Last academic year Worcester College launched a new community learning project, focused on Decolonisation. The course is the first of its kind at Oxford, and was attended by about 400 members. We began with a reading group (Trinity 2021) and this academic year will be hosting a lecture series (Hilary 2022) and project work funded by the College's Community, Equality and Decolonisation Fund (Trinity 2022). All members of the Worcester College community are invited to join us, as well as members of the wider University (for the reading group) and the general public (for the lecture series). To register to join the course, please fill in this form. You can see the full syllabus for the reading group here.
From the reading group syllabus:
For some time now, there have been calls for universities to engage more critically with their colonial legacies. Such calls have often been directed at a particular aspect of university life, whether that be the curriculum (“Decolonise the Curriculum”), or the material environment of the University (“Rhodes Must Fall”). Many of these movements have at their roots organising by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) students and other activists, both here and around the world - particularly in the Global South. The fact that we are able to have these conversations at all is due in no small part to the writing, thinking, resisting and organising of these groups.
Decolonisation is not an abstract catch-all term for work that increases equity in Higher Education institutions. It refers to a specific process of undoing colonial rule over subordinated territories, to material liberation from the systemic exploitation of lands, resources and people under colonialism. The term ‘decolonisation’ also has metaphorical uses, and it is not uncommon to hear discussion of decolonising minds, decolonising institutions, decolonising methodologies (though this metaphorical usage is not without opposition). Decolonisation is not something new. The history of decolonial thought is entwined in complex ways with the long histories of feminism, abolitionism, anti-capitalism, anti-racism, critical race theory, disability justice, posthumanism and other modes of thinking that seek to right the injustices of colonialism and neo-colonial inequities.
Worcester College’s Decolonisation course is necessarily introductory; it aims to equip all members of our community to engage productively and equitably in conversations around decolonising. We hope to be able to learn in collaboration with each other as the course continues, and we encourage all members of our community to get in touch with us and let us know of any topics you would like us to consider for future discussions.