CGHE Webinar 229

Racism and Coloniality in Global Higher Education

Date: Tuesday, 7 September 2021 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Zoom webinar, registration required

Event Materials

This event is now archived and we are pleased to provide the following event media and assets, along with the original event overview.

Researchers are ever more attentive to the way that the globalization of higher education (HE) creates and reproduces inequalities of wealth, opportunity, education, gender, race and identity. For scholars in this area such as Riyad Shahjahan and Kirsten Edwards, race is the ‘central organizing influence underlying this global phenomenon’, and they argue that ‘whiteness as futurity’ reinforces these asymmetries. This dedicated webinar series running throughout September, Racism and Coloniality in Global Higher Education, takes up their challenge, exploring the intersections of racism and coloniality in contemporary global higher education.

Our aim as convenors is to bring together higher education researchers working across a range of global academic spaces, sites and topics. All webinars in the series address the impact of colonial legacies and contemporary racisms, in their different forms. We want to challenge the institutional colourblindness that has, until recently, characterised liberal universities, and allowed academic fields to imagine themselves as safe ‘post-racial’ spaces. Black Lives Matters has had a profound impact on universities, pedagogies and research agendas, surfacing submerged racisms, and forcing educational scholars to ‘see race again’. We also recognise that Oxford University’s own institutional history is deeply entangled with British colonialism, and the legacies of the Victorian imperial imaginary are still visible in the Rhodes foundation.

The series will show how HE researchers – at once scholars, activists and policymakers – are responding to these political and analytical challenges, making sense of coloniality’s shadows and the emergence of new racisms. Whether addressing the way whiteness is learned, the coloniality of quality assurance infrastructures in Africa, neo-racism in the US, or the decolonising of research methods, they show how research in global higher education can draw on the insights of postcolonial theory and critical race theory.

This first webinar sets out the intellectual context and rationale for the series. As well as highlighting key themes to be covered by speakers over the next four weeks, we will also briefly introduce our own different research engagements in this area. David will reflect on the coloniality of the global publishing system, using the example of the many African journals excluded from the major citation indexes, their knowledge invisibilised. Solomon will talk about his research into the experiences of racism suffered by African students in UK universities. Natasha will discuss an action research project led by students within the Oxford Education department, and their work decolonising and reforming the Higher Education curriculum

We will also each set out the key intellectual and political questions that we hope to address during the course of the series. We will invite all participants to share their own research experiences and visions for future research in the field.


This is the first webinar in CGHE’s special series, Racism and Coloniality in Global Higher Education. You can find out more about the full series here.

This CGHE webinar series explores what global racial equity would mean for the future of higher education, and addresses the challenges of decolonising research systems and pedagogic cultures. The aim is to promote knowledge of, and commitment to, anti-racism within universities, and amongst researchers and policymakers. Contributors will reflect on colonial institutional legacies, racialised institutional cultures, and the power of ‘whiteness’, drawing on empirical research in a range of higher education contexts. Questions to address include:

  • Why are the legacies of colonialism often overlooked, or erased, in favour of a ‘colour blind’ analysis of global higher education’s hierarchies and inequalities?
  • Is the institutional racism of today’s universities a historical legacy or a resurgent cultural dynamic, intersected by the geopolitics of internationalisation.
  • What can we learn about the structural inequalities of the global knowledge system from critical geographers and scholars in Science and Technology Studies?
  • What forms of profound and transformational change would be needed to create racial equity in global higher education and research?
  • How are universities, faculties and students, addressing these colonial legacies? Can owning ‘whiteness’ and acknowledging white privilege – along with the JEDI agenda (justice, equality, diversity and inclusion) – help move these debates forward?

CGHE webinars are fully open to participants. They are interactive, enabling attendees to speak directly in the webinar, ask questions of speakers when called in by the chair and see all other participants. At any time you can communicate directly with others, either all together or on a one-to-one basis, through the webinar Chat.

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