Sessie 3 – Hierarchies in academic knowledge production

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April 20th 2021 – 13.00 (CET)

The gap between knowledge production in the Global North, long regarded as a center of learning, and peripheries that were vastly rewarded for their assimilation into northern systems of knowledge production, looms large in recent initiatives to decolonize education. One of the features of colonialism was its outright dismissal or devaluation of local knowledge and intellectuals in favor of upholding Western scholarship and traditions as a universal standard. Yet decades after the departure of colonial powers, the practice of academic dependency on the global north has remained largely unchanged. Current calls to decolonize higher education curricula may thus be thought of as a continuation of longstanding efforts in the global south and among minorities in the global north to make known diverse knowledge sources, scholars, and forms of artistic production.

As the term “decolonization” becomes more salient in universities across the world, this session brings together academics from the Global North and South to discuss their experiences and insights on the coloniality of the university as an institution and prospects for the decolonization of curricula. We hope that this dialogue can foster solidarity and a greater nuancing of decolonization among students and faculty, as well as scholars from different backgrounds.
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Leon Moosavi

Dr Leon Moosavi is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool, UK. He has been based in Singapore since 2013 where he is the Director of the University of Liverpool in Singapore. His research interests broadly relate to the sociology of race and religion, with a current focus on a critical examination of whether and how the university can be decolonised. His recent publications include ‘The Decolonial Bandwagon and the Dangers of Intellectual Decolonisation‘ and ‘The Myth of Academic Tolerance: The Stigmatisation of East Asian Students in Western Higher Education‘. 

Aincre Evans

Aincre Maame-Fosua Evans  is a Teaching Fellow at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Aincre’s academic and activist work centers on de-colonial and feminist social change with particular attention paid to the African continent and its diaspora in Europe.

Syed Farid Alatas

Syed Farid Alatas is Professor of Sociology at the National University of Singapore. He is also appointed to the Department of Malay Studies at NUS and headed that department from 2007 till 2013. He lectured at the University of Malaya in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies prior to joining NUS. In the early 1990s, he was a Research Associate at the Women and Human Resource Studies Unit, Science University of Malaysia. Prof. Alatas has authored numerous books and articles, including Ibn Khaldun (Oxford University Press, 2013); Applying Ibn Khaldun: The Recovery of a Lost Tradition in Sociology (Routledge, 2014), and (with Vineeta Sinha) Sociological Theory Beyond the Canon (Palgrave, 2017) and “The State of Feminist Theory in Malaysia” in Maznah Mohamad & Wong Soak Koon, eds., Feminism: Malaysian Reflections and Experience (special issue of Kajian Malaysia: Journal of Malaysian Studies), 12, 1-2 (1994): 25-46. His areas of interest are the sociology of Islam, social theory, religion and reform, intra- and inter-religious dialogue, and the study of Orientalism.

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