolonial poets, such as El Habbouch, often involves reconceiving of a futurity beyond the erasure that is colonization. It includes prophesizing the future to envision decolonial possibility and liberation as actualized by future generations.

العياشي الحبوش


! طفلة نهشتها الضباع
! وأصرت على استطلاع كل البقاع
طفلة ودعت أهلها، وأغنامها ومعزها وجيرانها
ورافقت عمها

“Trying to Find a Place to Call Home” in the Maelstrom: An Interview with Artist Jenny Lee


Artist Jenny Lee discusses her painting Maelstrom in this interview. She reflects on the symbolic forms of communicating meaning that are rooted in her connection to her family’s experiences. She discusses how art can act not only as a vehicle for engaging with the colonial, for telling a story about it, but that it can move the viewer to feel and act. The interview points to the complexity of emotions that constitute a political engagement with artistic expression, those that blend melancholy and hope.

Unleashing Abolitionist Logic on International Aid


The abolitionist thinking, proliferated particularly by U.S. Black feminist radicals in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in 2020, exposed police reformism as liberal subterfuge facilitating the expansion of the carceral state. This article utilizes the relationship between police reform and abolition as a prism through which to look at international development aid. If international aid is thought of as a reform effort serving the interests of colonialism, what is the abolitionist approach to international development? This commentary suggests that abolitionist logic grounded in the US-based movement for Black lives can expose international aid reform as a neoliberal tool and simultaneously unmask the potential for a radical vision of development based in a commitment to liberation rather than white/western/northern supremacy.

Keywords: abolition, police reform, international development, international aid, colonialism, decolonization, mutual aid, redistribution, reparations.

The Creation of the Subaltern Subject in Luigi Pirandello’s “Madam Mimma”


The short story “Madam Mimma” by Luigi Pirandello deals with the disastrous aftermath of a poorly achieved Italian national unification (1861). The Italian Parliament’s decrees outlawed century-old practices, like that of delivering children by midwives, utterly ruining Mimma’s life. In her attempt to become the subject that the piemontizzazione she is forced to live in the mimicry condition of the colonized. As a colonized subject, Mimma is expected to acquire a new identity like that of Piemontesa, the obstetrician who came from Piedmont to usurp her job. However, Mimma can never achieve “sameness” with Piemontesa; thus, she loses her job and alcohol becomes her only consolation. This article will read the work “against the grain” through a postcolonial lens, denouncing the creation of Italy’s nation-state through Sicily’s piemontizzazione.

Keywords:colonization, mimicry, biopolitics, piemontizzazione, gioco delle maschere

“Donna Mimma” di Luigi Pirandello come segno di resistenza alla creazione di un soggetto subalterno


Il racconto "Donna Mimma" di Luigi Pirandello si focalizza sulle disastrose conseguenze di un'unificazione nazionale italiana mal riuscita (1861). Ad unità avvenuta, il Parlamento italiano bandisce pratiche secolari come quella della levatrice rovinando completamente la vita di donna Mimma. Nel suo tentativo di diventare il soggetto che la piemontizzazione le richiede di essere, è costretta a vivere nella condizione di mimetismo. Da soggetto colonizzato, Mimma dovrebbe acquisire una nuova identità come quella della Piemontesa, l'ostetrica venuta dal Piemonte per usurpare il suo posto di lavoro. Tuttavia, donna Mimma, come suggetto colonizzato, non potrà mai raggiungere la “somiglianza” con la Piemontesa, come conseguenza perderàì il suo impiego e l'alcol diventerà la sua unica consolazione.

Keywords:colonizzazione, mimetismo, biopolitica, piemontizzazione, gioco delle maschere

The Art of De-Idealizing Victorian Female Servitude in Wide Sagrasso Sea and Jane Eyre


This article will examine Wide Sargasso Sea as a revisionist prequel to Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Using the first revisionary ratio of Harold Bloom, Clinamen, the article argues that Rhys depicts a proactive female servitude through the figure of Christophine who, unlike Jane and the other female servants in Brontë’s text, challenges the patriarchal rule of the unnamed Rochester instead of blindly abiding by it and resists being othered or essentialized by him. This, in a way, liberates the narrative from the filial bond with Brontë’s text, providing an original plot that stands on its own. The article will also suggest that despite her so-called limited agency, as suggested by many critics, Christophine masters navigating through the interesting constraints of color, gender, and class.

Keywords:Female Servitude, Subaltern, Clinamen, Colonial Patriarchy, Intersectionality