Book Chat: Corrie Decker and Elisabeth McMahon


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Online via Zoom
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The Idea of Development in Africa: A History (Cambridge University Press, 2020), by Corrie Decker (UC Davis) and Elisabeth McMahon (Tulane University), offers a novel approach to historical knowledge through what the authors call the “development episteme.” The book defines the development episteme as the knowledge system emerging from nineteenth-century European imperialism in Africa, which is at the root of contemporary international development policies and practices. It demonstrates how the shift from race to culture in twentieth-century development thinking failed to uproot the white supremacist foundations of this episteme. The authors urge that decolonizing development means taking seriously African critiques and demands to be decision-makers in global organizations.

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