n Journal for Contemporary History - A decolonial turn in diplomatic theory : unmasking epistemic injustice

Volume 41 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



The subject of the decolonisation of knowledge broadly, and the social sciences as they are practiced in the developing world, is growing. This is linked to the need to decolonise the modern Kantian university as an important site for the production and reproduction of Eurocentric thought, thus subtly reinforcing the racist claim that only Europeans know, others only mimic. There is an effort towards negating Eurocentric thinking that permeates the modern knowledge system, which has failed to give expression to the experiences, aspirations and needs of people in peripheral areas of the Westernised world. This article joins this epistemic rebellion by seeking to unmask the structure in the dominant discourses of diplomatic theory. It seeks to show that in diplomatic theory, there is blatant erasure of diplomatic experiences and ideas that emanate outside the West and the silencing of voices outside Eurocentrismin its broad sense. An attempt is made to show that this, like slavery and colonialism, is a serious injustice produced by coloniality as a model of power that emerged together with the coloniser's model of the world in the late 15th century. On this account, there is a need to decolonise the narrative and discourses on diplomacy, including its dominant theories. The article, therefore, argues that diplomatic theory is yet to benefit from decolonial perspectives that put forward the need for epistemic justice as a crucial arena in the long process of decolonising the modern world.

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