“Unparalleled Catastrophe for Our Species? Or, to Give Humanness a Different Future: Conversations”

On Sylvia Wynter and Katherine McKittrick:

Do. 21.11.19 | 18:00 – 22:00



After Nafiseh Fathollahzadeh and Dirk Cieslak took us on a journey between Zentrum Kreuzberg, Tehran, Addis Ababa, Tapiola/Espo, and Rome in the last session and we realized that these places require a reconfiguration of our urban imagination. In the frame of our next meeting we are going to ask what kind of human beings inhabit today’s cities and where the image of man they correspond to comes from.

Against this background we will turn to the Caribbean thinker Sylvia Wynter, whose decades-long investigation of colonial history is still to be discovered in depth. Wynter assumes that since 1492 a “monohumanism” born in Europe has been spreading over the entire planet and replicated itself everywhere at the expense of other ways of being human. In the “genre of the human” she calls “man”, which not only inhabits the global metropolises of the present, Wynter sees the “westernized bourgeoisie’s (neo)Liberal-humanist homo oeconomicus”. This genre of the human encompasses many color lines nowadays and declares itself to be “the class of classes of being human itself”.

In a longer dialogue Wynter has been conducting with Katherine McKittrick since 2007 under the title “Unparalleled Catastrophe for Our Species? Or, to Give Humanness a Different Future: Conversations”, the two attempt to trace the current ecological crisis, which more and more clearly turns out as a climate catastrophe, back to Europe´s monohumanism – involving monoculturalism since the early plantations of colonialism as well – and to show ways out with regard to the urgent (re-)introduction of other genres of being human.

On the 21st of November we will therefore read extracts of the conversation between Wynter and McKittrick and think them through together: How far can we not only reconfigure our urban imagination but also imagine other human genres? Being human as praxis instead of as a noun? We will start at 6 p.m. on page 18 and see how far we can get together by 10 p.m. The whole book, containing “Unparalleled Catastrophe for Our Species?“, can be found here:


If you have time to take a look beforehand: Great! If not: Also fine! No prior knowledge required. Everyone is welcome. See you soon.


Mix Cloud audio link to Decolonality London: e.g. “No Humans Involved” An Open Letter to my Colleagues by Sylvia Wynter


Devised by: Dirk CieslakGerko EgertStefan Hölscher, and Netta Weiser.

With support of Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa, Berlin


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