Decolonising Social Research Seminar Series

Social research has been complicit in slavery, colonialism and racism, in ways that are more and less visible. Social research has also contributed towards antiracist and decolonising movements and activitism. This SWDTP funded seminar series will explore theoretical and methodological tools for conducting research that is antiracist and decolonising. It will look at how we design and conduct research that disrupts established power relations within research, including those between researcher and researched, expert and novice.

Decolonising Theory 19th November 2020 2-4pm

Speakers: Foluke Adebisi, Mark Jackson and Arathi Sriprakash (all University of Bristol)

When it comes to conceptualising a research problem, we often turn to literature and pre-existing theoretical frameworks. The social sciences grew up alongside the European project of world domination and competition through colonisation. Hence, much of the established canon of disciplinary knowledge has contributed to the imperial project of colonisation and contemporary relations of oppression. On the other hand, scholarship resisting and opposing colonisation also has a long and deep history including scholars identifying with marginalised and oppressed racial groups in the Global North and scholars form the global South.

This session will examine what it could mean when we talk about decolonising theory. Does it mean different things in different disciplines? How do we reconcile the co-optation of decolonising within the agenda of HE with our various understandings of decolonial thought? What questions of praxis arise when we apply decolonial thought to theorising?

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The Decolonising Social Research seminar series is for doctoral researchers (and their supervisors) at any and every stage of the doctoral journey, who aspire for their research to contribute towards decolonisation in any space or form. Through the short series of events, we aim to stimulate debate around the tough questions that decolonisation poses for social research, to forge supportive networks across universities of the South West and to signpost readings and resources. Across the series, we will engage with the work of established scholars who have published on different aspects of decolonising research, the ideas and experiences of early career researchers, as well as representatives of marginalised groups, whose knowledge has historically been excluded from the academy.

For each seminar, we will provide recommended reading for those wishing to explore the issues raised further. The seminars will take place as a webinar via Zoom. On registration, participants will receive an email with the Zoom link and recommended reading for the seminar.

Forthcoming seminars in the series:

Decolonising epistemology 26th November 2020 2-4 pm

Decolonising methodology 14th January 2021 2-4pm

Decolonising research ethics TBC

Decolonising writing and representation – 21st January 2020 2-4pm