Theorizing Structural Racism and Eurocentrism in Higher Education
This workshop provides a space for a shared theorization and diagnosis of structural racism in HEI with a particular focus on Eurocentrism and struggles that aim to decolonise education and HEI. Based on the individual reflections from the previous activity “Where do we think? A Critical Thinking World Map”, this workshop brings the participants into conversation, first by opening (a) a space for exchange; and (b) by working with theoretical frameworks and (c) by analysing on these grounds structural racism and Eurocentrism in HEI. This theory workshop hereby aims to support the diagnosis of structural racism, diversity and inclusion in HEI with a particular focus on the national context of the participants. The aim of this course unit is to discuss current debates and diagnosis in the fields of structural racism and decolonial perspectives in HE.
The methodology of this workshop consists of putting personal/embodied experiences as well as institutional analysis of structural racism and Eurocentrism in HEI into dialogue as a theory building practice. Complementing the readings from the previous activity (see Block A, previous activity “Where do we think? A Critical Thinking World Map”), participants will prepare three compulsory texts and a minimum of two additional texts for this session.
With these conceptual and analytical tools in mind, participants will introduce themselves as well as their individual Critical Thinking World Map, which they prepared as part of the previous activity. As a theory building practice, the participants should identify common elements of their individual diagnosis about structural racism and Eurocentrism in HEI in an interactive way. In a digital setting participants will discuss in break-out rooms issues of eurocentrism and structural racism departing from their personal experiences, the previous activity “Where do we think? A Critical Thinking World Map” in Block A “Diagnosis”, and the compulsory readings. The facilitators will assist this process by taking notes on the Miro board during the conversation in order to capture the results of the discussion. This is followed by a theoretical input by the facilitators of the BRIDGES tools/concepts on “Neoliberal Compliance”, “Eurocentrism”, and “Migra*BPoC Resistance”. The workshop ends with a concluding round of questions and answers.
The overall objective of the theory workshop is to support the theorization and diagnosis of structural racism in HEI with a particular focus on Eurocentrism and struggles that aim to decolonise education (institutions). Underlying objectives are:
- to learn through critical reading about existing theoretical concepts and diagnosis of structural racism, Eurocentrism and decolonizing struggles
- to develop new theoretical concepts and diagnosis through collective reflection as well as to complement or critique already existing theoretical concepts and diagnosis
- to propose alternative insights and diagnosis departing from the embodied experiences, institutional and national/citizenship backgrounds of the participants.
Procedure (steps, instructions and timing)
This session will start with a welcome and introduction round (10 minutes) by building on the previous activity “Where do we think? A Critical Thinking World Map”. Since participants have already prepared an analysis of the institutions in which they are working or studying, they will briefly introduce themselves (2-3 sentences) and their institutional background (2-3 sentences). This will be the preparation activity for the critical collective and individual reflection and analysis of each participant’s relationship to structural racism in higher education in the following step.
In step two, the theory building practice (30 minutes), participants will combine personal accounts on their relationship to higher education (institutions) with critical reflections on their experiences in HEI as educators and/or students in their home institutions based on the readings. In this step, facilitators and participants meet on the online video platform Discord for the whole session. After the introduction round, participants will be assigned randomly to breakout rooms of a maximum of 5 people per group for the time of 15 minutes. Each group will assign a speaker and a writer. The writer collects notes, concepts, findings, ideas, and doubts on the shared digital platform Miro while discussing. After 15 minutes, the whole course will meet again and the speakers from each group will present their findings to the bigger group (2 minutes per group; 10 minutes in total). Based on the notes from the writers and the speakers, the facilitators will compose those findings in an online mind-map on Miro. Students can amend this mind-map afterwards to foster further discussion.
During these 30 minutes, participants are able to share their observations, reflections and critique, based on class readings and life experiences related to a) forms of exclusions in Higher Education, b) mechanisms of in- and exclusion in public policies regarding Higher Education, or c) in- and exclusion mechanisms and strategies in their educational everyday environment, in particular the university.
To inspire the discussion, guiding questions come, first, from step 2 to 4 in the “Critical World Thinking Map” exercise. Secondly, we suggest the following guiding questions regarding the compulsory and additional readings:
- How do the texts analyse racism and eurocentrism in HEI? Do you see any differences between them?
- What statistics/numbers regarding inclusion/exclusion in HEI impressed you the most? Share with your group/the fish bowl!
- What forms of exclusion and inclusion are analysed in the readings? Did/do you make similar or different observations in your institution? What kind of different dynamics in your institutions can you observe? How do they differ?
- What forms of resistance towards racism and eurocentrism in HEI are detailed in the texts? Is there something similar going on at your institution?
In the third part, the facilitators will give a theoretical input (10 minutes), connecting the results from the theory building practice (step 2) with concepts from the BRIDGES toolkit, particularly “Neoliberal Compliance”, “Eurocentrism”, and “Migra*BPoC Resistance”. We will support this theoretical input with a follow-up discussion in a break-out room for each tool for 20 more minutes.
This session will close with an open discussion with a focus on possible strategies of resisting structural racism and eurocentrism in HEI (20 minutes).
- Introduction and Welcome (10 minutes)
- Theory Building Practice (30 Minutes)
- Break-out session (15 minutes)
- Collection of findings and discussions (15 minutes)
- Theory Input & Discussion (30 minutes): “Neoliberal Compliance”, “Eurocentrism”, and “Migra*BPoC Resistance”
- Input by Facilitators (10 minutes)
- Break-out sessions about each tool (20 minutes)
- Open Discussion (20 minutes)
Necessary materials and resources for execution
- Critical Thinking World Maps from previous activity on Miro
- Translation: If there will be persons without English skills, translators should be present to translate to the different languages.
- Miro as digital mind map tool
Autar, L. (2017). “Decolonising the classroom Credibility-based strategies for inclusive classrooms”. Tijdschrift Voor Genderstudies, 20(3), 305–320
Gutiérrez, E. (2016) “Sensing dispossession: Women and gender studies between institutional racism and migration control policies in the neoliberal university.” Women’s Studies International Forum 54: 167-177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2015.06.013
Bhambra, G. K., D. Gebrial and K. Nişancıoğlu. (2019) “Introduction: Decolonising the University?” In: Bhambra, G. K., Gebrial, D., & Nişancıoğlu, K. (ed.) Decolonising the university. Pluto Press.
Icaza Garza, R., & Vázquez, R. (2017). “Intersectionality and Diversity in Higher Education”. Tijdschrift voor Orthopedagogiek, 7, 349-357.
Tate, Shirley Anne & Bagguley, Paul (2017). “Building the anti-racist university: next steps.” Race Ethnicity and Education, 20(3), 289-299. DOI: 10.1080/13613324.2016.1260227
Thompson, V. E., & Zablotsky, V. (2016). “Rethinking Diversity in Academic Institutions.” Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women’s & Gender Studies, 16: 75-93
Derived materials from the activity (to be uploaded on this website)
Curators + Collaborators during the Test Course:
Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Sebastian Garbe, María Cárdenas