Interdisciplinary research with an eye
to the future
Private Law Gazette 2/2021 – She completed a degree in African studies at Sciences Po and studied African commercial and economic law at the Panthéon-Assas University. She has for several years been an anticipation specialist with UNESCO in the area of Futures Literacy. Simultaneously, she is completing her doctoral project at the University of Lancaster in law and applied complexity theory. Last summer she conducted research at the Institute as a scholarship recipient. Kwamou Eva Feukeu approaches her work with curiosity and a joy in practical experimentation. What kept her busy during her time in Hamburg?
“How we think about the future tells something about how we view our world today,” says the young scholar. Her work combines the field of law with complexity theory and futures studies. She also uses approaches drawn from decolonial theory. In her research, she is tracing the social and normative interrelationships that shape our patterns of thought and action. It is her aim to derive knowledge from experience: “I am interested in why and how we learn.”
Among her tasks as project officer with UNESCO, she facilitates workshops in Africa and Europe in which images of the future are reviewed and further developed. “Together with the workshop participants, I ask why exactly it is that we consider certain ideals regarding the future to be important and correct. For instance, by considering present-day social practices, we can enter into a dialogue about which future norms are desirable. Especially – but not only – in Africa, it is about decolonizing the future."
In this vein, Kwamou Eva Feukeu has undertaken a study in which she is examining a non-colonial context using the methods of decolonial theory: “I wanted to know whether a decolonial glance on German law and daily practice was relevant.” The topics of her research are regional currencies such as the “Chiemgauer”, the “Lechtaler” or the Bremen “Roland”. What makes them interesting from a decolonial perspective? “Similar regional currency projects can be found elsewhere in Europe, but also in the Global South. They are looking for answers to questions that many people have been asking themselves since colonial times. Their focus on local markets reflects a pursuit for solidarity and sustainability and thus also a desire for more humanity and authenticity. There could be room for additional learning from the Global South. As such, interdisciplinary research has great value.”