From silence to strategic advancement with speaker Professor Farzana Shain (CRRE Seminar)

Wednesday 26 January 2022 (12:30-13:30)

Dr Reza Gholami,

From silence to ‘strategic advancement’: institutional responses to ‘decolonising’ in higher education in England

Professor Farzana Shain, Goldsmiths, University of London

Amid the rising calls for a ‘decolonised curriculum’, scholars and activists have outlined what needs to be done to ‘decolonise the university’. Yet in practice, those involved in decolonising work often face considerable backlash and institutional resistance.

In this seminar, Farzana will talk about research that she has been undertaking with colleagues Prof Bulent Gokay (Keele), Dr Veronica Poku (Goldsmiths) and Dr Umit Yildiz (Manchester), to capture the contested terrain of ‘decolonising the university’. The project ‘Doing decolonising work in higher education in England’ involves qualitative research with students and staff across nine universities in England who are involved in decolonising work that is, individual and/or group-based decolonial efforts, at discipline/departmental/institutional level to achieve change in their universities. Outlining three institutional strategies: rejection, reluctant acceptance, and strategic advancement and presenting a snapshot of decolonising work in England over the period 2014–2021, the research raises questions about what needs to be done to counter institutional co-option, incorporation, and the dilution of the radical message of decolonising. 

Farzana Shain is George Wood Professor in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research is in the field of sociology for education with a particular focus on racialised inequalities. She is the author a forthcoming book with Bristol Policy Press titled, Generation 9/11: British Muslim girls and Education in Education, due for publication in 2022/3. Farzana is Head of the Centre for Identities and Social Justice and also currently Co-Director of Research in the department of Educational Studies at Goldsmiths.