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Stuart Hall Library Research Network: Duties of Self-Care

Research Network Reading Group: Whose well-being? Sylvia Wynter

13 Sep 2018

Join us for a reading and discussion of Jamaican essayist Sylvia Wynter’s influential text “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom” .

  • Venue

    Stuart Hall Library

  • Venue


  • Free, booking required.

To deepen our understandings of what we mean we talk about care within wider historical and economic structures, we turn to Sylvia Wynter. Wynter is a Jamaican novelist, dramatist and philosopher, whose work questions European humanism with a profound anti-colonial ethos.

“…the struggle of our new millennium will be one between the ongoing imperative of securing the well-being of our present ethnoclass (i.e. Western bourgeois) conception of the human, Man, which overrepresents itself as if it were the human itself, and that of securing the well-being, and therefore the full cognitive and behavioural autonomy go the human species itself/ourselves.”


We will be focusing on extracts from her 2003 essay “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation — An Argument”, and cross-reading this with fiction or poetry.

In the words of Katherine McKittrick, Wynter’s scholarship works towards “the possibility of undoing and unsettling – not replacing or occupying – Western conceptions of what it means to be human.” In her essay, Wynter develops an argument that aligns secularism, racism and European hegemony to question whose freedom and well-being is prioritised, and therefore whose is systematically overlooked?

This group is open to all, it is a supportive and peer-led space for thinking and learning together. It is a space for constructive disagreements and critical engagement that is always based on mutual respect, interest and care.

All readings are provided and read together in the group, you don’t need to read them in advance. Please contact the Library if you have any questions or wish to pick up a copy of the text in advance: library@iniva.org

Image: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. “Portrait of Jamaican novelist, dramatist, essayist and academic Sylvia Wynter, circa 1970s."