Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences


Decolonising the Curriculum in SHS and A&H: A Joint Faculty Conference

20 November 2019, 1:00 pm–4:30 pm

Decolonising the Curriculum banner

A joint faculty mini-conference to share experiences about 'decolonising' their curricula.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Dr Caroline Garaway


Room G13
1-19 Torrington Place
United Kingdom

In this mini conference staff and students from the Joint Faculties will share experiences of what they have done in their own departments to ‘decolonise’ their curricula. How one interprets decolonisation is likely to be subject specific and there are many different types of activities that could be associated with it. These might include, but are not limited to, reviewing reading lists and syllabi, creating new modules or revamping old ones, creative use of archive materials and other media, departmental societies and working groups, subject relevant reading groups. In this session student and staff teams will present the work they have been doing in their department with particular emphasis on presenting the lessons they have learned and advice on how it could be tried in other departments.

This session will be of interest to staff and students who would like ideas about what kind of activities they could try in their own departments by learning more about initiatives that have been going on elsewhere across the Faculties.


1.00 – 1.15        Registration

1.15 –1.30        Welcome and Introduction (Shalaka Bapat 4th yr Anthropology UG)

1:30- 1:50         Decolonising Philosophy (Nikhil Venkatesh)

1:55 - 2:15        “The Other” in UCL Library Audio-visual Collections (Vladimir Smith Mesa) Library Services)

2.20 - 2.40        Decolonising Economics  (Wendy Carlin & Ramin Nassehi and Vandita Garg)

2:40– 3:00        Q&A plenary

3.00 - 3.15        Tea & Coffee

3.15 - 3:35        Decolonising Anthropology (Vanessa Hall & Ludo Coupaye)

3:35 – 3:45       Q&A

3:50 -  4:10       Inclusive Curriculum: Content Analysis to Establish a Baseline (Dada, R., Arshad, M., Elliott, C., Khan, M., Vassanth, V.)

4:10 – 4:20       Q&A

4:20 - 4:30        Evaluation / What next? (Anne Kimunguyi History 2nd yr UG

Descriptions of talks

Decolonising Philosophy (Nikhil Venkatesh)

Philosophy has a traditional canon composed almost entirely of wealthy white men, some of whom were notably involved in colonialism and racist thought. It is also a profession lacking in diversity, becoming whiter the further up the ranks one looks. The 'Minorities and Philosophy' (MAP) movement, which has a chapter at UCL, seeks to challenge this. I will talk about what we do with MAP, and about some of the particular issues that decolonisation raises for philosophy.

“The Other” in UCL Library Audio-visual Collections by Smith Mesa, V.  (Library Services)

This presentation presents  work on a project entitled: 'The Other & the Moving Image', which examined not only the relationship between the moving image and different art forms, but also, and in particular, how the moving image helps to visualise 'otherness’, making marginalised voices and cultural experiences visible. The project was based on UCL Library collections, disseminating our audio-visual materials, and identifying areas for improvement. Through presenting what was done in the project, the presentation demonstrates the significance that relevant library collections have to an academic curriculum, especially in finding ways to 'decolonise' curricula, focusing on cultural awareness, human rights, disabilities, race, gender, LGBT and social equality.” The project received a grant from UCL Connected Curriculum's Liberating the Curriculum Working Group and was supported by UCL Institute of the Americas, UCL MA Film Studies and MA African Studies. For more information you can follow the links below:

Decolonising Economics (Wendy Carlin, Ramin Nassehi and Vandita Garg)

We will talk about how we are decolonising the topics, examples, authorship and classroom in our discipline.

Decolonising Anthropology (Vanessa Hall and Ludo Coupaye)

In this talk we will discuss how undergraduate students in Anthropology came to design their own module – ‘decolonising anthropology’ , which will run for the first time this academic year. We will talk about the problems and opportunities that arise when students are actively involved in curriculum design.

Inclusive Curriculum: Content Analysis to Establish a Baseline (Political Science)

In this presentation, we will explain how we used content analysis to code Political Science reading lists. The aim was to find out how inclusive they are in terms of gender and ethnicity of the authors as well as the range of topics and approaches covered. We also produced infographics to make these results easy to communicate. We will give an overview of our findings as well as explaining how we went about it, how we will use the data and infographics, and how other departments could run similar projects.

Rachel Dada (MSc Public Policy, 2018-19)

Muminah Arshad (MSc Global Governance and Ethics, 2018-19)

Cathy Elliott (Senior Teaching Fellow, Political Science)

Mehreen Khan (MSc International Public Policy, 2018-19)

Varun Vassanth (BSc Philosophy, Politics and Economics)

Other members of the team who can't join us but whose work was crucial to the project include: Jotepreet Bhandal, Iweta Kalinowska, Robert Lipinski, Fiona Shilston.