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Open Access Decolonising the classroom

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Abstract

In this article, we draw from our experiences in designing and teaching a graduate-level course on decolonising methodologies at a research university in the southern United States. Recognising the university as a colonised space, the course aspires both to question received methodologies in the Social Sciences and Humanities and to make the classroom itself a site to model and engage with the unending work of decolonising knowledge production. Waves of scholarship have called for the decolonisation of the histories and knowledges that shored up colonisation ‐ for the empire to ‘write back’. Yet when students of colour, women, or people from the Global South enter the academy as graduate students or junior faculty, that implicit otherness is often reinscribed upon their bodies and used to discount their lived experience, words, and research. We offer an analysis of the classroom as an important site for decolonising work, discuss the participative process used to plan and structure the decolonising methodologies course we developed, and trace three commitments that are crucial for decolonising the classroom: (a) practising radical openness in which the teachers are guided by the students’ experiences in the academy; (b) interrogating research norms as critical sites of entrenched colonising practices; and (c) creating spaces that foster the co-production of knowledge. We conclude with possibilities for decolonising the classroom, as well as the limitations.
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Keywords: decolonising; knowledge production; university classrooms

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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    The Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies (Journal of Gender Studies) is a Dutch language forum for the scientific problematisation of gender in relation to ethnicity, sexuality, class, and age. The journal aims to contribute to debates about gender and diversity in the Netherlands and Flanders. The journal is an interdisciplinary medium operating at the intersection of society, culture, the humanities, health and science. The editorial staff is open to articles about gender issues from different disciplines, and also accepts English articles. As well as publishing articles, the journal includes essays, columns (short topical and polemical articles), interviews, reviews, summaries of dissertations and conference reports. Articles are subjected to a double blind peer review process.
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