Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education


College of Education, Department of Educational Policy Studies and Research

First Advisor

Stephen Haymes, PhD

Second Advisor

Sheira Malik, PhD

Third Advisor

Ann Russo, PhD


This paper examines the codified logics of coloniality operating to exterminate, incorporate and make dependent the colonized. I bring Maldonado-Torres’ (2007) conceptions the ‘ontological colonial difference,’ an elaboration on Fanon’s (1968) ‘coloniality of being,’ and Mignolo’s (2010) ideas on the ‘modern/ colonial design’ into a reading of the law in order to demonstrate the persistence of colonial logics in the interrelated areas of knowledge production, international policy, and political dissent. I understand coloniality as dialectical in order to situate decoloniality as a relational and universalized process, rather than one that is particular, hyper-localized, and chronologically illogical, as is often conceived. I begin by outlining the meaning and material consequences of coloniality as a system rooted the exploitation of disposable bodies and lands for the progress, development, and well-being of the European marked as ultimate beacon of humanity and civilization. Next, three laws and policies are examined at length: STEM education, intellectual property rights in international trade agreements, and the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (1921). Though seemingly disparate, I argue each are related in their ambitions as modern/ colonial projects and connection to colonial concepts of land/ property, removal/ extermination, incorporation/ expansion, and dependency. Lastly, I end on a consideration of the possibilities and limits for decolonial futures and the law using Fanon’s (1968) discussions on reparation to examine the CARICOM lawsuit against their former colonizers, as well as his ideas on self-becoming and Mignolo’s (2010) ideas on delinking. I find that as a dialectal process, decoloniality will always mitigate the violence of coloniality as the two are antithetical projects.

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