Advertisement

Decoloniality as Democratic Change Within Higher Education

  • Yusef WaghidEmail author
  • Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter, Yusef Waghid and Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu argue that decoloniality is in principle an ideal of democracy since sustenance of democracy is constitutive of the civic role of higher education. For a university to fulfil its democratisation role, it is imperative that the university be non-paternalistically and incessantly connected with the lived experiences of the society in which it exists, critically unearthing the impediments to democratic flourishing peculiar to individuals in a society and suggesting transformation approaches. Since democracy is also a social ideal, the university must engage the concrete rather than only generic challenges of the human condition by being responsive to structures of oppression that are uniquely embedded in different societies. The authors therefore contend that a university must engage the perspectives of the community without initially demanding that such perspectives be modelled in the hegemonic perspectives that typify higher education. For higher education to achieve this, there must be open dialogue, where the hitherto marginalised indigenous otherness and its epistemologies are understood as they are. Besides such openness and dialogue, the authors argue that there must be a removal of structural barriers regarding the constitution and scope of higher education to make such form of education accommodative of otherness. Equally indispensable in rendering African higher education democratic is the need for academic institutions themselves to reach out to the marginalised indigenous epistemologies because the power imbalances in relationships under the prevalent hegemonic neo-liberal global order render it difficult for indigeneity to reclaim its legitimate place in academic spaces singlehandedly. Ultimately, the authors argue that the university is a potentially double-edged sword that may either reproduce the inequalities of its society as a unit of society or, as a potent agent of democratisation, it may achieve democratic transformation of a society by necessarily being grounded in local concreteness.

References

  1. Beck, U. (2002). The cosmopolitan society and its enemies. Theory, Culture & Society, 19(1–2), 17–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Benhabib, S. (1992). Situating the self: Gender, community and postmodernism in contemporary ethics. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  3. Benhabib, S. (2011). Dignity in adversity: Human rights in turbulent times. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  4. Biesta, G. (2007). Towards the knowledge democracy? Knowledge production and the civic role of the university. Studies in Philosophy of Education, 26, 467–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Biesta, G. (2014). Cultivating humanity or educating the human? Two options for education in the knowledge age. Asia Pacific Education Review, 15, 13–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blunt, S. V. (2005). Critical thinking education. South African Journal of Higher Education, 19(Special Issue), 1368–1378.Google Scholar
  7. Desai, K., & Sanya, B. N. (2016). Towards decolonial praxis: Reconfiguring the human and the curriculum. Gender and Education, 28(6), 710–724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Giroux, H. A. (2004). Critical pedagogy and the postmodern/modern divide: Towards a pedagogy of democratization. Teacher Education Quarterly, 31(1), 31–47.Google Scholar
  9. Glass, R. D. (2000). Education and the ethics of democratic citizenship. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 19, 275–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hansen, D. T. (2011). The teacher and the world: A study of cosmopolitanism as education. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Kim, J., & Pulido, I. (2015). Examining hip-hop as culturally relevant pedagogy. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 12(1), 17–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kolawole, O. D. (2005a). Introducing indigenous education to university undergraduate students: Feelers from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. South African Journal of Higher Education, 19(Special Issue), 1189–1196.Google Scholar
  13. Kolawole, O. D. (2005b). Mainstreaming local people’s knowledge and implications for higher education in the South. South African Journal of Higher Education, 19(Special Issue), 1427–1443.Google Scholar
  14. Le Grange, L. (2005). The ‘idea of engagement’ and ‘the African University in the 21st Century’: Some reflections. South African Journal of Higher Education, 19(Special Issue), 1208–1219.Google Scholar
  15. Mbembe, A. J. (2016). Decolonizing the university: New directions. Arts & Humanities in Higher Education, 15(1), 29–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Morreira, S. (2017). Steps towards decolonial higher education in southern Africa? Epistemic disobedience in the humanities. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 52(3), 287–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Pais, A., & Costa, M. (2017). An ideology critique of global citizenship education. Critical Studies in Education, 58(1), 1–16.Google Scholar
  18. Ramose, M. (2005). The African university in the twenty first century. South African Journal of Higher Education, 19(Special Issue), 1187–1188.Google Scholar
  19. Rodríguez, L. F. (2009). Dialoguing, cultural capital, and student engagement: Toward a hip hop pedagogy in the high school and university classroom. Equity & Excellence in Education, 42(1), 20–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Schoeman, M. (2010). Education for democracy. South African Journal of Philosophy, 29(2), 132–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Waghid, Y. (2001). Globalization and higher education restructuring in South Africa: Is democracy under threat? Journal of Education Policy, 16(5), 455–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Waghid, Y. (2002). Knowledge production and higher education transformation in South Africa: Towards reflexivity in university teaching, research and community service. Higher Education, 43, 457–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Waghid, Y. (2008). The public role of the university reconsidered. Perspectives in Education, 26(1), 19–25.Google Scholar
  24. Waghid, Y. (2016). Transformation as an act of denudation: A response to Petro du Preez, Shan Simmonds and Anné Verhoef. Transformation in Higher Education, 1(1), 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Zeleza, P. T. (2009). African studies and universities since independence. Transition, 2009(101), 110–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education Policy StudiesStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.School of Education, Chancellor CollegeUniversity of MalawiZombaMalawi

Personalised recommendations