This webinar explores ways in which decolonial theory has gained traction and influenced knowledge production, praxis and epistemic justice in various contemporary iterations of community psychology across the globe. It critically interrogates the biases in Western modernist thought in relation to community psychology, and illuminates current epistemic alternatives that contribute to the possibilities of emancipatory futures within community psychology. To this end, the webinar includes reflective examples of contributions from within and outside of community psychology theory and praxis across the globe – most notably from Australia, India, South Africa and the Caribbean – that speak to standpoint approaches in which the experiences of the majority of the global population are more accurately reflected. It addresses some key issues such as the ongoing racialisation of the globe, gender, class, culture, violence, transnationalism/globalisation, as well as a striking challenge to psychology itself! We invite all scholars, researchers, practitioners, activists and advanced postgraduate students who are currently working within community psychology and cognate disciplines, such as development studies, political science, and community development within the broader social sciences, arts, and humanities, to join us for this event.
Meet our Presenters
Prof Garth Stevens
Garth Stevens is a Professor and Clinical Psychologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. His research interests include foci on race, racism and related social asymmetries; critical violence studies; and historical/collective trauma and memory. He has published widely in these areas, both nationally and internationally, including co-editorships of A ‘race’ against time: Psychology and challenges to deracialisation in South Africa (UNISA Press, 2006); Race, memory and the apartheid archive: Towards a transformative psychosocial praxis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); and Decoloniality and epistemic justice in contemporary community psychology (Springer, 2021). He was the co-lead researcher on the Apartheid Archive Project, which was an international research initiative that aimed to examine the nature of the experiences of racism of South Africans under the old apartheid order and their continuing effects on individual and group functioning in contemporary South Africa. He is also the co-lead researcher on the Violent States, States of Violence Project, which aims to re-engage a theorisation of violence in the contemporary world. At present, he is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), serves as the Dean in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand, and is President of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA).
Prof Christopher Sonn
Christopher C. Sonn, PhD, is Professor at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, where he lives and works on the land of the Wurundjeri of the Kulin nation. He is a fellow of the Institute of Health and Sport and Deputy Director Research and Research Training. His research is concerned with understanding and changing dynamics of oppression, examining structural violence such as racism, and its effects on social identities, intergroup relations and belonging. A core focus of this project is the co-creation of settings and approaches within and outside the university that can support resistance, healing, and liberation oriented actions. He holds a Visiting Professorship at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Christopher is co-editor of Creating Inclusive Knowledges and Liberation Psychology, co-author of Social Psychology and Everyday Life, and Associate Editor of the American Journal of Community Psychology and Community Psychology in Global Perspective.
Prof Urmitapa Dutta
Urmitapa Dutta is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her activist research program uses decolonial and transnational feminist scholarship to understand and disrupt everyday violence, i.e., forms of direct, structural, and symbolic violence that are normalized and become endemic to the social fabric. She uses critical qualitative methodologies to denaturalize oppressive conditions and to articulate experiences that are silenced by officially sanctioned narratives. Across this work, she seeks to (co)create communities of resistance and healing across the spaces she occupies and/or transgresses. Urmi is currently working alongside persecuted Miya people in Northeast India to build the Miya Community Research Collective (www.MiyaCommunityResearchCollective.org). Mutually constitutive of research, resistance, and capacity-building, this collective focuses on counterstorytelling against knowledges and practices that dehumanize Miya people. They advance epistemic justice by situating Miya people as knowers and knowledge producers, building an assemblage that honors Miya peoples’ stories, and bringing those into the public arena to be acknowledged and witnessed. Centering radical relationality and communal knowing, the collective seeks to create/reclaim cultural, knowledge, and political spaces that center Miya peoples’ struggles and resistance. Another area of Urmi’s work focuses on decolonial pedagogies and practices as rebellion against neoliberal institutions vested in maintaining coloniality and whiteness. Urmi also works in solidarity with communities/groups transnationally to uplift knowledges generated by frontliners in decolonial and anti-racist struggles.
Prof Alison Baker
Alison Baker, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Youth and Community Studies in the College of Arts and Education at Victoria University in Melbourne. Her research focuses on the implications of structures that produce inequality in the lives of various disenfranchised groups as well as those in positions of privilege. Her research also focuses on young people’s experiences of racialization and other forms of oppression, particularly their subjectivities, identity and belonging across contexts. Alison’s research draws on theory in critical community and liberation psychologies, in addition to feminist and critical race scholarship. Her research mobilises creative and participatory research methodologies, specifically visual and sound storytelling modalitie
Prof Puleng Segalo
Puleng Segalo is a Professor of Social and Community Psychology currently holding the position of the Chief Albert Luthuli Research Chair at the University of South Africa. She holds Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Psychology from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She also holds a Doctoral Certificate in Women Studies from the same university. Her areas of specialization include community psychology, social psychology, and gender and feminism in psychology. Her research and publications cover a wide range, including gendered experiences of women in various aspects of life, historical trauma, critical participatory research practices and knowledge production, and decolonization. She is a National Research Foundation (NRF)-rated researcher, a member of the South African Young Academy of Sciences, and current president of the Forum of African Psychology.
Prof Nelson Maldonado-Torres
Nelson Maldonado-Torres is Professor in the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies, Chair of the Comparative Literature Program, faculty affiliate in the Graduate Program in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Director of the Advanced Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. He is also Professor Extraordinarious in the Institute for Social and Health Sciences at the University of South Africa, Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, and Co-chair of the Frantz Fanon Foundation with its founder, Mireille Fanon Mendès France. Nelson Maldonado-Torres is President Emeritus of the Caribbean Philosophical Association (2008-2013), Maldonado-Torres specializes in transdisciplinary decolonial thought, race theory, and in the work of the Caribbean and African philosopher and psychiatrist Frantz Fanon. He has been Director of the Center for Latino Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley (2009 – 2010), and Chair of the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers (2012 – 2015). He is an honorary member of the Fausto Reinaga Foundation in La Paz, Bolivia. His publications include Against War: Views from the Underside of Modernity (Duke UP, 2008), and the collection of essays La descolonización y el giro decolonial, compiled by the Universidad de la Tierra (Chiapas, Mexico) in 2011. He has guest edited two issues on “mapping the decolonial turn” for the journal Transmodernity, and is currently working on two book projects: Theorizing the Decolonial Turn, and Fanonian Meditations. He also works in a programme on Black consciousness and decoloniality with the Blackhouse Kollective in South Africa.