Workshop: Decolonising our own Academic Practices


Recent years have witnessed student-led calls to decolonise the curriculum and engage with the colonial heritage on which many of Britain’s universities are built, and which underpins present constructions of history, literature and knowledge. This strand will consist of three sessions in which we aim to approach the challenges of decolonising the curriculum from an early career academic’s perspective. We want to foreground the voices of early career academics who identify as black or minority ethnic; at the same time, we believe that ‘oppression belongs to the culture of the oppressor’ (Cynthia Ozick) and encourage critical interrogations of whiteness alongside celebration of anti-racist practices in English by academics of all colours.

Workshop led by Anna Girling and Mathelinda Nabugodi. The workshop will provide a space in which participants can reflect on the problems, premises and promises of decolonising the university. The starting point is the participants’ own thoughts, previous experiences and ideas that they have been exposed to in the preceding conference sessions. The aim is to inspire and empower participants with practical advice for their future careers. This will be achieved through a structured discussion of a set of questions, e.g.:

  • Who is the human in the humanities?
  • What does decolonial practice mean in practice?
  • Is decolonial synonymous with anti-racist?
  • Is it possible to unlearn white privilege?
  • Do we have a responsibility to unteach white privilege?
  • Is it important to increase the number of BAME academics? Why?
  • Does it make a difference to increase the number of BAME academics if the institutional (racist) structures remain in place?
  • Can the discipline of English further the cause of diversity? How?
Sat 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm