Decolonising the classroom | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 20, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1388-3186
  • E-ISSN: 2352-2437



In this article, we draw from our experiences in designing and teaching a graduate-level course on decolonising methodologies at a research university in the southern United States. Recognising the university as a colonised space, the course aspires to question received methodologies in the Social Sciences and Humanities to make the classroom itself a site to model and engage with the unending work of decolonising knowledge production. Waves of scholarship have called for the decolonisation of the histories and knowledges that shored up colonisation – for the empire to ‘write back’. Yet when students of colour, women, or people from the Global South enter the academy as graduate students or junior faculty, that implicit otherness is often reinscribed upon their bodies and used to discount their lived experience, words, and research. We offer an analysis of the classroom as an important site for decolonising work, discuss the participative process used to plan and structure the decolonising methodologies course we developed, and trace three commitments that are crucial for decolonising the classroom: (a) practising radical openness in which the teachers are guided by the students’ experiences in the academy; (b) interrogating research norms as critical sites of entrenched colonising practices; and (c) creating spaces that foster the co-production of knowledge. We conclude with possibilities for decolonising the classroom, as well as the limitations.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): decolonising; knowledge production; university classrooms
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