Epistemic (in)justice and decolonisation in higher education: experiences of a cross- site teaching project


  • Su-ming Khoo National University of Ireland, Ireland
  • Witold Mucha Heinrich Heine University, Germany
  • Christina Pesch Heinrich Heine University, Germany
  • Cori Wielenga University of Pretoria, South Africa




Epistemic justice, Decolonisation, Higher education


Higher education has been strongly contested in recent times, on the grounds of its role in reproducing epistemic injustice, leading to calls to ‘decolonise’ institutions, curricula and teaching practices. Meanwhile, the practice of epistemic critique also points to potentials for challenge, learning and change. This article offers critical reflections in two distinct moments of time: firstly, reflections on experiences of a cross-site teaching project (2016) involving three of the authors (Mucha, Pesch and Wielenga) from the Departments of Political Science at the Universities of Düsseldorf (Germany) and Pretoria (South Africa) in an academic virtual collaboration project using shared classes and video-conferencing tools to study peace-building, human mobility and mediation. Secondly, the writing process for this article has involved a further collaborative author (Khoo) to comment upon and theorise curriculum-making and teaching experiences. We look at the different contexts in each country and how far the curricula and syllabi at both universities can be supplemented by cross-site teaching elements to deal with epistemic asymmetries in higher education reflexively, while leaning towards a more just knowledge (re)production. Some key challenges and limitations of the cross-site project are also discussed.


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