Releasing a Tradition

Diasporic Epistemology and the Decolonized Curriculum

in The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology
Author:
Jovan Scott Lewis University of California, Berkeley jovan@berkeley.edu

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Abstract

With educational campaigns that ask ‘Why isn’t my professor Black?’ and ‘Why is my curriculum white?’ there is a push directed towards institutions to provide an education that is diverse, inclusive and representative of the liberal ideals that many promote. This is being done primarily through a discourse of decolonization. In this article, I consider the formulation for a truly decolonized curriculum by first assessing what constitutes a ‘colonial’ education, especially one that is deserving of decolonization. I then discuss the parameters of educational decolonization, by thinking with decolonial and anti-colonial thinkers, to assess the tenability of a decolonized curriculum. Ultimately, I suggest what forms a decolonized curriculum might take by drawing on diaspora theory and by describing broader programmatic requirements within the framework of the Black Radical Tradition that offers decolonial epistemologies as a broad praxis for education.

Contributor Notes

Jovan Scott Lewis is Assistant Professor of Geography and African-American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also co-chair of the Economic Disparities Research Cluster at the UC Berkeley Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. Jovan received his PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics.

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