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ACUSAfrica WEBINAR: Sustainability, transdisciplinarity & the public epistemic role of HE

The recording of Su-ming Khoo's webinar on "Sustainability, transdisciplinarity and the public epistemic role of higher education" is now available. Held on the 7th of October 2021, this was the second installment in the ACUSAfrica Seminar Series. Su-ming's presentation - based on a chapter currently under review - was a rich exploration of the deep importance of the public space of higher education, woven together with critical questions about sustainability and the necessity of transdisciplinarity in the face of current global social challenges.


‘Sustainable development’, like all concepts of development, is an emergent and contested concept that cannot be abstracted from particularities of history and context - particularities that are weighted with power and contestation (Khoo 2015a; 2013). A great deal has been written about education and sustainability. While the role of education, and specifically higher education, is obviously significant, the role and importance of higher education are in many respects neglected in the transdisciplinary science ‘state of the art’.

This contribution specifically addresses the critical role of education and research in higher education, drawing on the radical roots of inter and trans-disciplinarity (Khoo et al 2019; Toomey et al 2015); noting higher education’s specific democratic role in fostering public reason (White 2017) and aspects of creativity, emergence and the transdisciplinary imagination (Lawrence 2010).


Su-ming Khoo is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science and Sociology, and leads the Socio-Economic Impact (Ryan Institute) and Environment, Development and Sustainability (Whitaker Institute) Research Clusters at NUI Galway. She researches and teaches on human rights, human development, public goods, development alternatives, decoloniality, global activism, development education and higher education.


This seminar was an initiative of Nelson Mandela University, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ghana.


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