Is the University Colonial?: Critical Conversations on Its Past, Present & Future

In this three-part series, the University of Connecticut's Office of Global Affairs and University of Nottingham’s Institute for Policy and Engagement will be hosting three online panel discussions, each with a focus on decolonizing education. Speakers will examine the role that universities have had in cultivating racism and (settler) colonialism, the present challenges they face in disbanding unequal and oppressive narratives, as well as the future opportunities to contribute meaningfully to an anti-racist and anti-colonial agenda.

Select Readings & Multimedia

For engaged discussion, we recommend the below readings and resources.


“We Need a Radical Imagination,” interviewed by Wandia Njoya for The Elephant (July 4, 2020).

Academy Dialogues: Owning Our Stories | Lulu Wang, Misan Sagay, Elle-Máijá Tailfathers & More (September 3, 2020).

“Fanon, the Teacher,” Frantz Fanon: A Colloquium, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research (presented on March 5, 2020; posted April 25, 2020). Q&A.

“How to Make a Dress: Domestic Labor, Internationalism, and the Radical Pedagogy of Elizabeth Catlett,” The People's Forum (February 29, 2020).

"Don't Forget Indigenous Struggles On Thanksgiving." NowThis. (November 19, 2019)

“Thinking from & within the Global South: Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Lewis R. Gordon & Maria Paula Meneses in Conversation,” CES TV (November 10, 2019).

“An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People,” The People's Forum (September 27, 2019).

“Decolonizing the American University | Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o,” Yale Council on African Studies (March 18, 2021).


Andrews, Abigail. “Constructing Mutuality: The Zapatistas’ Transformation of Transnational Activist Power Dynamics.Latin American Politics and Society. University of Miami, Spring 2010.

Anyon, Jean. "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work." Journal of Education (1980) Vol. 162, No. 1: 67-92.

Gordon, Jane Anna. "Beyond Anti-Elitism: Black Studies and the Pedagogical Imperative." Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies (2010) Vol. 32, No.2: 129-144.

Gordon, Jane Anna. "Creolizing educational practices." Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies (2018) Vol. 40, No. 1: 58-68.

Gordon, Lewis R. "Disciplining as a Human Science." Shifting Corporealities in Contemporary Performance, October 4, 2018: 233-250.

Hanson, Molly. "UK medical student creates handbook to show clinical symptoms on darker skin." Big Think, July 22, 2020.

Hui, T. Keung. "NC Rejects Native American Charter School. Was School too Negative About US History?" The News & Observer, December 5, 2019.

Keme, Emil, and Adam Coon. "For Abiayala to Live, the Americas Must Die: Toward a Transhemispheric Indigeneity." Native American and Indigenous Studies (2018) Vol. 5, No. 1 : 42-68.

Lee, Robert, and Tristan Ahtone. "Land Grab Universities: Expropriated Indigenous land is the foundation of the land-grant university system." High Country News, March 30, 2020.

Porter, Jody. "Northern Ontario First Nation Makes History with Its Community-based Curriculum." CBC, August 30, 2020.

Quijano, Anibal, and Michael Ennis. "Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism, and Latin America." Nepantla: Views from South. (2000) Vol. 1, No. 3: 533-580.

Rivera Cusicanqui, Silvia. "Ch’ixinakaxutxiwa: A Reflection on the Practices and Discourses of Decolonization." South Atlantic Quarterly (2012) Vol. 111, No. 1: 95–109.

Robbins, Hannah. "If the university is colonial, what can our institutions do to bring about change?" University of Nottingham Vision Blog.

Sepúlveda III, Enrique. “Toward a Pedagogy of Acompañamiento: Mexican Migrant Youth Writing from the Underside of Modernity.Harvard Educational Review (2011) Vol 81, Issue 3: 550–573.

Tuck, Eve and K. Wayne Yang. "Decolonization is Not a Metaphor." Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society (2012) Vol. 1, No. 1: 1-40

Wolfe, Patrick. "Settler colonialism and the elimination of the native." Journal of Genocide Research (2006) Vol. 8, No. 4: 387-409


Betasamosake Simpson, Leanne. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance (Indigenous Americas). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, October 2017.

Burman, Erica. Fanon, Education, Action: Child as Method. New York, NY: Routledge 2019.

Césaire, Aimé, Joan Pinkham, and Robin D.G. Kelley. Discourse on Colonialism. New York, NY: New York University Press, 2000.

Frantz Fanon. The Wretched of the Earth. New York, NY: Grove Press, 2005.

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2000

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Heart. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018.

Gordon, Lewis R. Disciplinary Decadence: Living Thought in Trying Times. New York, NY: Routledge, 2007.

Grande, Sandy. Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Hall, Gary. The Uberfication of the University. Forerunners: Ideas First Series. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, August 2016.

Harney, Stefano and Fred Moden. The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study. Autonomedia, 2013.

Hooks, Bell. Teaching Community A Pedagogy of Hope. New York, NY: Routledge Taylor Francis, 2003.

Klinenberg, Eric. Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic. New York, NY: Penguin Random House, 2019.

Mignolo, Walter D. , and Catherine E. Walsh. On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018.

Shield, Alayna, et al. Education in Movement Spaces : Standing Rock to Chicago Freedom Square. New York, NY: Routledge, 2020.

Spooner, Marc and James McNinch. Dissident Knowledge in Higher Education. Regina, Canada: University of Regina Press, 2018.

Thomas, Dave and Jason Arday. Doing Equity and Diversity for Success in Higher Education: Redressing Structural Inequalities in the Academy. London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.

Williams, Bianca C., Dian D. Squire and Frank A. Tuitt. Plantation Politics and Campus Rebellions: Power, Diversity, and the Emancipatory Struggle in Higher Education (SUNY series, Critical Race Studies in Education). Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2021.

Woodson, Carter G. and Tony Darnell. The Mis-Education of the Negro. Suwanee, GA: 12th Media Services, 2017.



Rethinking Black-Jewish Relations featuring Marc Dollinger & Lewis R. Gordon, Adventures in Jewish Studies Podcast, Season 2, episode 7, American Jewish Studies Association (2020).

Examining the Red Pedagogy Indigenous Curriculum with Art Hughes, featuring Sandy Grande (Quechua) and Brenda Dial Deese (Lumbee), Native America Calling: Your National Electronic Talking Circle, (December 3, 2019).

Lewis R. Gordon “A Conversation on Freedom, Justice, and Decolonization,” Decoloniality/Southern Epistemology Series, Penn State University (March 12, 2021).