Decolonize what? The contentious terrain of reforming social sciences

There are multiple threads in the ongoing conversation on decolonization, but for a meaningful discourse, we must have an alternative on the table with political clarity.

In recent years, there is enormous interest in the slogan of decolonization in the social sciences. Almost every section of academia and activism—who are otherwise viscerally opposed to each other—is demanding decolonization. So, what is decolonization? If so many opposing groups come together to make the same demand, it must surely be a contentious matter.

In my view, the project of decolonizing social sciences is welcome and long overdue. However, I will argue in this newsletter that a meaningful project on decolonization must place an alternative on the table with political and ideological clarity. There are several strands in the …


R. Ramakumar

R. Ramakumar is an economist and a professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.