Interview: Amy Allen on Decolonizing Critical Theory – Epistemic Unruliness 10

Thanks to our friends over at the New Books Network, we bring you John’s interview for New Books in Global Ethics and Politics with Amy Allen on her 2016 book, The End of Progress: Decolonizing the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory. Enjoy!

How can we de-colonize critical theory from within, and reimagine the way it grounds its normative claims as well as the way it relates to post- and de-colonial theory? Amy Allen (Philosophy and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Penn State University) takes up this project in her book The End of Progress: Decolonizing the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory (Columbia Univ. Press, 2016). The work challenges the way that the Frankfurt School of critical theory constructs and deploys concepts of normativity, history, and progress, in the process offering rich interpretations of Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, and Rainer Forst. Allen then turns to the work of Theodor Adorno and Michel Foucault in order to articulate a different perspective on these issues, one that enables a radical self-critique and de-colonization of critical theory. She concludes by exploring alternative means for critical theory to justify its normative claims as a way for it to more deeply engage with post- and de-colonial theory.

Get the mp3 here






Ep. 25 – Walter Mignolo on Decolonial Epistemology

Join Rachel, B, and John as they discuss the decolonial theory of Walter D. Mignolo, reading “The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference” and “Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and De-Colonial Freedom.” What is epistemology and why is it important? What is the relation between materiality, the body, and epistemology? What is colonial epistemology and cosmology, and how does the colonial difference rupture it? How is de-colonial epistemic disobedience related to civil disobedience. With the help of Frantz Fanon, Malcom X, and Bree Newsome in addition to Mignolo’s incisive work, we take on these question and more. Plus, we advise a listener on jealousy in a budding relation in My Tumblr Friend from Canada, and analyze a dream in which a listener is transported back to high school chemistry in One or Several Wolves.

Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Like our Facebook page. Get the mp3 of the episode here. RSS feed here. This episode’s music by Rocco & Lizzie and by B.


  • Mignolo’s website
  • Interview with Mignolo (2012) on “The Prospect of Harmony and the De-Colonial View of the World”
  • Enrique Dussel’s homepage
  • Mignolo on YouTube: “Citizenship, Knowledge, and the Limits of Humanity” lecture and leading a seminar on “The Concept of De-Coloniality”