Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences


Panel event: Getting educated about decolonising the curriculum

07 June 2021, 2:00 pm–3:00 pm

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Event Information

Open to





Bethany Wells

“Does Decolonising the Curriculum go far enough in making concrete change or is the decolonising agenda a tokenistic “virtual signal” by universities?" 

  • Speakers: Dr Manjeet Ramgotra, Dr Toyin Agbetu, Harshadha Balasubramanian, Mahalia Changlee and Priya Raghavan.
  • Chair: Professor Sasha Roseneil (Dean of the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences, Pro Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion) 

Over the last five years, decolonising the curriculum has become a consistent part of mainstream dialogue around the educational system. The Black Lives Matter movement and an increase in student campaigns has created an environment where decolonising the curriculum has become an expectation students have of their university faculty.  

Regardless, uncertainty around what decolonising the curriculum consists of and whether such efforts are enough are attitudes present for students and staff today. This panel discussion event will provide an opportunity for staff and students to investigate these questions with people who specialise in this subject area and have been vocal about decolonised curricula in Higher Education over the last few years.

About the Speakers

Dr Manjeet Ramgotra 

Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS University London

Dr Manjeet Ramgotra is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS University London.  In addition, she holds an ISRF Independent Scholar Fellowship and is a Visiting Research Fellow at QMUL. Her research examines republicanism in both classical European and anti-colonial thought and practice.  She is an advocate of decolonising the political theory canon and curriculum.  Currently, she is co-editing a new political theory textbook called Rethinking Political Thinkers. 

Dr Toyin Agbetu

Community Educator at Ligali

Dr Toyin Agbetu is a community-educator at Ligali, a UK based, Pan African, human-rights focused organisation. As a radical grassroots collective, Ligali adopts a scholar-activist approach to challenging Afriphobia and the misrepresentation of African people, culture and history in the media, public spaces and public services. Toyin is also an independent filmmaker and neo-museologist dedicated to reparatory and social justice, critical pedagogy, decoloniality and actively reframing Britain’s cultural institutions as powerful engines of political and social transformation through Exhibitionary Praxis. He studied social and cultural anthropology at University College London (UCL) and his research interests include education and community development, counter publics and urban social movements, cultures of protest, gentrification and governmental/institutional forms of activism.

Harshadha Balasubramanian

PhD candidate at Department of Anthropology at UCL

Harshadha Balasubramanian is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UCL, and she collaborates with advisors at the Royal College of Art. A defining feature of her research so far has been foregrounding experiences of disability and marginalised somatic practices to rethink the normative aesthetics and methods of ethnographic fieldwork. Drawing on a background in performance and journalism, Harsha experiments with multimedia tools to capture intimate co-production of knowledge with interlocutors, such as art installations, workshops, and documentaries. Harsha’s current project, funded by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership, explores the experiences of artists adopting virtual reality (VR) in the UK, asking how they contribute to shaping ideas about what and whom VR is for. 

Mahalia Changlee

Activist/Musician/UCL Anthropology alumni

Mahalia graduated with a 1st in BSc Anthropology at UCL in 2017 with a dissertation on American police brutality and development of Black Lives Matter movement.

During her time at UCL Mahalia founded the Decolonise the Curriculum movement within the Anthropology department, leading a team that developed a 26-page report on diversity in the curriculum and worked with PhD students to diversify reading lists. Mahalia presented at the UCL Education conference 2018 with a presentation on ‘How Universities Can Support Students of Colour Leading Decolonial Campaigns’. 


Since graduation Mahalia has continued her activism through her art, as a musician under the moniker ‘Amahla’ she has received critical acclaim for her socio-political songwriting and distinctive voice, most recently as a nominee for the Ivor Novello Rising Star award for songwriting excellence. As a writer she has written for publications including Gal-Dem and Line of Best Fit, she is interested most in the intersections between music, politics and storytelling. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic Mahalia has been working alongside communities in East London within mutual aid groups and alongside Hackney council coordinating food for those most in need.

Priya Raghavan

Post-doctoral Researcher at Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

Having recently completed a PhD in Gender Studies at the London School of Economics, Priya is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. Priya's PhD research draws on post-colonial and decolonial feminist theory to interrogate dominant accounts of sexual violence in India. Her post-doctoral research examines how women’s movements in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan respond to, and sustain gains in the face of, backlash.