Friday, November 25, 2016

Decolonizing Criminology

By Biko Agozino

Do not let the smiles fool you. Yesterday and today, I have been privileged to see grown men and women shed tears profusely at the University of Wollongong, Australia, during the symposium on Indigenous Perspectives on Decolonising Criminology and Criminal Justice organized by Dr. Juan Tauri and colleagues in the Forum for Indigenous Research Excellence. It is rare to see such raw emotions at a scholarly symposium but this one was not just scholarly, it was a scholar-activism symposium with participants from the community who shared their survival of the dehumanizing effects of imperialistic social control, reflecting my methodology of committed objectivity. 

I am honored to see my own work being affirmed and being extended by colleagues from around the world. I am hopeful that the work we all are doing will result in the deepening of democracy through the pushing back of the legacies of colonialism and the control-freak state to allow more diversity, equality, fraternity, and liberty to the majority of the people suffering the consequences of race-class-gender authoritarian populism. I also shared my own experience as a survivor of genocide in Biafra, a fact that the world was reminded of by Amnesty International on 24 November in a report on the killing of 150 nonviolent Biafra commemorators in Nigeria in 3 months since August 2016. Coincidentally, the AI report was released as I was presenting my plenary on the 'withering away of the law thesis' in which I wondered why the postcolonial states have tended to cling to the genocidal and other repressive fetishes imposed by colonialism rather than continue the push for decolonization to its historic conclusions. But more importantly, why are even critical criminologists and community organizers afraid to demand the further decolonization of civil society for the benefit of all?