Race, Nativity, and Identity: Engaging an Equity-Driven Approach to International Research

23rd September 2021 : 14:00 - 15:00

Category: Webinar

Speaker: Solomon Zewolde, University of East London and University College London (Chair); Chrystal Mwangi, George Mason University; Christina Yao, University of South Carolina

Location: Zoom webinar, registration required

Audience: Public

The years 2020/2021 have been contentious, especially when considering the many issues related to race, politics, and international mobility. When the pandemic started, much of the discourse was about how this was a new and novel experience that we were all collectively experiencing.

To a certain extent, the pandemic was novel, yet we argue that issues highlighted during the pandemic were already existing within the United States (U.S.) and more broadly in the global community. Many issues were reignited and revisited, especially when considering societal, national, and global issues. For example, anti-Blackness is a global problem that is pervasive and woven into the foundations of many of national contexts. Over the past few years, we have re-learned and were reminded of how race serves as a master status in the U.S. and other national contexts. In addition, the increased visibility of anti-Asian sentiment is reminiscent of the Yellow Peril and forever foreigner tropes that are rooted in U.S. socio-historical foundations.

As evidence by current events, the U.S. has always been a site of internationalization, globalization, colonization, and domination of people, land, and ideas. We argue that current efforts in international research cannot be divorced from social and historical events and ideologies that continue to inform contemporary approaches to international research and practices. In this session, we will contextualize the role of U.S. history and racial legacy, discuss how international scholars in the U.S. are positioned within the current U.S. context, and explore how an emergent equity-driven internationalization lens may lead to foregrounding (in)equities in current approaches to international research.


This is the sixth webinar in CGHE’s special series, ‘Racism and Coloniality in Global Higher Education’. You can find out more about the full series here.

This CGHE webinar series explores what global racial equity would mean for the future of higher education, and addresses the challenges of decolonising research systems and pedagogic cultures. The aim is to promote knowledge of, and commitment to, anti-racism within universities, and amongst researchers and policymakers. Contributors will reflect on colonial institutional legacies, racialised institutional cultures, and the power of ‘whiteness’, drawing on empirical research in a range of higher education contexts. Questions to address include:

  • Why are the legacies of colonialism often overlooked, or erased, in favour of a ‘colour blind’ analysis of global higher education’s hierarchies and inequalities?
  • Is the institutional racism of today’s universities a historical legacy or a resurgent cultural dynamic, intersected by the geopolitics of internationalisation.
  • What can we learn about the structural inequalities of the global knowledge system from critical geographers and scholars in Science and Technology Studies?
  • What forms of profound and transformational change would be needed to create racial equity in global higher education and research?
  • How are universities, faculties and students, addressing these colonial legacies? Can owning ‘whiteness’ and acknowledging white privilege – along with the JEDI agenda (justice, equality, diversity and inclusion) – help move these debates forward?

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).