decolonize, Rebecca Close, Anyely Marín Cisneros

narrator Rebecca Close, Anyely Marín Cisneros
term decolonize
published 24 February 2015, Madrid, Spain, Europe
affiliated institution MACBA, Diásporas Críticas

Decolonize: operate on the nodes of hegemonic affect.

Decoloniality: a program of hybrid tactics that traverse materiality and writing, memory and archive, affect and body.

Decolonization: a collective process of subjectivisation.

Note: The subject of the decolonial revolution does not exist. It is produced in the process of decolonization.


The program of action for operating on contemporary coloniality begins by fragmenting the binary code through which we understand colonial violence in the neoliberal era. This is a binary code of simple divisions between the past and the present, the north and the south, the first and the third world.


The process of decolonization requires various forms of anti-racist, migrant and subaltern oppositions. However, these strategies alone do not succeed in modifying the Eurocentric and logocentric terms that regulate the truth-body and hierarchize lives as well as legitimize and naturalize the process of hierarchization. The truth-body is reproduced through techniques of racialization and sexualization operating and legitimized in Europe today. To decolonize affect is thus to reinvent subjectivities that escape the truth of the body produced by colonial violence.


The knowledge and poetic-political strategies accumulated by a critical diaspora responding to the first signs of neoliberal colonial violence in the 1980s offer clues. Valerie Mason-John aka Queenie, CambellX, Adrienne Rich, Black Audio Film Collective, Pedro Lemebel, Nestor Perlongher, Audre Lorde, Cheryl Clarke, Gloria Anzaldua, Pratibha Parmar, Essex Hemphill, May Ayim, Strange Fruit, Kanak Attack and Salon Oriental together irritate the binary codes of simple divisions that divide up and reduce affect to the modern, humanist and Eurocentric sensibility. Fatima El-Tayeb (2011) calls this displacement, accumulation, and activation of multiple and translocal strategies creolizing theory. The decolonizing process of subjectivisation includes creolizing tactics: ridding theory and poetry of its pretensions by exploring the often tense relations between specific circumstances and universal conditions, local applications and global connections, without dissolving them through a universalizing model of interpretation.


If the subject of the decolonial revolution does not exist it is because it must be produced through a hybrid program that operates on various levels: between the dominant narratives of history and the sensibilities that these produce; between the conditions of production of knowledge and the materiality of the body. If this body is marked by the colonial system of writing that we know as the truth-body, the subject of decolonization is produced and invented through this very same process of writing, of reconstituting and inventing the archive. This writing – this process of subjectivisation – is a decolonial program that irritates and dismantles the modern, humanist and Eurocentric sensibility, making a cut in the flow of modern-colonial affect.


Decolonize is a process of collective subjectivisation, a violent program of rewriting the subject-body and dismantling the truth-body. Decoloniality rehearses a violence that consists in denaturalizing and de-ordering hierarchies of affect by putting into practice the strategies invented by micropolitical struggles, which together have managed to break the linearity of history and the linearity of the truth-body. Practices of sexual disobedience and the black and radical feminisms have developed these collective practices of resistance, self-production, forms of opposition and poetic-political writing.


All too often the anti-colonial and anti-racist discourses forget and ignore the production of these knowledges and end up repeating the key terms of hegemonic affect: humanism/genocide, modernism/colonialism. This erasure and forgetting reproduce discourses rooted in shame and colonial guilt. The repetition of this divided affectivity, in turn, collaborates actively to erase and eliminate the archive of resistance of the critical diaspora. Resisting the discourse of shame ­­– not from the south but from the center of production of the colonial truth-body­ – is an act of radical revenge and a strategy of rewriting.



1. Produce a new body, intervening precisely where the techniques of racialization and sexualization divide up affects and design hierarchies in the world.

2. Activate and invent a radical archive that serves the memory of this body in decolonization.

3. Intervene in the technologies that silence resistances and invent counter-technologies. Reappropriate the languages and voices of distinct micropolitical struggles. Understand their contributions to the decolonial program.

4. Exercise radical revenge through writing as direct action. Rewrite-inscribe to restore the erasure. Traverse the inaudible and unsayable fields of coloniality. Invent the archive.

5. Write, resist, create alliances and modify affects.

El-Tayeb, Fatima (2011) European Others, Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press.