IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


VIRTUAL EVENT: Learning whiteness: material, epistemic and affective relations of higher education

16 September 2021, 2:00 pm–3:00 pm

University students studying in the library. Image: Tony Slade for UCL Digital Media

In this talk, Arathi Sriprakash will draw on her forthcoming book with Sophie Rudolph and Jessica Gerrard to outline a threefold framework for examining the constitutive workings of racism in higher education.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Carly Brownbridge

Focusing specifically on higher education in the British and British settler-colonial contexts, Arathi Sriprakash will demonstrate the material, the epistemic and the affective ways in which whiteness is ‘learned’ in the sector. To see whiteness as learned is to recognise that it can be confronted.

During this seminar, Sriprakash hopes to encourage dialogue on how we can collectively reckon with the past and present politics of higher education in order to imagine different futures for it.

This event will be particularly useful for those interested in racism, coloniality, and global higher education.


  • Chair: Xin Xu, University of Oxford
  • Arathi Sriprakash, University of Bristol.

Racism and Coloniality in Global Higher Education series

This Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE) webinar series explores what global racial equity would mean for the future of higher education and addresses the challenges of decolonising research systems and pedagogic cultures. 


The aim is to promote knowledge of, and commitment to, anti-racism within universities, and amongst researchers and policymakers. Contributors will reflect on colonial institutional legacies, racialised institutional cultures, and the power of ‘whiteness’, drawing on empirical research in a range of higher education contexts.

Questions to address
  • Why are the legacies of colonialism often overlooked, or erased, in favour of a ‘colour blind’ analysis of global higher education’s hierarchies and inequalities?
  • Is the institutional racism of today’s universities a historical legacy or a resurgent cultural dynamic, intersected by the geopolitics of internationalisation?
  • What can we learn about the structural inequalities of the global knowledge system from critical geographers and scholars in science and technology studies?
  • What forms of profound and transformational change would be needed to create racial equity in global higher education and research?
  • How are universities, faculties and students, addressing these colonial legacies?
  • Can owning ‘whiteness’ and acknowledging white privilege – along with the JEDI agenda (justice, equality, diversity and inclusion) – help move these debates forward?
More events in this series

Tuesday 7 September, 2 to 3pm (UK)

Thursday 9 September, 2 to 3pm (UK)

Tuesday 14 September, 2 to 3pm (UK)

Tuesday 21 September, 2 to 3pm (UK)

Tuesday 28 September, 2 to 3pm (UK)

Thursday 30 September, 2 to 3pm (UK)


Image: Tony Slade for UCL Digital Media