The "Decolonial Turn": What Does It Mean for Academic Staff Development?

  • Jo-Anne Vorster Senior lecturer Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning Rhodes University
  • Lynn Quinn Associate Professor Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning Rhodes University
Keywords: academic staff development, transformation, decolonial turn, social realism, curriculum

Abstract

It has become increasingly evident that the discourse of transformation that has shaped the democratising of higher education institutions over the first two decades of the democratic dispensation in South Africa has now run its course. Over the past few years, and particularly during the tumultuous student protests of 2015 and 2016, students and some academics have been calling for the decolonisation of university structures and cultures, including curricula. Using concepts from Margaret Archer’s social realism we consider the failure of the discourse of transformation  to lead to real change and examine a constellation of new discourses related to the decolonisation of universities that have emerged in South Africa recently. Furthermore, we critique the discourses that have underpinned our own practices as academic developers over the past two decades and then explore the implications of what could be termed a “decolonial turn†for academic developers and by implication for the academics with whom they work.

Published
2017-04-06
Section
Articles