Introduction to Decolonisation

Lesson Plans: Week 2

Introduction to key thinkers and theoretical debates

ILOs for the convener and students this week:

  • Interpret and critique scholars’ perspectives and arguments in students’ own terms
  • Compare and contrast postcolonial and decolonial theory
  • Identify links between key concepts and thinkers

Lesson Structure

Activity 1: Video and discussion (allocated time: 10-15 minutes)

Class discussion of Edward Said’s Framed: The Politics of Stereotypes in News. The video begins with a short introduction to Orientalism (until 1:15), after which it focuses on the representation of stereotypes in the news.

Discussion questions:

  • How does Edward Said define the concept of stereotype in news media?
  • According to Said, what are some of the consequences of stereotypes in news media?
  • How does Orientalism contribute to stereotypes and biases against the East?
  • In what ways has orientalism shaped Western perception of the East?

Activity 2: Key scholar posters and mind map (allocated time: 25 minutes)

The convener needs to bring materials for this activity: flipchart paper or similar, and markers or other writing implements.

Students should be grouped together based on the scholar they have chosen to research (from the list of further readings). They will work together to design a simple poster (on paper or digitally) that summarises that scholar’s history, positionality, main areas of research (including important vocabulary), and key argument(s).

Students will then have an opportunity to examine each other’s posters and make notes on concepts, terms, and arguments that overlap or consistently reoccur. As a class, they will then come together to discuss these ideas, ask questions, and debate the arguments they find most/least compelling; this discussion might be aided by the collective creation of a mind map, though this is optional.

This activity part will be facilitated by the convenor, who can organise it flexibly to suit class size, skill level, and convener’s preference.

These posters can be preserved, to be updated as appropriate during the following weeks.

Activity 3: Optional activity: discuss the Bhambra reading (allocated time: 15 minutes)

The convener may also wish to play, or share, this accompanying video of Prof Bhambra discussing the decolonisation of modern social theory.

Discussion questions:

  • What are the differences (and similarities) between postcolonial and decolonial theory?
  • How can Mignolo’s suggestion be linked to Maria Lugones’s proposal that postcolonialism and decoloniality offer the possibility of a new geopolitics of knowledge?

Additional activity: Art piece for the week’s self-reflection

This piece, Mona Haydar’s ‘Barbarian‘, 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. It can be watched in class if there is time, or by students in their own time if more appropriate.

Supporting information for this lesson can be found here.