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  2. GCSJ Seminar series: Actually decolonising? Frictions, facilitation and frontiers

GCSJ Seminar series: Actually decolonising? Frictions, facilitation and frontiers

Friday, May 17, 2024 - 12:00 to 13:00
Online, via Microsoft Teams

Speaker: Professor Parvati Raghuram  

Decolonisation has taken up a lot of print space in recent years. First there has been a wholesale endorsement of decolonisation including in Geography where authors have tried to decolonise this and decolonise that (Raghuram and Sondhi, forthcoming). Similarly, many research projects have obtained funding by using the decolonial word to make claims to justice and equality. There has also been, for some time, a critique of rhetorical decolonisation and warnings against simply jumping on the decolonial bandwagon (Moosavi 2020). Authors have argued against the tendency to make this only an epistemic endeavour devoid of the political impetus within which original decolonial thought was embedded. They have urged us to think through the inheritances and responsibilities that decolonisation entails. Between these two ends are many attempts to actually decolonise. Institutions have attempted to change curricula, reading lists, and even staffing.

This paper draws on AHRC funded project Decolonising Education for Peace in Africa. The project aimed to shift the narrative of Africa as a continent marred by conflict to instead explore already existing values and knowledges of peace on the continent. It involved a range of sub-projects which stretch across 15 countries. Each project worked with a mix of NGOs and university academics in Africa although many were simultaneously being supported by UK academics. The paper introduces the project and explores actual decolonisation through three themes: friction, facilitation and frontiers. These provide three cuts into the practicalities of actually decolonising.

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