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Abstract

This article traces a conversation around how to theorise and approach the inclusion of experiences, concepts and bodies situated in the ‘invisible middle’ of decoloniality. If coloniality is an immense, lengthy process resulting in colonial/modern structures (Mignolo 2007) comprising the ‘colonial present’ (Gregory 2004), ‘decoloniality’ requires surfacing, baring and bringing to bear the invisibilities and erasures of bodies that exist and resist with, through and in spite of colonial extraction and appropriation.

We explore and connect different ideas of ‘being in the middle’ of decoloniality, paying particular attention to the notion of ‘the invisible middle’ in embodied practices of solidarity (Vered and Mason 2015, Moten and Harney 2013, Simpson 2013), and noting the similarities with the ‘included middle’ in transdisciplinary thought and practice (Khoo et al 2019; Nicolescu 2010; Gibbons and Nowotny 2001). The ‘invisible middle’ emerges in hidden-in-plain-sight, politically engaged affective orientations (Gregg and Seigworth 2010), while the ‘included middle’ is an axiomatic concept in transdisciplinary, transformative praxis. We discuss embodied and creative practices of art and ‘dance politics’ as jumping-off points for further thinking-with decolonial haunting. In particular, we think with feminist lenses like Ettinger’s ‘matrixial borderspace’ (2006), Barad’s ‘intra-actions’ (2007) and Rivera Cusicanqui’s motley ‘ch’ixi’ (2012), to surface affective entanglements and co-emergences of meaning that return to what really matters, moving beyond accounting-for-difference and towards accountability. In tracing our exchange, we respond to the call to orient thinking towards transformation, and for decoloniality to be ‘an engagement with difference that makes a difference to what was originally thought’ (Bhambra 2007, 880).

Note on the Author

Su-ming Khoo is a Lecturer in Political Science and Sociology, and leads the Environment, Development and Sustainability (Whitaker Institute) and Socio-Economic Impact (Ryan Institute) Research Clusters at NUI Galway. Her research is on human rights, human development, public goods, development alternatives, decoloniality, global activism, and higher education. https://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/people/political-science-and-sociology/sumingkhoo/

Anique Vered is an interdisciplinary scholar and her specializations include open research / public scholarship, strategic partnerships, social inclusion and decolonization, participatory cultural development, process philosophy, digital transformation and social innovation. With fifteen years of experience in communities and institutions across Australia, North America, Europe, Asia and the MENA region; partners include the United Nations Development Program’s Knowledge and Innovation Unit, Diversity Arts Australia, Concordia University, the European Commission’s DG Research and DG CONNECT, NESTA, among others.

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