Professor Penny Enslin,10 June 2021 - Decolonizing higher education: the university in the new age of Empire
From Pauline Patel
Like all its institutions, universities in the United Kingdom are a product of Britain’s imperial and colonial past and its resulting advantages. Curriculum and institutional practices that reflect and represent only the experiences and interests of those who have benefitted from Empire are both unjust and educationally unsound. Calls to decolonize higher education rest, with reason, on the need to address that past and its enduring effects, but what does this require? Reaching agreement that universities are imbricated in and beneficiaries of a colonial past and of ongoing coloniality is a necessary first step. Thereafter the complexity of deciding on grounds for further action should not be underestimated, particularly when it comes to the idea of decolonizing the curriculum. Basing curricular decisions on activism against targets that most offend, as against deliberation framed by educationally justifiable criteria, would not be the best course of action when approaching the project of decolonization. This contribution focuses on some preliminary considerations and recommendations that include exploring the meaning of Empire and its continuing evolution.
About the Series: This is part of a 7-talk Virtual Speaker series on Decolonising the Curriculum in HE. Sponsored by The University of Edinburgh Moray House School of Education and Sport (MHSES)'s Race Equality Subgroup and the Center for Education on Racial Equality in Scotland, as well as the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB). All talks are chaired by Dr Andrea English. To view all the talks go to the MHSES or PESGB websites.