Putting ourselves in the present and placing this present inside the politics of temporality (taking up the idea of Mario Rufer) cannot be conceived outside the coloniality of power theory, formulated by Peruvian intellectual Aníbal Quijano (1928–2018). This contribution transcends the cultural sphere, laying the far-reaching foundations of a political position which questions the colonial epistemology of modernity amidst the consolidation of neoliberalism in Latin America. Quijano’s thought, with the quality of a tremor which stirs and alters well-trodden ground, is indispensable for understanding the movement which today convulses Eurocentric historicisation. Moreover, it shows us that in a present rocked by the wreckage – and not speaking metaphorically; this is a literal condition that consumes thousands of lives — sole pathways do not exist.
Rather than fencing the debate inside a repertoire of theoretical questions, the Aníbal Quijano Chair seeks to open a path of collective reflection-action, incorporating it into the many viewpoints that today find colonial modernity stripped of its original promises. It shares, studies and debates concerns, approaches and proposals, initiating the legacy of seismic thought that is part of the long process of the decoloniality of power expounded by Aníbal Quijano as the core historical conflict of our times.
Picking up the breaking point that the Peruvian socialist’s thinking signified and illuminating his ability to shed light on the immediacies of our times, the presentation of the Aníbal Quijano Chair opens with an inaugural lecture by his friend, the Argentine anthropologist and feminist Rita Segato, before moving on to a round-table discussion conducted by Peruvian activist Elisa Fuenzalida, with the participation of Argentine historian Mario Rufer, Moroccan anthropologist and historian Salma Amazian and attorney and activist Dánae García.
Elisa Fuenzalida is a researcher in critical methodologies applied to gender, race and territorialisation in the Situated Feminisms group (Museo Reina Sofía Study Centre). She is currently studying an MA in Social Anthropology at the Complutense University of Madrid.
Dánae García Lopez is an attorney and an anti-racist and decolonial activist, dedicating and critically aligning her practice with legislation and pre-conceived legal concepts. She chiefly works in Foreigner Internment Centres (CIEs) and in related environments with non-white migrants inside a framework to dismantle institutional racism.
Mario Rufer is a professor and researcher in the Department of Education and Communication from the Division of Social Sciences and Humanities at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Unidad Xochimilco. He has served as visiting lecturer at UCLA, Los Angeles; Bielefeld Universität, Germany; and the University of Córdoba and the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, among others. His lines of research are centred around cultural studies and postcolonial criticism, subaltern studies and the epistemological problems surrounding heritage, archive and public memory.
Rita Segato is a professor of Anthropology and Bioethics in the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics at the University of Brasilia. She was an expert witness in the trials of the Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala, where, for the first time, sexual violence and domestic and sexual slavery were condemned as strategic objectives of war employed by the State. Her main fields of interest focus on new forms of violence against women and the contemporary consequences of the coloniality of power. Most notably, her works include: Las estructuras elementales de la violencia (Buenos Aires, 2013), La Nación y sus Otros (Buenos Aires, 2007) and La Crítica de la Colonialidad en Ocho Ensayos y una antropología por demanda (2015).
The Legacy of Aníbal Quijano and his Impact on Social Thought
Lecture by Rita Segato
With the presentation of the Chair by Ana Longoni
This lecture will explore the relevance of the great Peruvian thinker and his impact on the understanding of society and world history. His contribution introduces the so-called ‘decolonial shift’; this ‘shift’, through its similarity to the Copernican shift, constitutes a radical swerve that repositions and inverts the relationship between centre and periphery and the usual structuring we use to think about the system of the world.
Round-table discussion with Salma Amazian, Dánae García and Mario Rufer
Moderated by Elisa Fuenzalida