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Reflections on decoloniality in South African higher education

STIAS Workshop

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STIAS WORKSHOP, 12-14 June 2018

Workshop theme: 

Power, Pedagogy and Race: reflections on decoloniality in South African higher education

Building on critical and emerging debates in South African Higher Education, this workshop aims to contribute to the long-term STIAS (Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study) driven project under the broad theme of ‘University & Society.’ Leading this workshop are three scholars invested in the political economy of Higher Education, critical pedagogies for turbulent times, and the central theme of the decolonial university in transition. Together, Susan Levine, Vivienne Bozalek, and Shose Kessi will invite fifteen participants from across South Africa with the aim of generating a national picture of the different and shared challenges facing our places of higher education.

The workshop aims to provide an intimate space for deep reflection on the tangled histories of gender, class, and race oppression in the context of #RMF, #FMF, and the aftermath of the student struggle for transformation on the level of staffing, curriculum, language policy, admission and promotion policies, as well as addressing the role of white privilege and black pain in shaping discourse.


The programme is organised around four formal presentations by key speakers on the themes of decoloniality in SA higher education, decolonial pedagogies, intersectionality, and the possible futures of expanding the higher education sector to include TVETs as primary sites of national transformation. These provocations will guide our group discussion sessions and we hope, inspire participants to develop abstracts in two dedicated afternoon writing sessions.


The final aim of the workshop is for participants to submit and discuss their abstracts on the final day. These abstracts plus feedback from the group will guide each scholar as they continue to work towards producing a book chapter for an edited volume called After the Eruption which will follow on Susan Levine’s edited volume, At the foot of the Volcano (2018). The latter volume, published by HSRC Press, can be considered an important place holder for marking the slow pace of transformation prior to the #RMF and #FMF movements. In some ways a relic of the state, the book has quickly become outdated in light of new publications on transformation in higher education, popular plays that depict the student movement, as well as new university bodies dedicated to the work of the decolonial curriculum.

This is an exciting time to pause, take stock of where we have been, where we are, where we might go and how there might be different forms engagement in higher education. It is a moment to stretch our imaginations and grapple with the weight of history and the how the future may unfold at this critical conjuncture. We believe that we will bring together some of the most exciting scholars from across the country, and that we will deliver a book that chases the dream of social justice in South African higher education. STIAS has played a major role in driving this project, and we look forward to the chance to share our thoughts as we work through the emergent literature in conversation with our colleagues.


The STIAS hosted workshop will be orchestrated by Susan Levine, Vivienne Bozalek, and Shose Kessi. Please e-mail any enquiries about this project to Susan on [email protected]. For more information about STIAS’ support, please contact Nel-Mari Loock on [email protected].


Date and time

Wednesday, 12 June 2019 —
Friday, 14 June 2019

All Day​

All times are in SAST (UTC+2)


STIAS Wallenberg Research Centre

STIAS, Marais Road, Mostertsdrift

Related to this event


Visiting scholar
South Africa
Visiting scholar
South Africa
Visiting scholar
South Africa


At this critical historical conjuncture in South Africa, at the very precipice of tumultuous social change, multiple forces converge onto the stage of higher education in South Africa. This is a national...


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