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Webinar: The Contribution of Universities to Racial Justice

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

Society for Research in Higher Education Webinar

Dr Foluke Ifejola Adebisi and Prof André Keet

This event was part of the Society for Research in Higher Education’s (SRHE) South West network, and was convened by Professor Rajani Naidoo (University of Bath) and Dr Lisa Lucas (University of Bristol) in collaboration with the International Centre for Higher Education Management (University of Bath) and CriSHET (Nelson Mandela University, South Africa). It was held in July 2020, via Zoom.

Global protests in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police have refocused attention on racism around the world. The Black Lives Matter movement, highlighting how the lives of black people are jeopardised by racism and calling for the sustained transformation of our communities, has gained international momentum and intersectional solidarity. Racial and other inequalities are also replicated within universities. This webinar focuses on the ways in which higher education contributes to racial and other injustices and the possibilities for universities to contribute to social justice through decolonising and transforming the university.

The webinar was chaired by Professor Rajani Naidoo who opened the webinar after the two presentations to questions and further discussion. The first speaker was Dr Foluke Ifejola Adebisi – a Senior Lecturer at the Law School, University of Bristol whose scholarship focuses on decolonial thought in legal education. She is also co-designer of a Law and Race unit, one of the very few of its kind in the UK. She convened the first ‘Decolonisation and the Law’ conference at the University of Bristol. Her decolonial scholarship, which is pedagogical as well as jurisprudential, examines what happens at the intersection of legal education, law, society and a history of changing ideas of what it means to be human. Foluke is particularly interested in academic concerns that arise from ensuring equality, inclusion and diversity within teaching practice in law and how these intersect with environmental degradation, global inequality and the potential for imagining an egalitarian future for humanity.

The second speaker was Professor André Keet – Research Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation (CriSHET) at Nelson Mandela University; and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Engagement and Transformation Portfolio of the University. He is a former Visiting Professor at the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality, Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University, UK and the 2018 Marsha Lilien Gladstein Visiting Professor of Human Rights at the University of Connecticut. Andre is the current Chairperson of the Ministerial Oversight Committee on Higher Education Transformation in South Africa and has served as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the South African Human Rights Commission and as Commissioner on the Commission for Gender Equality. He is a former member of the Council on Higher Education and the Higher Education Quality Committee. His research focuses on four areas: critical university studies; higher education transformation; social justice and education; and human rights, democracy and citizenship education.

To find out more about the work CriSHET does, visit us here.


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