Ramkumar Shankar
13th August 2020

Decolonising Design: a reading list

Start here

Yesterday, Ahmed Ansari wrote an absolutely vital thread about white supremacy and colonialism in design:

White supremacy & epistemic colonialism in design discourse, scholarship, & practice: a basic primer (thread)

The posts are mandatory reading for anyone working in technology and design of any kind. I've been especially interested in this topic over the last few years, and this was a much needed refresher. It's always a good reminder to resist notions of universality or that knowledge centres are unevenly distributed and that, as a result, innovation flows from centres (typically colonial hubs and western research laboratories) to nodes in the "developing" world.

As Ansari elaborates in that thread, it falls to us all to do our homework and continuously educate ourselves. So, I was thrilled to find out about his course "Modernity + Coloniality" — a online seminar studying "the modern/colonial world system". Unfortunately, the class time is tricky if you are based in this part of the world as I am. Which is a shame because the reading list each week looks incredible and I can't wait to get into these texts. You should check them out too.