Decolonising ScienceHumanities

The ScienceHumanities Summer School is currently underway in sunny Cardiff!

Participants were challenged by Dr Josie Gill (University of Bristol) to consider the similarities and the differences between decolonisation movements and interdisciplinary working practices, asking in particular what the ScienceHumanities might learn from decolonisation?

In response, the Summer School participants produced a manifesto and a series of recommendations for how ScienceHumanities work might do more to decolonise its content, methods and institutions.

We thought that what the participants produced in response to Josie’s session was too good not to share. The ScienceHumanities initiative in Cardiff will certainly be doing more to follow their suggestions. Many thanks to both Josie and the Summer School participants who have allowed us to reproduce the manifesto below.

 

A Manifesto for Decolonising ScienceHumanities

Decolonising ScienceHumanities means dismantling existing power structures, rethinking methodologies, and removing barriers to change at every level of the institution. This decolonisation must apply to curriculums and what is deemed to be canonical as well as the makeup of Departments and our own research projects. Such processes must move to encourage Departments to appreciate a more diverse body of research, as well as to ask challenging (but collegiate!) questions of our projects and the projects of others – who do we study and why? Who do we speak to? What institutional and disciplinary structures are in place in our work and how can we address and challenge these structures? We must ensure that institutions acknowledge factors such as race, class, gender, ability and others to ensure inclusivity and intersectionality. Funding for research and hierarchies associated with it must be questioned and rebalanced. We must always acknowledge our privilege and the privileges inherent in our study.

 

Recommendations

  • Institutionally recognise different forms of scholarship (with a focus on open source research)
  • Query and challenge the current definition of Impact
  • Find new ways of scholarly communication and discussion- e.g. roundtables and workshops over formal paper presentations
  • Encourage wider public engagement with ScienceHumanities (and humanities in general)
  • Reassess academic writing — register, readability, access

 

Summer School Participants 2019: Caroline Curtis (University of Birmingham), Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal (University of California, Davis), Loredana Filip (Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen), Elisabeth Haefs (University of Duisburg-Essen), Katalina Kopka (University of Bremen), Catherine Lee (Duke University), Christine Müller (University of Bremen), Aureo Lustosa Guerios Neto (University of Padua), Alexandra Morden Osborne (University of Bristol), Isabelle Staniaszek (University of Roehampton), Harriet Thompson (King’s College London), Subhashini Robert William (King’s College London).

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