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Decolonising the Academy: Education, Power and Social Change

Venue: Online

This event has ended.

  • Please note: this event will be hosted digitally via Microsoft Teams. A link to join will be sent to attendees on Wednesday 20th January, 2021
  • Please note: this event will be recorded

2020 was a momentous year, where anti-racist and decolonial activism came to the fore in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. However even as Colston’s statue was toppled and Donald Trump defeated, a senior Government minister has attacked Critical Race Theory and universities UK report states that UK higher education institutions are guilty of institutionalised racism. So how are higher education institutions going to move beyond mere paper pushing exercises and performative gestures to really address the legacies of empire and the contemporary practices that continue to have an adverse impact on global black and brown majority communities? What is the role of the role of education in bringing about academic and societal transformation in relation to the vexed issue of racial justice? And can the academic space be a site for change?

To answer these questions and to kick off Birkbeck’s decolonising the academy’s collective series we have invited two brilliant activist intellectuals who are the cutting edge of decolonial thought to get us started. Kehinde Andrews is Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University and author of the forthcoming The New Age of Empire: How Racism and Colonialism Still Rule the World. (February 2021) he will be joined by Nadine El-Enany Senior Lecturer in Law and author of (B)ordering Britain: Law, Race and Empire.

The Decolonising the Academy Collective at Birkbeck is a new initiative emanating from the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, which builds on the earlier work of the Decolonising the Curriculum Working Group at Birkbeck. Our aim is to develop creative, innovative and transformative learning spaces tasked with liberating the academy from the legacies of colonialism and empire.

  • Dr William Ackah Chair and Hub Leader Research
  • Elizabeth Charles Hub Leader Resources
  • Dr Jan Etienne Hub Leader Student Experience
  • Dr Kerry Harman Hub Leader Teaching and Learning

Contact name:

  • Professor Kehinde Andrews -

    Kehinde Andrews is Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University. His research focuses on resistance to racism and grassroots organisations. His latest book Black to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century was published in 2018. He also wrote Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement in 2013 and is editor of the Blackness in Britain book series with Zed Books. His next book, The New Age of Empire: How Racism and Colonialism Still Rule the World will be published in February 2021 by Penguin Allen Lane in the UK and Bold Type Books in the US. Kehinde has written opinions pieces for outlets including the Guardian, Independent, Washington Post and CNN.  Kehinde is founder of the Harambee Organisation of Black Unity; and co-chair of the Black Studies Association.

  • Dr Nadine El-Enany -

    Nadine El-Enany is Reader in Law at Birkbeck School of Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Law (@CentreRaceLaw). Nadine teaches and researches in the fields of migration and refugee law, European Union law, protest and criminal justice. Her current research projects, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, focus on questions of race and justice in death in custody cases, and the role of law in addressing health inequalities arising from environmental harm. Nadine has written for the Guardian, the LRB Blog, Pluto Blog, Verso Blog, Open Democracy, Media Diversified, Left Foot Forward and Critical Legal Thinking. Her book, (B)ordering Britain: law, race and empire (2020) is published by Manchester University Press.