Denial, Guilt, Shame

In Denial, Guilt, Shame, First Things First (Katayoun Arian, Louise Autar, Max de Ploeg) will open the discussion about the currents of decolonial practice in the Netherlands, departing from the question: What does it mean to decolonise and what are the ethical questions that underlie the project of decolonisation?

Starting with an introduction of the trajectory in coming to this program, followed by a panel of three guests who are active in Dutch decolonial debates and actions, including Pravini Baboeram and de Grauwe Eeuw, this event sheds light on the ways in which perceived ego defense mechanisms, denial, guilt and shame, factor in decolonial practice.

The work of Grada Kilomba is paramount to this endeavor. In her book Plantation Memories (2008), Kilomba described "five different ego defense mechanisms the white subject goes through in order to be able to listen, that is in order to become aware of its own whiteness and of itself as a performer of racism: denial / guilt / shame / recognition / reparation" (Kilomba, 2008: 22). In Denial, Guilt, Shame, First Things First employs the first three stages of awareness that Kilomba recognized in her work as tools to uncover coloniality.

Further, at the heart of the event Denial, Guilt, Shame lies the question: "What does it mean to speak at the centre (in this case, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art) when the absence of the voice of the colonized (from the centre) can be read as emblematic of the difficulty of recovering the voice of the colonial subject, and as a confirmation that there is no space where the colonized subject can speak" (Kilomba, 2008: 27)?

Denial, Guilt, Shame is part of 'Decolonial Options: The Futurity of Decolonial Practice', a program by First Things First, from 10 to 16 July, 2017, that aims to critically investigate and discuss the coloniality of Dutch society and beyond. During a closed workshop, and the final program of 'Decolonial Options', the performance ILLUSIONS by Grada Kilomba herself (Friday 14th July), First Things First strive to articulate through discussion, performance, and dialogue, the last two stages of awareness: Recognition and Reparation.

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6:30 - 7:15 pm: Introducing the trajectory of Decolonial Options: The Futurity of Decolonial Practice. Katayoun Arian and Louise Autar of First Things First.
7:15 - 7:30 pm: Short break
7:30 - 9 pm: A panel-discussion moderated by Max de Ploeg (First Things First) with Mercedes Zandwijken, Pravini Baboeram and Grauwe Eeuw. The panel will discuss decolonisation and the ways in which denial, guilt and shame take place when grappling with colonization and coloniality?
9 - 9:30 pm: Discussion with the public


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