Decolonize Journalism by Asim Rafiqui

About the Book

In Decolonize Journalism, Asim Rafiqui asks who gets to speak about the world, who is told what to say, the limits of representation, and the way some very outdated and anachronistic ethnic and cultural categories are still applied to professionals in the industry. Decolonize Journalism ruptures unspoken presumptions and structural positions behind journalism through a historically rigorous analysis of how reporters–visual and journalistic–represent and depict conflicts and social issues around the globe. Rafiqui delves into the foundational issues that pervade most reporting by major photojournalists and writers writing about the global south, and the essentialist, and Eurocentric logics that underpin their analysis and their ideas of potential solutions. Since both journalism and photojournalism derive their priorities and ways of representation from the same media industry political economy, the author is clear that the two fields must not be separated and thereby, not rarefy the image and/or the photojournalist.

This book will move back and forth between journalism and photojournalism, convinced as the author is, that these two crafts cannot be separated or spoken about independent of each other. The book honestly lays out Rafiqui’s specific positioning within the field of Western photojournalism, outlining clearly the reductive and essentialist categorizations that have been applied to him e.g Pakistani, Muslim and the limits to which he has been held as a professional. This is an important aspect of thevbook because it reveals where it is written from, and the various situations and incidences that provoked a reflection on the state of the discipline.

  • Asim Rafiqui

    Asim Rafiqui is an independent photojournalist whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Time, Harper’s, Stern, National Geographic and many other publications. He has reported from Haiti, Japan, India, Pakistan, USA, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Sweden and Ukraine among other places. He is a recipient of Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting grant, the Magnum EF Grant, the Open Society fellowship and the Fulbright award. Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, he is now based in Stockholm, Sweden while also a Ph.D. candidate in Goldsmiths University, London.

A sharp set of pedagogical tools for teaching and learning about art as a vehicle for social engagement. Having evolved from an innovative collaboration between Queens College and Queens Museum, the book’s offerings are embedded in the workings of both community and artists, breaking down the very idea of what participation means in art and non-art contexts.” —Laura Raicovich, president and executive director, Queens Museum, NYC

“It’s no small thing to educate at the intersection of art and social justice. It’s a scope of inquiry that has tripped up art historians, artists, and college deans for multiple decades. This contribution is valuable to educators in its insight, pragmatism, and breadth.” —Nato Thompson, artistic director of Creative Time, author of Culture as a Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life

“As a curriculum resource, this book is most useful for artist-educators who are already doing and teaching socially engaged art. . . . Art as Social Action also provides a snapshot of the many ways in which socially engaged art practices overlap with social justice approaches to art education, particularly those that attend to power relationships between teachers, students, schools, and communities, and to the social structures that shape art education pedagogy.” —Studies in Art Education: A Journal of Issues and Research