chapter  1
For new ecologies of thought
Towards decolonising critique
ByMark Jackson
Pages 44

This chapter’s main concern is to draw out the implications for critique of bridging relationships between thinking about coloniality, about the questions raised by the posthuman and more-than-human, and so also about ontology. It argues that if we commit to decolonising modes of enlightenment thought, and to querying the more-than-human conditions – the ecologies – of thinking and acting in the world, then so too must what we mean by ‘critique’ also be questioned. Critique must operate under the sign of the question. The chapter traces how a new ecology for critique must emerge from provincialising the human. It begins by comparing the conceptual domains of the postcolonial and the posthuman through the question of critique adequate to the Anthropocene. In doing so, it moves from the recent work of Dipesh Chakrabarty, through Edward Said’s posthumously published, last reflections on humanism, to Sylvia Wynter’s critique of European humanism’s over-representation of ‘Man’. The chapter argues that, in each of these thinkers, a genealogy approaching a decolonised critique is intimated but withheld, perhaps out of fear of the consequences of decolonising critique. The chapter concludes by arguing that we need not withhold from decolonising critique. It goes on to explore some of the implications when we do not withhold the decolonising option for our most cherished conceptual responsibility – being critical – including the need to rethink grounds for semiosis, language, and politics.