Decolonising higher education: the university in the new age of Empire

Enslin, P. and Hedge, N. (2023) Decolonising higher education: the university in the new age of Empire. Journal of Philosophy of Education, (doi: 10.1093/jopedu/qhad052) (Early Online Publication)

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Campaigns to decolonize higher education have focused mainly on decolonizing the curriculum. Although the cultural features of colonialism and its material imperatives and damage were both modes of colonial domination and exploitation, more attention has been paid to the former in recent debates about education, and it tends to dominate arguments about and characterizations of decolonization in higher education, by making knowledge and the curriculum the central focus. We argue the need to attend not only to the cultural consequences of imperialism and the damage to the self so thoroughly emphasized in postcolonial and decolonial theory, but also to the material implications of colonialism and the evolution of Empire, which has persisted in new forms since formal decolonization. Decolonizing higher education and its institutions must also address new forms of Empire which have colonized the university. We argue that unless the material aspects of colonization and decolonization are adequately addressed, the university will not be substantively decolonized. Indeed, so strong is the influence of late capitalism in the form of neoliberalism on the contemporary university that its modes of practice are likely to foster superficial strategies to ‘decolonize’ the curriculum instead of addressing how capitalist structures and practices sustain current forms of coloniality. We discuss how neoliberalism, exemplified in the use of global rankings, shapes the contemporary university in today’s new age of Empire and we defend an approach to decolonizing that widens the focus of current debates beyond decolonization of the curriculum, to which we give qualified support.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Capitalism, Marxism, neoliberalism, empire, postcolonial education, rankings.
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Enslin, Professor Penny and Hedge, Professor Nicki
Authors: Enslin, P., and Hedge, N.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > People, Place & Social Change
Journal Name:Journal of Philosophy of Education
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1467-9752
Published Online:24 August 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Author(s)
First Published:First published in Journal of Philosophy of Education 2023
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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