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Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism is a critical reflection on the European civilization project that gives expression to the disenchantment with European modernity that began to be felt in many places after World War II. The moment coincided with the propagation of decolonization movements in various parts of the world and with European resistance to decolonization. Césaire’s arguments take the form of an intervention into rationalism, which he does by engaging the Cartesian roots of European thought. Discourse on Colonialism serves as a critique of major tenets of modern Western civilization, modern European philosophy, and the modern European sciences. It also calls for and provides key elements for understanding decoloniality as a transmodern project and as a turn in theory, philosophy, and critique. This includes the production of decolonial knowledge formations, such as what were later called “ethnic studies.”

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