'Colonial Psychology' in Spotlight

Cape Times (South Africa), February 27, 2019 | Go to article overview

'Colonial Psychology' in Spotlight


THE University of the Western Cape (UWC) has hailed its two-day conference aimed at deconstructing the colonial heritage of psychology a success.

Topics at the conference last week included decolonising psychology, epistemologies and theoretical developments.

It also highlighted issues such as the psychological relationship between history, identity, and "hair".

The conference, titled "Towards a Decolonial Psychology: Theories from the Global South", was held in partnership with local and international universities and organisations.

According to Dr Saths Cooper: "Psychology was dominated by Euro-American notions of the human condition, while some 95% of the world's population can trace their DNA to the oldest living ethnic group on Earth, the Khomani San of the southern Kgalagadi."

Cooper, a clinical psychologist and former lecturer at UWC who was part of this journey, said: "The (psychology) profession remains 70% white after 25 years of democracy and it has been unable to meet the needs of a society confronting the demons of its past.

"Rather than blindly importing psychologies from elsewhere there is much to be gained from connecting with our histories of psychological work; be it the psychological work underlying black consciousness and the struggle for inclusive democracy."

Cooper completed his undergraduate degree in psychology in prison and shared a cell block with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island. …

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