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KIITE - Social justice and ‘decolonising’ the curriculum




Date: 20 October 1PM

The workshop will last approx. 2.5-3.5 hours

Facilitators: Peter D’Sena, Vice President, Royal Historical Society; Dr Katherine Haxton, Professor Mariangela Palladino, Dr Shalini Sharma, Hinna Sheikh


Detailed Description

In 2015, students at the University of Cape Town called for the statue of Cecil Rhodes, the 19th century British coloniser, to be removed from their campus. Their clarion call, in this #RhodesMustFall movement, was that for diversity, inclusion and social justice to become a lived reality in higher education (HE), the curriculum has to be ‘decolonised’. This was to be done by challenging the longstanding, hegemonic Eurocentric production of knowledge and dominant values by accommodating alternative perspectives, epistemologies and content. Moreover, they also called for broader institutional changes: fees must fall, and the recruitment and retention of both students and staff should take better account of cultural diversity rather than working to socially reproduce ‘white privilege’. Concerns had long been voiced in academia and beyond about curricula dominated by white, capitalist, heterosexual, western worldviews at the expense of the experiences and discourses of those not perceiving themselves as fitting into those mainstream categories. The massification of HE across race and class lines has fuelled these debates; consequentially, the ‘fitness’ of curricula, pedagogic practices and assessment techniques, which serve to reproduce society’s broader inequalities, are increasingly being questioned. In this workshop, delegates will be presented with some of the fundamental principles of the decolonising movement, and then be invited and challenged to critically reflect on their own practice, with a view to initiating change in their own local setting.

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