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Who’s Afraid of Colonization?

The rhetoric of decolonization, defunding, divestment, deconstruction, and decarbonization can take us only so far. If there is something missing from collective action today, it is concepts that place a greater emphasis on exploration, discovery, and the constructive potential of human agency.

NEW YORK – A couple of months ago, the Open Society Foundations hosted a roundtable discussion entitled “Who’s Afraid (and Should They Be) of Decolonization?” The panel centered on one of the most contested concepts in contemporary political and academic debates: decolonization. The event did not disappoint. Ultimately, all agreed that the notion of decolonization remains as relevant and as divisive as ever. But the panel left a bittersweet aftertaste, and a gnawing question: Are we ever going to be able to talk about colonization again?