Towards ‘Decolonizing’ Curriculum and Pedagogy (DCP) across Disciplines and Global Higher Education Contexts: A Critical Synthesis

30th September 2021 : 14:00 - 15:00

Category: Webinar

Speaker: David Mills, University of Oxford (Chair); Riyad Shahjahan, Michigan State University; Kirsten T. Edwards, University of Oklahoma; Annabelle Estera, Independent scholar

Location: Zoom webinar, registration required

Audience: Public

Drawing on the global interdisciplinary literature on decolonizing curriculum and pedagogy (DCP) in higher education, we critically examined the idea of decolonizing in the context of disciplines and universities around the world.

Based on a critical analysis of 207 articles/book chapters published in English and centering a geopolitics of knowledge frame (Mignolo, 2003, 2011), we present three themes: a) decolonizing meaning/s b) actualizing decolonization, and c) challenges. We observed three major meanings of decolonization and four ways to actualize DCP that were driven by geographical, disciplinary, institutional and/or stakeholder contexts. We argue that, while there are similarities within the literature, ultimately the meanings, actualizations and challenges of DCP are contextual, which has political and epistemological consequences. We end by offering directions for educational research on DCP, revealing the possibility for a field or discipline of decolonial studies.


This is the eighth and final 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).