Master Class 1.2: Practice

Master Class 1.2: Practice

Pradeep Chakkarath

27 June 2023
18:00 - 19:30 CEST

A postcolonial perspective on epistemic harm and the indigeneity of social scientific theories

Social scientific theories still often assume that they have extensive cross-cultural explanatory power, or at least that they adequately reflect their own culturally limited scope. It is also usually assumed that the successful worldwide dissemination of theories developed primarily in Western countries is a strong indicator of their universal quality and validity. In this master class, we will take an alternative and especially postcolonial critical look at these assumptions. By reflecting on the crucial role of the social sciences in the context of European colonialism and imperialism, we will explore the extent to which contemporary hegemony of Western social science is the result of a deliberate and often racially motivated devaluation and exclusion of non-Western knowledge. In addition, we want to explore the question of what harm this hitherto little-noticed European science policy has done not only to the self-image and psyche of the colonized subjects, but also to the project of a serious and well-founded social science itself.

Pradeep Chakkarath is an Indian-born cultural and social psychologist at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. Together with Jürgen Straub, he is Co-Director of the Hans Kilian and Lotte Köhler Center (KKC) for Cultural Psychology and Historical Anthropology. Since 2021, he has been Vice President of the German Society for Cultural Psychology. He is also fellow alumnus of the former Center of Excellence, an Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Konstanz, Germany.  He is, together with Christian Gudehus, Co-Founder of the international Journal of Hostility, Anger, Repression, and Malice (HARM). He is also Co-Editor of the German-language journal psychosozial and editorial board member of numerous international journals. His main interests concern – from an interdisciplinary perspective – human development and the history and methodology of the social sciences. He is particularly interested – from a postcolonial perspective – in psychology and so-called indigenous traditions of discussing, explaining, and understanding psychological phenomena.