Decolonising sociology involves a recognition of exploitative and excluded sociological knowledges, a reassessment of who and what counts as canonical within sociology, and a re-imagining for what constitutes sociological thought in the first place. [read more]
Global Social Theory is a free online resource for students, teachers, academics, and others interested in social theory and wishing to understand it in global perspective. The site was established by Gurminder K Bhambra in response to the campaign organised by students in the UK asking ‘Why is my curriculum white?' This question, alongside many... Continue Reading →
In this MPhil dissertation, Joe Cotton traces the emergence of the decolonisation movement in Cambridge and describes the various efforts and initiatives across the University. He writes: "Broadly speaking, decolonisation at Cambridge calls for a rigorous, reflexive and historically-aware curriculum, at an equitable, just and genuinely inclusive university, which refuses to enact or support neo-colonial... Continue Reading →
"I find it unbearable to see how we keep using these completely false ideas about humans and people. These false beliefs about our differences deny us opportunities to develop and collaborate and to do things together and to grow as humans. We are so distracted by racism, that's what infuriates me." Dr Mónica Moreno Figueroa... Continue Reading →
Co-chair of the Decolonise Sociology Committee Dr Mónica Moreno Figueroa reflects on the shortcomings of institutional solidarity statements issued in response to Black Lives Matter. You can listen to the podcast of this transcript on The Naked Scientist (11:38-14:22). What I think is interesting as an outcome of Black Lives Matter is the reaction that... Continue Reading →
Decolonisation in higher education means coming to terms with colonial legacies, writes Dr Manali Desai in The Guardian.
We, the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff network of the University of Cambridge, UK, write to send our condolences to the family of George Floyd on his tragic death. We are both shocked and angered at how he was killed, and that these brutal killings continue to occur. We also write to publicly... Continue Reading →
In this thread, Lecturer in Social Inequalities Dr Ali Meghji (@alim1213) provides "twitter abstracts" on sociology readings that can help us to understand systemic racism in the US. His notes cover over a century's worth of critical thought from Ida B Wells and WEB Du Bois in 1898 to Louise Seamster and Victor Ray in... Continue Reading →
Theatre collective 20 Stories High have created a useful resource with information on how to support the fight against racism (now and into the future), signposting for people that want to learn how to be better allies, and accounts to follow to stay updated locally, nationally and internationally.
Watch Dr Priyamvada Gopal and George the Poet in conversation about Cambridge, slavery, colonialism and decolonisation, as well as the motivational role of anger, navigating identity politics, and feelings of statelessness as an immigrant. Watch on Al Jazeera
This year's Green Week is full of exciting events exploring the historic relationship between capitalism, colonialism, and the climate crisis. These events seek to centre the voices of the communities most impacted by extractivism and climate breakdown, and amplify their demands for justice. We will discuss what meaningful climate justice looks like, and how we... Continue Reading →
Misguided assumptions about race are going mainstream, but hard facts can help you combat entrenched attitudes, writes Adam Rutherford in The Guardian.
Join us for a term packed full of events, as well as continuing decolonisation work in the department and strategising for the future. We're always looking for new members!
Read our termcard
https://youtu.be/XOXKTCSikNU Kalwant Bhopal is a Professor of Education and Social Justice and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Race & Education (CRRE) at the University of Birmingham. Her research explores how processes of racism, exclusion and marginalisation operate in predominantly white spaces with a focus on social justice and inclusion. In this video,... Continue Reading →
On the 28th of January (5:30pm, Main Lecture Theatre, Old Divinity School) Decolonise Politics will be hosting a panel with Dr Shruti Kapila, Dr Tom Hopkins, and Dr Tejas Parasher to discuss and question the relationship between global intellectual history and decolonisation. The connection between decolonisation and global intellectual history is not a straightforward one.... Continue Reading →
Watch the 8th Annual Equality Lecture at the British Library, delivered by Prof Kalwant Bhopal, which provides statistical evidence for the attainment, employment and wage gaps between white and black staff and students in the UK education system.
This open forum is an extension of Dr Mónica Moreno Figueroa's Undergraduate Sociology paper "SOC 11: Race, Racism and Ethnicity". The event is supported by Decolonise Sociology and will be led by Prof Manuel Barcia from the University of Leeds. Continue Reading →
The “End Everyday Racism” project is building a collective of stories from around campus to strengthen our understanding of racism at the University. Find out more and consider sharing your own experiences at racismatcambridge.org
The following open letter has been sent to Dominic Raab, First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on 15 Oct 2019, and is co-signed by 83 academics from across the country. Dear the RT Hon Dominic Raab, We write in relation to President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops... Continue Reading →
Join us on Thurs 17 Oct, 20:00 at the Old Library (Darwin College) for a screening of the powerful documentary film about the 2015 “refugee crisis”, Dog Years, featuring Noam Chomsky. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers, Rocky Rodriguez, Jr., and Helen Foster, moderated by Cambridge sociologist Dr. Jeff Miley. Continue Reading →
Join poet, playwright, prison activist and Emmy award winner Bryonn Bain and Cambridge Sociologist Dr Jeff Miley for a poetry workshop in Whitemoor Prison on 28 Nov 2019. Followed by a performance and discussion at the University of Cambridge on 30 Nov.
