Through his work, Vázquez Melken seeks to develop practices of thinking and learning that transgress the dominant frameworks of contemporaneity, heteronormativity, and coloniality. In his recent publication Vistas of Modernity, he argues that diversity is crucially to change the ways in which we practice knowledge and culture – and that we need to move from just talking about it to taking action.
‘The interest of decoloniality is not that of becoming a dominant discourse,’ says the professor, ‘but of enabling conversations, processes of mutual learning that have yet to take place. In this spirit, my work is devoted to generating transversal forms of encounter among colleagues, undergraduates and graduate students and broader cultural and activist communities.’
Conversations within and beyond the university
As Professor of Post/Decolonial Theories and Literatures, Vázquez Melken will focus on perspectives from the Global South and on the role of decolonial thought to transform the ways in which we do research and ask questions about the world.
The new chair is aimed at investigating the many ways in which the colonial past continues to impact the present, including determining how academic research and teaching is conducted. ‘This chair gives me the opportunity to continue and further the work of weaving conversations,’ says the professor, ‘within and beyond the university, within and beyond the Anglosphere and the Global North.’
About Rolando Vázquez Melken
Rolando Vázquez Melken studied International Relations at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and obtained his MA Social and Political Thought and his PhD in Sociology from the University of Warwick, UK. Until recently, he was associate professor of Sociology at University College Utrecht, and affiliated researcher at the Gender Studies Department and at the Research Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) of Utrecht University.
Since 2010, Vázquez Melken has co-directed with Walter Mignolo the annual Maria Lugones Decolonial Summer School, now hosted by the Van Abbemuseum. In 2016, under the direction of Gloria Wekker, he co-authored the report Let’s do Diversity of the University of Amsterdam Diversity Commission. The professor is affiliated with the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA).