Decolonising the Curriculum: Experiences from Latin America

2 November 2016, 12:00 - 14:00

Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Antonio Sergio Guimaraes (Simon Bolivar Professor 2016-17, Department of Sociology, University of São Paulo)
Rosaleen Howard (Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), Newcastle University)
David Lehmann (Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge)


Image: E Lamb


The novelty of Guerreiro Ramos’ sociology
Antonio Sergio Guimaraes

Sociology as a science finds its objects from the social problems of the day. A decolonised sociology should derive its reflexive strength from the perspective of the subalterns. Social problems like racism, sexism, colonial domination, national formation, and social inequalities were the objects of reflection and systematic investigations of a number of intellectuals not entirely absorbed in the mainstream of the discipline. DuBois, in the United States, and Guerreiro Ramos, in Brazil, are two examples of sociologists who usually appear on the margins of the syllabus of Sociological Theory. My talk will explore the subaltern sociology proposed by Guerreiro Ramos in the mid-1950s.

Language rights in education and beyond: the view from the Andes
Rosaleen Howard

In previous work, I have used the notion of ´paradigms of diversity´ to explore evolving social policy discourses and the practices with which they are associated in the Andean region (Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia). These paradigms may include but are not restricted to the concept of decolonisation in various guises. In this presentation I will first review some of that earlier work, taking the education system as an example. I will then broaden my presentation to take account of recent research on how issues of language rights are being built into state legislation, and acted upon in a wide range of practices. These go beyond education to encompass all public spheres where speakers of indigenous languages interact with Spanish-speaking agents of the state. The high profile given to the principle of language rights as a human right in Peru is interconnected with advances in education planning in that country, and bodes well at least for democratisation of language in and beyond education, while the discourse of decolonisation, unlike the case of Bolvia, is not explicitly articulated.

Interculturality for Beginners
David Lehmann

During the first decade of the century the Mexican government supported the creation of a network of Intercultural Universities. For some of their supporters and staff these were universities in which a decolonial and non-Western curriculum would be offered; for others they were institutions which, being located near to areas with significant indigenous populations, would attract students from those groups and would educate them in subjects relevant for their socio-economic development with elements of cultural sensibility such as indigenous language courses; for yet a third current, the universities would be truly intercultural in that they would contribute to a society where all social groups are conversant with its many cultural strands. My research with the academic staff of a several of these universities also showed that they were strongly influenced by the dissident or contestatory educational ideas associated with 'educación  liberadora'  and also with the Theology of Liberation. When all this is mixed up in the treacherous waters of Mexican politics it produces an interesting case study of 'interculturalidad' in practice.

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Open to all. No registration required.
Part of the Decolonising the Curriculum in Theory and Practice Research Group seminar series

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