Thinking decolonisation across colonial modes: Shana Almeida, Siseko H. Kumalo,'(De)coloniality through Indigeneity:Deconstructing Calls to Decolonise in the South African and Canadian University Contexts’, Education as Change, 22, 1, 2018


Abstract: The ways in which Africanisation and decolonisation in the South African academy have been framed and carried out have been called into question over the past several years, most notably in relation to modes of silencing and epistemic negation, which have been explicitly challenged through the student actions. In a similar vein, Canada’s commitments to decolonising its university spaces and pedagogies have been the subject of extensive critique, informed by (still unmet) claims to land, space, knowledge, and identity. Despite extensive critique, policies and practices in both South African and Canadian academic spaces remain largely unchanged, yet continue to stand as evidence that decolonisation is underway. In our paper, we begin to carefully articulate an understanding of decolonisation in the academy as one which continues to carry out historical relations of colonialism and race. Following the work of Eve Tuck and Wayne Yang (2012), we begin the process of “de-mythologising” decolonisation, by first exposing and tracing how decolonising claims both reinforce and recite the racial and colonial terms under which Indigeneity and Blackness are “integrated” in the academy. From our respective contexts, we trace how white, western ownership of space and knowledge in the academy is reaffirmed through processes of invitation, commodification, and erasure of Indigenous/Black bodies and identities. However, we also suggest that the invitation and presence of Indigenous and Black bodies and identities in both academic contexts are necessary to the reproduction and survival of decolonising claims, which allows us to begin to interrogate how, why, and under what terms bodies and identities come to be “included” in the academy. We conclude by proposing that the efficacy of decoloniality lies in paradigmatic and epistemic shifts which begin to unearth and then unsettle white supremacy in both contexts, in order to proceed with aims of reconciliation and reclamation.

%d bloggers like this: