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Decolonising the Classroom in Europe - how can we embrace emotions and create open, transformative spaces? [The Anthropology of Race and Ethnicity Network]
Olivia Barnett-Naghshineh (University of Exeter)
Antony Pattathu (University of Tübingen)
Time zone:
Thursday 23 July, 8:30-10:15, 11:00-12:45

Short abstract:

How can we reflect on the emotionality of the classroom as part of an "ethics of epistemic justice" (Shilliam 2018)? How can we avoid the silencing of non-white voices (Camufingo 2018)? We invite educators and students to take their classrooms as ethnographic fields of difficult emotions.

Long abstract:

Pushing the horizon of anthropology in Europe means to acknowledge arbitrary borders and violence that has been enacted for the sake of wealth accumulation within European nations. Anthropology and its institutional structures still need to push the horizon further, acknowledging "European others" as an integral part of the process of decolonising European Anthropology. As Ambalavaner Sivanandan stated, and movements of political blackness in the UK claimed in the 1980s, "we are here because you were there". In this panel we invite educators and students to take their classrooms as the field and reflect ethnographically on their positionality within this educational space considering the ongoing work of decolonising anthropology (O'Sullivan 2019). We invite contributors to consider what they imagine a decolonised Europe could look like and how the classroom could be a tool in this project including learning with students and the broad, experiential knowledge of "European others" (El-Tayeb 2011). How can embracing the emotionality of the classroom be a way to push for an "ethics of epistemic justice" (Shilliam 2018)? How can we avoid silencing non-white voices (Camufingo 2018)? How can what we do, say, not say, turn off some students and engage others? What is the experience of students when they are in the classroom? How do we handle the difficult conversations that students want to have, but academic staff often avoid? Inspired by Black feminist thought and Franz Fanon's linking of individual experience to structural phenomena, this panel welcomes the everyday, psychological and ephemeral moments of classroom interactions.