Document Actions

Critical Pedagogies Group Annual Lecture 2017

What does it mean to decolonise science?

Speaker: Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (University of Washington)

Respondent: Eddie Bruce-Jones (School of Law, Birkbeck)

Friday 5 May 2017, 15:00-17:00, MAL 416

This event is free and open to the public. Booking via Eventbrite is essential

About the lecture

"Decolonisation" has gained entrance into the popular discourse about diversity, academia, and politics. But what does it mean and do we mean it when we say it? In this talk, I will explore this question with a particular focus on making room for Black women and gender minorities to succeed in physics.

About Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is a theoretical physicist at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is an active researcher at the intersection of physics and astronomy and is PI on a grant to investigate philosophical questions relating to the history of racism and colonialism in science. She holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University (USA) and a PhD from the University of Waterloo (Canada). Dr. Prescod-Weinstein is one of very few Black American women with a PhD in physics.

Access information

The building and room are wheelchair accessible with accessible toilets nearby.  If you face other access barriers or require more detailed accessibility information, please let us know so we can support your full participation.  If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.  For more information, contact Jennifer Fraser (

Annual Lecture 2015

Intersectional Approaches and Anti-essentialist Pedagogy: Some Reflections on Law Teaching

Speaker: Eddie Bruce-Jones (School of Law, Birkbeck)

Respondent: Yasmeen Narayan (Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck)

Monday 18 May 2015

Hosted by Birkbeck Critical Pedagogies Group

A podcast of this lecture is available.

About the lecture

Teaching law in a reflective, critical and anti-essentialist way is anything but straight-forward. It involves using a range of mutually informing and, at times, seemingly contradictory approaches. Reconciling these various approaches is a perpetual process that is essential for critical engagement with law as a discipline, set of rules, and system of knowledge practices. In legal academia, questions about legality are followed closely by questions regarding the morality of legal rules, the construction of the legal subject, and the nature of law itself. All of these questions need to be in the purview of legal learning and teaching if it is to be committed to anti-essentialism, and intersectionality is a pivotal mode of analysis for engaging these questions. This paper seeks to illustrate the continued importance of intersectional analysis in legal education, specifically in the areas of equality law, human rights law and anti-racism lawyering. Intersectional analysis provides not only a useful lens for making visible the obscured epistemological and material positions of groups ‘at the intersection’, but also constitutes one of various approaches that must be discussed simultaneously if one is to rigorously investigate the potential for anti-essentialist modes of teaching and learning about law.

About Eddie Bruce-Jones

Eddie is a lecturer in law at Birkbeck, where he teaches courses on European Union law, migration law, equality law, state violence, legal anthropology and human rights.  His activism-led research includes work on deaths in police custody in the UK and Germany, comparative anti-discrimination law, and archival work on migration, diaspora & ancestral memory.  He is currently finishing a manuscript on Black-led legal activism in Germany, titled Race and Unruliness:  Legal Heresy and Anti-racist Praxis.  Eddie is an academic fellow at the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple and serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute of Race Relations and the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group.

Access information

The building and room are wheelchair accessible with accessible toilets nearby.  If you face other access barriers or require more detailed accessibility information, please let us know so we can support your full participation.  If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.  For more information, contact Jennifer Fraser ( 020 3073 8062)

Annual Lecture 2013

Making postcolonial people

Mrinalini Greedharry (Laurentian University, Canada)

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Hosted by Birkbeck Critical Pedagogies Group and Birkbeck Insitute for Gender and Sexuality

A podcast of this lecture is available at

About the lecture

How do we make ourselves in the passage from critique of colonialism to being postcolonial? I pose this question in terms of an identity that is not yet commonplace to highlight the contingent ways in which critique becomes, or fails to become, a new way of being. Drawing on the autobiographical accounts that colonial critics such as Edward Said, Sara Suleri and Gayatri Spivak, give of their postcolonial transformations, I will examine the potential of life-writing as a form for critical pedagogy. Given the history of colonialism and its forms of knowledge, writing the self is not, in this context, primarily a matter of self-expression.  Instead, I will make an argument for its redeployment as a form for making up new kinds of people.

About Mrinalini Greedharry

Mrinalini's research focuses on how the practices, organization and theory of studying English literature engender postcolonial subjects, which continues her longstanding interest in the ways that postcolonial theory produces new ways of thinking about subject-formation generally. She is the author of Postcolonial Theory and Psychoanalysis (Palgrave Macmillan 2008) and currently teaches in the Department of English and Interdisciplinary Humanities MA at Laurentian University, Canada.

Annual Lecture 2012

Movements, academia, and social processes of knowledge production: reflections on pedagogy and public spheres

Hilde C. Stephansen (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Monday 14 May 2012

Hosted by Birkbeck Critical Pedagogies Group and the Centre for Media, Culture and Creative Practice.

About the lecture

This talk will link the notion of critical pedagogy to broader social processes of knowledge production taking place outside or at the borders of academia. Developing a conception of social movements as knowledge producers, and adopting a perspective that emphasises the epistemic dimension of domination and emancipation, I will consider the significance of some current developments. Drawing on my recent research, I will focus on the World Social Forum (WSF) as a space of radical epistemic plurality that can facilitate pedagogical encounters across difference, providing concrete examples from the practices of alternative media activists. I will also offer some thoughts on the current Occupy movement, suggesting that its significance lays in the emphasis that activist place on collective knowledge production and mutual learning in their search for alternatives. Both the WSF and Occupy can be conceived as efforts to create public spheres in which academic and other forms of knowledge intersect in creative ways, raising questions about the privileged status of the university and the role that we as academic practitioners might play in broader social processes of knowledge production.

About Hilde C. Stephansen

Hilde C. Stephansen is a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Department of Sociology and a Research Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy at Goldsmiths, University of London. She recently received a PhD in Sociology for a thesis which explored the character and significance of media and communication in the World Social Forum, focusing on their relationship to processes of knowledge production and to the politics of place and scale in transnational social movement networks. Her research interests include the World Social Forum and social movements; alternative/citizens' media and new communications technologies; media, participation and public spheres; feminist and non-Western epistemologies; 'global' ethnography and the politics of research; activism and academia.