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Decolonising the Curriculum

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The call for decolonisation is resonating in universities across the globe today. The most dramatic instance has been the Rhodes Must Fall movement in South Africa, which inspired protests such as Rhodes Must Fall at Oxford and “Why is My Curriculum White” at UCL . These movements have found affinities with expanding struggles around race, gender, and class on North American campuses and with the upsurge of interest in decolonisation within professional academia. Our workshops and seminars will focus on one particular aspect of today’s demand to decolonise the university: the curriculum. Drawing from postcolonial, decolonial, and subaltern critiques of social science knowledge production and circulation, the research group will aim to explore the “postcolonial turn” or “Southern turn” in different domains of the humanities and social sciences. The series of activities are both inspired by and in dialogue with the increasing attention to the global plurality of particular disciplines, for example, the need to work toward “a world anthropologies framework”, “global sociology”, or non-Western international relations.

Our questions of decolonising knowledge in the academy are four-fold. First, why is the demand for decolonisation being heard so widely in universities today? Second, what place does decolonising the curriculum have in these broader demands for decolonising the university? Third, what are the experiences with decolonising the university curriculum in different parts of the world? Fourth, what would it mean to decolonise the curriculum in Cambridge?

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