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Weakening the institutional wall. Reflections on race, gender and decolonization in Belgian academy

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

This article wants to contribute to the emerging debate on decolonisation in Belgian universities by sketching the challenges posed by critical decolonial analyses and how these affect both academic institutions and the individuals working within them. In a first section, I provide an overview of the main critiques formulated by post-colonial, feminist and critical race theorists on issues of difference and diversity in the academy. Starting with the critiques voiced towards discourses of ‘diversity’ – which has become the dominant paradigm to address ‘difference’ and inequality in education – I continue by discussing the analyses developed by post-colonial, feminist and critical race scholars that may provide an answer for the persistence of the ‘institutional wall’ which – despite firm commitments to ‘diversity – forestalls any real change or inclusivity of ‘other’ bodies, perspectives and knowledges. In a second part of the article, I reflect on the dilemmas that arise for scholars driven by feminist and post-colonial perspectives, but working within those same academic environments that actively thwart the realization of the ideals put forward in these critical traditions. By reflecting on what can actually be done within this restraining environment, I make a distinction between tactics and strategies which – although not immediately able to completely subvert an entrenched legacy of institutional oppression and exclusion – may inspire further discussion and activism, and may contribute to weakening the wall currently forestalling transformational change.
Journal: Verslagen van het Centrum voor genderstudies - UGent
ISSN: 1781-1902
Issue: 1
Volume: 6
Pages: 25-44
Number of pages: 19
Publication year:2019
Keywords:decolonization, diversity, university