Continue Reading →
Join us for the third session of the Decolonise Sociology Committee on Friday 22 November @ 1pm in Room E (17 Mill Lane) New members always welcome! Continue Reading →
While there are many established approaches to the urgent problems of climate crisis within the areas of science, technology and policy, sociologically oriented analyses of environmental change are still emerging. This initiative within the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge proposes to address and systematically incorporate attention to environmental change within the curriculum [read more]
"The higher education industry might seem like it’s booming, with over 200 million students in universities and colleges worldwide and funds flowing in like never before. But the truth is that these institutions have never been unhappier places to work. Corporate-style management, cost-cutting governments, mobilisations by angry students and strikes by a disgruntled workforce have taken their toll — in almost every country around the world. It’s no wonder that there is talk of ‘universities in crisis'."
You can watch this event on YouTube .
Join us this term to help plan events and strategise for Easter Term! We're always looking for new members to support decolonisation work in the Department and across the University.
A group of PhD students at the Department of Geography have started a reading group to discuss decolonising discourses and methodologies, and to reflect on how research at Cambridge can support decolonisation work. All welcome - not just PhD students and Geographers!
Decolonise Sociology and the Race, Empire & Education Collective invite you to our first joint reading group session, focusing on the life of Angela Davis. The session will be on Friday 5th April from 2-4pm in Meeting Room 1, Department of Sociology, 16 Mill Lane. You can find the readings for this session below. Required:... Continue Reading →
The co-chair of the Decolonise Sociology working group - Dr Mónica Moreno Figueroa - is giving a presentation at the University of Coimbra in Portugal, focussed in part on the work of this working group. The event description reads as follows: "The purpose of this Seminar is to provide a dialogue on the decolonisation of... Continue Reading →
This post is based on comments delivered at a panel discussion on Cambridge & Historical Legacies of Slavery on 28th February 2019 as part of the Centre for African Studies public lecture series on Race and African Studies. The event discussed recent research and reparative approaches at other UK universities and debated the significance of... Continue Reading →
On Tue 23rd April 2019, Decolonise Sociology hosted an historic meeting between novelist and poet Jackie Kay and civil rights activist Angela Davis at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. Read more and watch the event here.
At the "50 Years of Sociology at Cambridge" conference, this panel focused upon the question of what decolonising sociology means; attending to the historical ‘colonisation’ of sociology, as well as how thinkers, systems of thought, topics of study, and geographical areas have historically and presently been excluded from sociology’s canon and periphery. You can watch a video recording of the panel session here.
The Decolonise Sociology working group supports the Open Letter signed by 586 academics and 874 students, which calls for an investigation into the appointment of Noah Carl to a research fellowship at St Edmunds College, University of Cambridge.
The Open Letter can be read in full here.
Join us this term to get up-to-date on decolonising work conducted so far, and help us strategise for the future! We're always looking for new members to support the work of our subcommittees.
Dr Manali Desai discusses the 'post-colonial' turn in Sociology in the context of Indian nationalism, and emphasises the need to connect analyses to colonial histories and representative politics. You can read her blog article here.
Photo credit (C) Duncan Brown 2017 On UN Anti-Racism day during the 2018 strike action, co-chair of the Decolonise Sociology working group, Dr Manali Desai, shared her thoughts on institutional racism at the University of Cambridge. “I don’t need to tell you that Cambridge has a race problem. Let me start by saying that just... Continue Reading →
On 30th Jan 2018, Professor Gurminder Bhambra delivered a lecture titled "A Postcolonial Rethinking of the State and Nation: From Comparative to Connected Sociologies", which was hosted by the Department of Sociology.
On 31st October 2017, approximately 200 students and several staff members converged outside the Senate House in a rally to show support for the decolonisation of Cambridge University, as well as solidarity with CUSU Women's Officer Lola Olufemi after being targeted in the Mail and the Telegraph. Read the student demands in full here.
The Student Newspaper Varsity has over eighty articles on the different decolonisation initiatives at Cambridge University. You can browse them here.
Welcome to the website for the Decolonise Sociology working group. The group was established on the 31st October 2017 to pursue the decolonisation of the Cambridge Sociology Department. The working group consists of student and faculty members, divided into four subcommittees...[read more]
Our six areas of focus are:
The Outreach and Activism subcommittee aims to link up with different liberation initiatives to support decolonisation work across the University.
The Curriculum Reform subcommittee is working on the better integration of authors from the global south across the sociology curricula, not as token authors but as required reading.
The Workshops and Training subcommittee is developing workshops on anti-racist pedagogy and training on racism awareness, with the aim to run pilots in the Sociology Department that can later be presented to other Departments.
The Communications subcommittee is responsible for keeping the Decolonise Sociology working group in touch with the Sociology Department, and maintaining this website.
We’d love to hear from you about any ideas you might have to help advance the decolonisation agenda.
Send the team an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We're always looking for new content for our blog. You might want to write about your experiences, observations, or studies - all is welcome! Don't worry about word count...[read more]
Dr Ali Meghji joins the Surviving Society podcast to discuss how sociology was formally institutionalised in the West during the height of imperialism. The following conversation also approaches concerns about the current decolonising moment in British universities. Continue Reading →
Dr Manali Desai is a Reader in Comparative and Historical Sociology at the University of Cambridge. Her work focuses on the areas of state formation, political parties, social movements, development, ethnic violence, gender and post-colonial studies. In this conversation, Dr Desai describes the underlying factors behind gendered violence in India, which is a key focus... Continue Reading →