Introduction to Decolonisation

Lesson Plans: Week 1

‘The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house’: Introduction to key concepts and overview of the module

ILOs for the convener and students this week:

  • Grow decolonisation terminology
  • Develop an understanding of decolonisation
  • Differentiate between different forms of colonisation and the terminology used when researching decolonisation

Lesson Structure

Activity 1: Introduction / icebreaker of convener’s choice (allocated time: 15 minutes)

The convener should introduce themself, also allowing time for the students to introduce themselves if necessary. The convener should describe the overall concept of the module: how it works and is envisioned in practice and what assessments are involved — with a particular focus on the self-reflective journal.

Activity 2: Discussion about the term ‘decolonial’ (allocated time: 5 minutes)

The convener should use as a prompt the Audre Lorde quotation, ‘the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house’, for students to discuss what ‘decolonial’ means to them, where they have seen this term before, and why they are interested in learning more about decolonial perspectives.

Question prompt: What are the Master’s tools (in the context of decolonisation)?

Students can discuss in pairs or groups, and contribute ideas digitally and/or anonymously (e.g., using

Activity 3: Unpacking definitions (allocated time: 20 minutes)

The convener should give input of what decolonisation means by starting with the root word ‘colony’ and expanding to introduce the terms colonialism, decolonialism (historical period), and decolonial theory. The following videos, from the University of Exeter and Jadavpur University, can help frame the input:

The convener should not proceed before students understand the differences between these terms.

Activity 4: Case studies (allocated time: 20 minutes)

The convener should invite the students to examine two different case studies (below) and look for similarities and differences.

Activity 5: Homework/preparation for next week

The convener should ask students to pick one scholar from the suggested reading list and do research on their background, writings, concepts, and ideas. This will be needed for the session next week.

Additional (optional) activity: reflection on art

If there is time during the session, the below can be introduced to students in class. However, if there isn’t any time, students could read/watch these pieces in their own time. This is meant as a note on which to end the session as well as a useful prompt for students to remember to work on their journal entry.

Supporting information for this lesson can be found here.