Transdisciplinary Approaches: Critical Political Thinking and Power from Our Afro-Abya-Yala America, the Global South, and the World

September 18, 2024 - September 20, 2024
Iberian and Latin American Department/ Philosophy Department, University of Guadalajara

Building E, second floor
Parres Arias #150
Zapopan 45132

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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  • The Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (CALAS)


University of Guadalajara

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The social sciences and humanities practiced in Latin America and the Caribbean have been molded by Anglo/Eurocentric conceptions and thoughts. But both regions have pushed diverse epistemological ruptures against such “centrisms” where an interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary dialogue propelled the scale of the ruptures. The mentioned epistemological turn is nourished by a Western thought in which the dialogue between social sciences and humanities brings originality to our regional thought. This thought has various sources: the idea of “Far West” (A. Rouquié), the transdisciplinary stance of Modern World-System (I. Wallerstein) or the transdisciplinary dialogues that criticizes the coloniality of power (A. Quijano). Inside the criticism of Modernity/Coloniality of power are references of a universal meaning that propose the unity of diversity (S. Rivera), that seek civilizational purpose centered on: liberation politics (E. Dussel); critical political economy of Dependency Theory (V, Bambirra); and/or internal colonialism criticism (González Casanova).

The critical thinking about politics and about “the political” that was created in, from, and for, our region is anticapitalistic (R. Marini), antiracist, and antipatriarchal (R. Segato); and criticizes the death drives of our environmental crisis (E. Gudynas; E. Leff), the dispossession war (R. Zibechi), and the intra and interstate violences and wars (J. Tavares). In the face of these problems, the critical thinking is radical pacifist, peacebuilder, and rationalizes conflict management (A. Pérez Esquivel), and is ecosocialist (M. Svampa and others) and ecofeminist (V. Shiva). Such political criticism of power takes distance from Statecentric approaches (B. de Sousa) or unidimensional thoughts. It seeks alternatives (González Casanova) and reflects about personal experiences as the “Buen Vivir” (P. Davalos), the “Vivir Sabroso” (Francia Márquez) and the propositions of a Society of “Cuidados” (K. Batthyány) to build policies against social inequity. The debates about political economy, culture, and environment, are internationalized through the relationship between State and society. Nevertheless, the conflicts and tensions among the political stances are accentuated by the international organizations of the far right, the progressivism and an “international” of the Rebellion.

Through history, Latin American and Caribbean ideas of regional integration have created a political community of belonging. Thinking beyond nation as a political and/or statal community (B. Anderson) allowed Simón Bolívar and the independentists to synthesize an imaginary of community-fate which was reinforced by Martí´s idea of Our America, an idea that was respectively based on the intercultural richness and liberty politics. These two regional qualities, in turn, reinforce the unity and the community aspirations of autonomy in Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, the contribution of our African roots to the regional imaginary (M. Viveros and Améfrica Ladina) is combined with the contemporary heritage and vitality of the indigenous people whose personal and collective intellectual elaborations are projected into communitarian autonomies of Abya Yala (A. Escobar). Ergo, it emerges a “senti-thinker” or “senti-thinking” reality (O. Fals-Borda) enunciated as Our America Afro-Abya Yala. All this translates in a complete input to the construction of the Global South from the unity of the diverse, from the particularist universalisms (as Fals-Borda would say: the much-Colombian-Macondian universalism), and from a “below” politics (J. Alonso).

The reflection about interculturality implies a critic against Western Modernity through the concept of Transmodernity (E. Dussel), which disputes the global power regulation and supports the right to be-different in all the statal and non-statal degrees where power is exercised: local, nationally subregional, national, supranational, international and global/World. Therefore, the critics against 19th century liberal democracy and its elitist, minimalist and proceduralist inheritances, have found a rich land in our region both in interstate and intergovernmental dimensions supported from inside (and eventually against) the State. This is the case of the CELAC, the progressive Latin American governments, or the social movements of groups advancing into participative and communitarian experiences developed through self-government (Caracoles zapatistas). All the sociopolitical spectrum and geopolitics articulate from local to global, as happen with alter-globalizations, the World Social Forum, the International People´s Assembly, or a prefiguration of an “International” of the Rebellion.

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