On Decolonizing Higher Education by Stephanie Collingwoode Williams

How to decolonize the university? Reflections and practices at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences

Public lecture and workshop series 2021-2022

Calls for the decolonization of society in general, and of specific sectors and institutions in particular, not in the least universities, are gaining traction in recent years. Grounded in longstanding traditions of anticolonial resistance and decolonial and postcolonial studies, these critiques have gained momentum with the international reverberations – including in Belgium – of the Black Lives Matter movement, targeting systemic and institutional racism. Decolonization refers to a much needed reckoning with the colonial past, but it also and especially requires tackling the colonial present: it challenges global inequalities and their local articulations – at the intersection of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination – that reproduce colonial power relations in the present. Universities, as powerful spaces where knowledge about the world is produced and taught, are among the institutions that are at the heart of the contestation, as evidenced by the international and local calls by students to decolonize the University, from Rhodes Must Fall to the Open Letter “Decolonise UGent.”

In response to this latter call, the Learning Network on Decolonisation of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University aims to initiate activities to decolonize education, research and services to students and staff. The network brings together students, lecturers and researchers to co-learn and to co-create knowledge and practices to change what we teach and study and how we do it. 

With this Public Lecture and Workshop Series, the Network wants to address Eurocentrism in the curricula, as well intersectional inequalities in education and research. In this year-long series, local and international experts will offer insights and hands-on training for staff and students on racism and sexism in academia, and the decolonisation of the curriculum, teaching and research methods.  

On October 28 and 29 Stephanie Collingwoode Williams will open this series with an introductory lecture and workshop On Decolonizing Higher Education.

Stephanie Collingwoode Williams is an anthropologist, social worker, trainer,consultant and activist. She is an expert in anti-racism, intersectionality, climate justice, feminism, queerness and biraciality. Stephanie was raised in Ghana, and has studied in the Netherlands and Belgium, where she has been involved with various climate-justice and anti-racist movements, such as Code Rood and Kick-Out Zwarte Piet. Over the years she has participated in actions against the glorification of Belgium's colonial history. More recently, she was active as spokesperson for the Belgian Network For Black Lives, which organized Black Lives Matter marches in Belgium (2020). Stephanie is also a curator of a decolonial festival (SOKL), speaker and volunteer for Black History Month Belgium and other collectives. She enjoys writing, exchanging thoughts on a multitude of issues and working on community.

Attendance is free, but registration is required.


On Decolonizing Higher Education by Stephanie Collingwoode Willams


Public Lecture

Campus Ufo: Technicum Aud D28/10/2021 19:30 - 21:0048


Campus Ufo: Technicum Room 2.1129/10/2021 10:00 - 12:000
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