Stikkordarkiv: Decolonizing

Decolonizing history – South Africa, UK, Norway

Interview at Michael Wynn and Dag Herbjørnsrud

«A controversial row is dividing Norwegian and European historians and researchers these days: decolonization of academia. What does it actually mean? …. We talked with an outspoken proponent of decolonization, the historian of ideas Dag Herbjørnsrud, and asked him to specify what the movement is trying to do.»

EXCERPTS: «  When did this movement of decolonization start, and why has it become an issue now?

Dag Herbjørnsrud: The event that sparked much of the current decolonial debates was the removal of the Cecil Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town, on April 9th, 2015. One student, Chumani Mawele, started the protest exactly one month earlier, arguing that the “The Thinker”-looking statue of the colonizer, one of the founders of the apartheid ideology, does not represent him nor the students of today’s South Africa. The students started the peaceful civil disobedience campaign #RhodesMustFall – and after a month of discussion, the Council of the university conceded.»

«Still, I would say that the decolonizing concept brings new energy to the debates: Instead of a narrative where “postcolonial” succeeds the colonial era, a bit like Neo-romanticism arises as a consequence of Romanticism, the concept of decolonizing rather makes us think: No, we need to reject the colonial ideology altogether. We need decolonize! The problem is the ideological colonial narrative that is all around us. The task is to erase the colonial legacy from our mind sets – in order to get a more balanced and scientific approach to our past and present.»



Decolonizing Knowledge – Decolonising the Academy

The debates regarding decolonizing knowledge, curriculum and the academy have reached the shores of Norway.

On April 30th, 2018 (5-8 pm), the event «Decolonizing Knowledge» was held at the Norwegian University of the Life Sciences (NMBU), as Ås, outside of Oslo. The event was hosted by SAIH-Ås (Norwegian Students’ and Academics’  International Assistance Fund, SAIH) and the new organization UBUNTU. Excerpt from the invitation:

«Knowledge is power and that which is taught at universities is often dominated by one particular part of the world. This risks creating a false representation of the world, rendering us to ignorant of meaningful contributions as well as foresting a skewed understanding of our shared reality.

UBUNTU and SAIH-Ås are happy to invite you a rich discussion regarding the decolonization of academia.

Join us to discuss the dominance of western ideology and its suppression of «others» in academia with renowned historian Dag Herbjørnsrud and learn about decolonizing in practice with Noragric Professor Peter Gufu Oba

Three days before this event, SAIH’s annual meeting adopted a resolution presented by the local chapter in Trondheim urging for the need to focus on decolonizing higher education. In Norwegian, «Avkolonialisering av høyere utdanning«:

«SAIH skal:

  • Øke bevisstheten blant studenter og akademikere i Norge om problemene ved ensidig og ikke-inkluderende kunnskapsformidling
  • Jobbe for at flerkulturell og normkritisk pedagogikk og interseksjonalitet får en større plass i norsk lærerutdanning
  • Jobbe for at mangfold i verdens- og kunnskapsforståelse gjenspeiles i pensum, undervisning og forskning ved norske høyere utdanningsinstitusjoner
  • Støtte studenter og akademikere som fremmer avkolonisering av høyere utdanning og utfordrer ensidig kunnskapsformidling, både i Norge og internasjonalt»

On June 8th, 2018, the Peace Research Institute of Norway (PRIO) holds the event «Decolonising the Academy«. Among the invited are Meera Sabaratnam from SOAS, University of London. Excerpt from the invitation:

«Additionally, Norway’s particular self-image as somehow separate from, and innocent of, the history of colonialism, as well as the endurance of problems of diversity and meaningful representation in Norwegian higher education, make a debate on decolonisation highly necessary and long overdue. Inspired by recent debates on the need to decolonise academic institutions in the UK, a number of Norwegian academics from a wide range of disciplines have been invited to reflect on how they engage with this topic in their own work, as well as in their home institutions.»

More info on the topic? See Dag Herbjørnsrud’s book Global Knowledge (Scandinavian Academic Press, 2016)