Some theses on decolonizing history
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History, decolonizing history, abyssal line, kairocide, history of absences, history of emergences. Historia, descolonizar la historia, línea abisal, kairocidio, historia de las ausencias, historia de las emergencias. História; história da descolonização; linha abissal; kairocide; história das ausências.

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de Sousa Santos, B. (2022). Some theses on decolonizing history. Resistances. Journal of the Philosophy of History, 3(5), e21090.


This essay proposes a pathway to decolonize history. Accomplishing this task requires us to conceive of the past as a site of conflict between social forces and to reject the existence of a single history. Decolonization is an intellectual intervention that opposes those interpretations of history that reproduce modern, capitalist, colonial, and patriarchal domination. Such interpretations use the concept of “abyssal line” to socially and racially separate human beings, and the concept of “linear time” to sustain a unidirectional, accumulative, irreversible, and progressive temporality. Decolonizing history means denouncing the existence of this dominant from of conceiving of the past and affirming the construction of a post-abyssal and non-linear history that takes into account the agency of the oppressed in shaping social processes. The “history of absences” and the “history of emergencies” are tools for decolonizing history since they demonstrate that the past is not closed and show how the oppressed confront the forms of domination used by the oppressors to characterize the vanquished: “epistemicide, “kairocide”, and “timécide”.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Boaventura de Sousa Santos


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