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 others, are considered in a new co-edited volume by Gurminder K Bhambra, Dalia Gebrial, and Kerem Nisancioglu titled Decolonising the University.
Several concrete suggestions for decolonisation work in a university setting, collated by Lucy Mayblin and others, include the following:
- Look at the reading lists for your core theory courses, check they aren’t all/mostly white men, think about including theoretical perspectives from outside the European Enlightenment tradition. Global Social Theory is a great resource for this!
- Argue for hiring practices which don’t privilege (only/mainly) white men from America, Australasia and Europe. E.g. state clearly that applications from BAME scholars are welcome
- Avoid teaching concepts such as ‘development’ or ‘modernity’ as though they are neutral terms. When you teach them make sure you discuss their constitution in colonialism.
- Take action to address the BAME attainment gap (the fact that Black and Minority Ethnic students tend to get lower degree classifications than their white peers despite entering university on the same grades). Details and resources here
- Ask your university to apply for the Race Equality Charter Mark if it hasn’t already done so – it is similar to the Athena Swan initiative to address gender inequalities. Details and resources here
- Encourage libraries to sign up to journals published outside of the USA, Australia and Europe.
- Prioritise links with, for example African universities instead of solely those in USA, Australia and Europe. Think about this also in terms of bursaries for conferences, keynote speaker invites, network memberships, and PhD scholarship opportunities.
- Share reading lists. You can find some here.