The Rise of #Fallism: Decolonization, Human Rights and Black Pain
A. Kayum Ahmed
Thursday, February 22, 2018
12:30pm - 2:00pm
Humanities Institute Seminar Room
4th Floor, Homer Babbidge Library
When students from the #RhodesMustFall (#RMF) movement threw feces against a statue of British imperialist, Cecil John Rhodes, located at the University of Cape Town (UCT), it ignited student protests not only across South African universities in 2015, but also at the University of Oxford in the U.K. The #RMF movement sought to decolonize education by de-linking from the dominant model of Euro-American knowledge, employing disruptive tactics inspired by decolonial theories such as pan-Africanism, black consciousness and black radical feminism. This process of de-linking appears to have generated an emergent theory of “Fallism” following the fall of the Rhodes statue. Students argue that Fallism can be characterized as a form of public pedagogy that seeks to disrupt existing knowledge structures through radical, performative protest while simultaneously offering creative ways of generating knowledge. At the same time, #RMF rejects human rights discourses despite its entrenchment in South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution raising questions about whether the "human" in human rights incorporates the black body.
The Human Rights Institute &
The Initiative on Campus Dialogues
A. Kayum Ahmed is a Doctoral Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University and an Adjunct Faculty member at Columbia Law School. Prior to joining Columbia University as a student and faculty member, Ahmed served as Chief Executive Officer of the South African Human Rights Commission from 2010 to 2015. During his term at the Commission, Ahmed led a team of 178 colleagues to monitor, protect and promote human rights in South Africa, and oversaw the management of nearly 45,000 human rights cases. Following his involvement in anti white supremacist protests at Columbia University, Ahmed was placed on a right wing "Professor Watchlist" whose mission is "to expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom."