‘Beyond the talk’: Decolonising Teaching and Research in Geography – A RACE (Race, Culture & Equality Working Group) event
Date: Tuesday 29th August 2017
Time: 10.00 – 16.30
Location: Kings College London, Strand Campus
Room: King’s Building, K2.40
Social movements and intellectual interventions have, over the past five years, seen a resurgence of decolonial practice and thought within spaces of higher learning. International solidarity, anti-imperialism, black consciousness, black feminism, QPOC and LGBT struggles are some of the frames of analysis which activists, students and academic are using in their attempts to undo Empire and its legacies. A key catalyst for these movements and interventions is the realisation that despite the formal end of colonial rule, contemporary societal structures are steeped in coloniality, i.e. ‘long-standing patterns of power that emerged as a result of colonialism, but that deﬁne culture, labour, intersubjective relations, and knowledge production well beyond the strict limits of colonial administrations” (Maldonaldo-Torres 2007: 243). As noted by Ama Biney, the pernicious logic of coloniality is underpinned by asymmetrical power relations that reproduce a hetero-normative, racist, patriarchal, and hierarchical world order. Decolonial movements call for these power relations to be unveiled, confronted and dismantled. This event seeks to situate geography within this radical agenda.
We are aware that campaigns to decolonise the academy have called into question the legitimacy of academics and academic institutions in leading these discussions. Why? Because several disciplines with deep colonial roots, like Geography, have embraced decolonial thought and language without meaningful critical self-reflection. In the context of UK Geography, this is both evident and problematic for three key related reasons 1) There has been a failure to acknowledge and confront the pervasiveness of imperialist-white supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy (hooks 2004) within the discipline itself 2) The effects of coloniality are portrayed as afflicting ‘other’ places 3) UK geographers have framed coloniality as an epistemological problem primarily. A key outcome of these limitations is the concealment of oppressive structures within the discipline and academy that reproduce the above mentioned hetero-normative, racialized, patriarchal, and hierarchical world order within and beyond the global architecture of knowledge production. This meeting aims to challenge coloniality within geography and the academy by addressing the following questions; how are we as geographers part of coloniality and how do we decolonise our own practices? The event will aim to do so by examining everyday experiences and practices in the academy, and generating creative pedagogical and methodological responses to them in relation to three broad interrelated areas; Activism, Teaching and Research.
We especially encourage participation from students and early career scholars. To ensure adequate refreshments please contact James Esson (Loughborough University) at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend the event.