Decolonising the Curriculum – Visiting Speaker Series 7

Decolonizing higher education: the university in the new age of Empire

Please join us for a talk by Professor Penny Enslin, University of Glasgow, UK.



13:00 Welcome by Chair, Dr Andrea English
13:05 Talk by Professor Panjwani
13:45 Discussion
14:15 Close


Like all its institutions, universities in the United Kingdom are a product of Britain’s imperial and colonial past and its resulting advantages. Curriculum and institutional practices that reflect and represent only the experiences and interests of those who have benefitted from Empire are both unjust and educationally unsound. Calls to decolonize higher education rest, with reason, on the need to address that past and its enduring effects, but what does this require? Reaching agreement that universities are imbricated in and beneficiaries of a colonial past and of ongoing coloniality is a necessary first step. Thereafter the complexity of deciding on grounds for further action should not be underestimated, particularly when it comes to the idea of decolonizing the curriculum. Basing curricular decisions on activism against targets that most offend, as against deliberation framed by educationally justifiable criteria, would not be the best course of action when approaching the project of decolonization. This contribution focuses on some preliminary considerations and recommendations that include exploring the meaning of Empire and its continuing evolution.



Professor Penny Enslin joined the School of Education as Chair in Education and Director of the EdD programme in 2006, from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where she is Emeritus Professor in the School of Education. At Wits University she served as Head of the Department of Education and as Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Humanities. Before joining Wits University she taught History and Religious Instruction in secondary schools in Johannesburg.

Recent publications include:

Enslin, P. (2020) Monuments after empire? The educational value of imperial statues. Journal of Philosophy of Education, (doi: 10.1111/1467-9752.12520) (Early Online Publication)

Enslin, P. and Horsthemke, K. (2018) Rethinking the ‘Western tradition’. In: Peters, M. A. and Mika, C. (eds.) The Dilemma of Western Philosophy. Series: Educational philosophy and theory. Routledge, pp. 42-50. ISBN 9781138080614

Enslin, P. (2017) Postcolonialism and education. In: Noblit, G. W. (ed.) Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190264093 (doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.4)

Enslin, P. (2016) Europe and the post colony: possibilities for cosmopolitanism. In: Papastephanou, M. (ed.) Cosmopolitanism: Educational, Philosophical and Historical Perspectives. Series: Contemporary Philosophies and Theories in Education (9). Springer: Dordrecht, pp. 151-162. ISBN 9783319304281 (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-30430-4_11)

Enslin, P. and Tjiattas, M. (2017) Getting the measure of measurement: global educational opportunity. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 49(4), pp. 347-361. (doi: 10.1080/00131857.2015.1048667)



This series on Decolonising the Curriculum is sponsored by The Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain; University of Edinburgh’s Moray House School of Education and Sport, Race Equality Subgroup; and The Centre for Education on Racial Equality in Scotland.

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