A 12-Step Program for Decolonizing the University

Rodney Coates (Miami University)



Long-standing calls to uproot structural racism across the world have gained impetus, especially within academia, in the wake of dozens of killings including the murder of Breanna Taylor and George Floyd. Universities, as one of the principal sites of European dominance, is central to any decolonizing efforts. As Europe colonized much of the world, it installed its major institutions, such as politics, family, economic systems, religion, and education.

Decolonial processes within the University refer to curriculum, pedagogies and methodologies that delink, deconstruct, and unhinge Eurocentric stereotypes. Decolonizing the University means recentering the various voices of peoples of color, taking them from the margins to the core. Indigenous counter-narratives are being produced that both challenge the centrality of European established knowledge systems, while simultaneously recognizing that counter-narratives will be generated by canon proponents that challenge both the legitimacy and authority of these indigenous counter-narratives. Universities have become the site of contested spaces not only in the United States but worldwide as symbols of our colonial, confederate, and imperial past have been challenged. We must provide the spaces where all, particularly the marginalized, can be heard. In this paper we shall explore the 12 steps for accomplishing this.

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