Rethinking the Global South
Mukoma Wa Ngugi
The goal is not to sublimate or ignore the West – far from it. Indeed the West – simply because of colonialism and globalization – is a huge part of the dialogue. The goal is to be in relation with the West as with everyone else. Following Glissant, we are simply saying that there are other ways of knowing and relating. And that these other ways of knowing and relating have always been there – that is to say, they are historical and at the same time ongoing, and to ignore them is to approach the world with one intellectual hand tied behind our backs.
The idea is not to look for what Glissant calls “ideological stability“ (32). To think about South-to-South relations is to enter a place of great intellectual vulnerability. Once we leave the relationship of, let’s say, Africa and Europe via colonialism, the world suddenly becomes very vast, complicated, and scary as the knowledge of how just little we know settles in. Yet, this place that is just outside our comfort zone is a beautiful place to be in – it’s a place of discovery of new ideas and seeing old ideas anew.
The goal of the Global South Cultural Dialogue Project, then, is to facilitate conversation among writers and scholars from Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia as well as minority groups in the West. Through such a dialogue, we can learn how our different societies have responded to each other, and to questions of language, identity, and the role of culture in the work of decolonization and a contested globalization. The hope is to encourage an honest discussion about the complex ties that bind the South to the South and to help imagine and create a more democratic and egalitarian global culture.
At the same time we want the ideas and discussions emanating from this project to be public, to be in public spaces and to be publicly debated, as opposed to remaining locked up in academic journals. Imagine a scenario where you are in a bus in India and the person sitting next to you is reading a newspaper column written by someone from Latin America. Or you are in a bar in Nairobi and you overhear a discussion about Afro-Latino literature, or language and identity in Latin America and how they relate to Africa.
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Essays in this Forum
Rethinking the Global South
by Mukoma Wa Ngugi
From Indian Literature to World Literature: A Conversation with Satya P. Mohanty
by Rashmi Dube Bhatnagar and Rajender Kaur
Asia in My Life
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
The Global South and Cultural Struggles: On the Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization
by Duncan Mceachern Yoon
The Fault Lines of Hindi and Urdu
by Sanjay Kumar
Reframing Colonialism and Modernity: An Endeavour through Sociology and Literature
by Gurminder K. Bhambra
Varieties of Cultural Chauvinism and the Relevance of Comparative Studies
by Tilottoma Misra
Literature to Combat Cultural Chauvinism: A Response
by Shivani Jha
Is There an Indian Way of Thinking about Comparative Literature?
by E. V. Ramakrishnan
Modernity and Public Sphere in Vernacular
by Purushottam Agrawal
West Indian Writers and Cultural Chauvinism
by Jerome Teelucksingh
Oral Knowledge in Berber Women’s Expressions of the Sacred
by Fatima Sadiki