The Coloniality of a Narrative and anti-Colonial Proposals

Le 15 Septembre 2023
11h30 Hybrid - online and Salle Louis Thaler, bat 22 UM


University of Strasbourg - Faculty of Medecine, France

Link to seminar:

Research on human microbiota points to a previously overlooked disaster: many of the microbes with which our bodies had symbiotic relationships have disappeared or are in the process of disappearing. This account of disappearing microbiota invokes biomedical reasons and major socio-ecological transformations. It is the basis for two global collection and conservation initiatives: the Global Microbiome Conservancy and the Microbiota Vault. This article shows that this narrative, “the theory of the disappearing microbiota”, confers a discursive base and a historical imaginary to colonial logics that infuses strands of research on microbiota. This essay characterizes the long duration of colonial patterns that unfold, as well as some of their consequences for understanding the diversity of human communities, their histories, and the historical mechanisms of the alteration of gut microbiota. This article concludes with a series of proposals aimed at determining the conditions necessary for the elaboration of other, less dangerous narratives that would lead scientists to pursue different, anti-colonial practices and use the samples from these collections in others, yet to be invented way.


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Rémy Froissart (UMR MIVEGEC)