Sandew Hira: Decolonizing The Mind

The book

For twelve years Sandew Hira has been working on a book titled Decolonizing The Mind – a guide to decolonial theory and practice.

In different parts of the world a new decolonial movement is growing that challenges long time narratives in knowledge production and social struggle and transforms activism and social movements. It is driven by key factors such as the fall of the west and the rise of the rest, the collapse of the socialist bloc and in general the crisis of Western civilization. This book develops a comprehensive, coherent and integral theoretical framework that draws on different contributions in the decolonial movement. It also deals with the practical implication of decolonial theory for decolonial activism.

Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan, Mexico, spoke of the sun that has gone down with the arrival of the European invader and an era of darkness his people now entered. This contrasts with the idea of an era of Enlightenment, which is fundamental to the European view of world history. He also predicted that a time will come when the sun will rise again, when the colonial world civilization is replaced by a new world civilization based on decolonizing the mind.

You can download the table of content of the book here and the Introductory chapter here.

The importance of the book

There are five things that makes this book special.

First, across the globe there is a rise of a movement inside and outside the academia that labels their narrative as “decolonial”. Academics and activists have made great contribution to decolonial theory and practice.

Hira’s book is an attempt to bring these contributions together in a comprehensive, coherent and integral theoretical framework. Western Enlightenment has produced two such frameworks: Liberalism and Marxism.

A comprehensive, coherent and integral theoretical framework has the following characteristics:

  1. It is comprehensive because it has produced concepts of how to look at the most important dimensions of a society: a world view, economics, social relations including relations with nature, politics and culture. There are other important aspects of a society, but these dimensions are essential to make a framework comprehensive.
  2. It is coherent because its concepts don’t contradict each other. They are consistent and logical.
  3. It is integral because the concepts of the different dimensions are not just lumped together but are related to each other from a basic concept. In Liberalism it is “individual freedom” and in Marxism “class struggle”. In decolonial theory it is mental slavery and decolonizing the mind.

Second, the book is a systematic guide to decolonize the mind. Decolonizing the mind consists of three dimensions:

  1. The critique of the Western colonization of the mind and thus Eurocentric knowledge production.
  2. The development of an alternative comprehensive, coherent and integral knowledge production.
  3. The translation of this new knowledge in viable policies to built a new pluriversal world civilization.

Third, the book appeals both to academics who can use the book as teaching material, but also to activists who are figuring out to build social movements that go beyond the dichotomy of Liberalism and Marxism.

Fourth, the book is part of a greater vision of how produce and transfer decolonial knowledge. It is not only about producing and distributing a book. It is also about linking theoretical concepts with art. An example is the musical documentary produced by artist Pravini: The Uprising.

And most importantly, the book is a basis discussing decolonial knowledge in summer schools, lectures, workshops etc.

Book data

ISBN: 978-90-74897-47-1

Format: 148×210 mm

Pages: 572

Price: € 35,00

About Sandew Hira

Sandew Hira, penname of Dew Baboeram, is secretary of the Decolonial International Network Foundation (DIN). Hira studied economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in Holland. He has written 25 books on different topics among them colonial history. Download his CV is here. Follow Sandew Hira via his website: www.sandewhira.com.