Education at Radboud University (RU) is very European and White. There are many perspectives, theories and methods from which students can learn, but since European knowledge is viewed as universal and objective, they have been neglected. This is harmful because it limits what students can learn at university. So RU must decolonize its education by including more non-Western perspectives in the curriculum.
There are hardly any scholars or authors of color in the curriculum for Radboud students. Philosophy students do not learn about Sophie Ullowell, a Nigerian philosopher who has been a pioneer in researching the African philosophical tradition. Literature students do not read the works of Anton de Com, the anti-colonial writer, activist, and militant. Oluwole and de Kom should be included in the school curriculum, but they are often forgotten or ignored because their work is inconsistent with the literature covered in the school curriculum. This stems from ideas that arose during the European colonial period in which European knowledge was viewed as superior to other knowledge systems.
Nikita Crowell, a master’s student, is one of the organizers of the Awareness Week against Racism. During this week, which begins today, various topics on racism will be discussed through lectures, movie evenings and discussions. In this way, the organizers hope to raise awareness in RU. Earlier, Crowell had already explained what motivated her to become an anti-racist activist and how the Russian Federation could do more.
All faculties focus on sciences based on European knowledge or methodology and students hardly ever learn about theories and methods developed by scholars outside Europe and North America. This indicates that only “Western” views matter, while other viewpoints can be rich.
The movement in academia to decolonize curricula began with #Rhodes Most FallMovement on University of Cape Town In South Africa. In 2015, students and teachers gathered there to demand the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes, the British imperialist and one of the founders of apartheid in South Africa. This movement spread across South Africa and the protests against the statues quickly grew into a broader movement to decolonize universities. Since then, universities in Europe have become more interested in the academic legacy of the colonial past. It is important for RU to take a step in this direction and add more color scholars and non-Western literature to the curriculum.
Decolonization on the Radboud River
at Fox-a tool In the past year, many political science students and professors have already spoken of highly European and one-sided approaches. Students indicated that this caused them to lose part of their scientific education. The lack of diversity also occurs in other study programs, while it is sometimes relatively easy to change this. For example, in a philosophy course at the Nijmegen School of Management, a different philosopher is discussed every week, but only Western philosophers are discussed. There, in the school curriculum, as with literature subjects, there is the possibility to add more thinkers from outside the West. These adjustments are important because African, Asian, and Latin American scholars bring important critical perspectives and theories. Then students get a broader and more complete picture of the scientific field and thus learn that Western knowledge is neither objective nor universal.
Decolonizing education will also raise awareness among students about the social consequences of colonialism and racism. These topics, which have not been revealed much so far, should receive more attention in the curricula of community oriented studies, as they still have a major impact on our society. Colorologists are better able to tell a story of colonialism and racism today. Not only do they offer unique experiences when it comes to racism, but they also offer unique solutions that stem from a deeper understanding of discrimination and exclusion. The work of Gloria Wicker, for example, showed that in the Netherlands conversations about racism are hampered because white Dutch view themselves as colorless and tolerant. Since Wekker suffered the negative consequences of racism herself, she was able to penetrate this self-image of white Dutch people and investigate how it developed.
Better representation of scholars of color in the curriculum and more attention to the consequences of colonialism and racism fits better on our diverse campus. Thus students of color see themselves as introduced in education and all students are introduced to a common history of colonialism. Therefore, a decolonization approach to education can contribute to an increase in concern for inequality.
Impact on the professional field
More interest in these subjects with the help of different perspectives and theories is important for study programs to prepare students well for the professional field. This also applies to medical school. Researchers Maaike Muntinga and Petra Verdonk show that people of color do not always receive proper care in the Netherlands. This is due to the fact that racism is rarely discussed in healthcare training. Discussing prejudices about people of color among future healthcare workers could be important in providing better care for that group. By taking patients of color and their complaints seriously, a correct diagnosis can be made at the right time. In addition, Western ideas and methods, such as the standard use of “white bodies” in health care education, can ensure that important differences do not get enough attention. While there are no normal racial differences between white and non-white bodies, skin conditions can look different on light or dark skin, for example. The Western view of the bodies falls short on some important points. As a result, students are not able to recognize these differences and are not fully prepared for their jobs.
One-sided perspective also has consequences for students and their future career in other faculties in RU. For example, journalists Vera Mulder and Riffy Bol noted that the media’s bias is harmful. They say: “ If you, as an editor, adhere to a certain tone, style, and worldview, you will unconsciously continue to choose authors who are similar to you – for example because you do not see or understand the value of the other. Point of view. Of course, this also plays a role at RU, as students are not yet taught the importance of different perspectives or experiences. By incorporating this into education, students become aware of other world views and learn to see the value of other perspectives. This can also affect the field of work. In the media, stories of people of color are given a more prominent place, politicians become more aware of the problems surrounding discrimination and managers take into account different people in the workplace.
Outside of education, the RU could also decolonize other regions. Students encourage the university to do this for some time. Just like an University of Cape Town, Where students wanted to remove the Colossus of Rhodes, RU students demanded that the Linnaeus building be renamed for several years now. Linnaeus was a biologist who developed racial theories. Several students, including Sarah Polihol, leader of the AKKUraadt party, demanded that the university speak out against racism after The black lives movement is importantProtests. This increased awareness led, among other things, to the appointment of a Program Director Diversity, Equality and Inclusion. Also Awareness Week against Racism, Which is taking place this week, is an initiative of students in cooperation with professors. Partly because of decolonization, students are already paying more attention to inequality.
It is now the mission of the university to continue this in the curriculum, as there is still a lot to be gained. Ultimately, students go to college to learn. If students at RU are constantly exposed to different perspectives and theories, this will have a positive effect on students, even when they leave university. That is why a space must be created within the university for different stories, styles, and knowledge. We are not responsible for unilateral European education, but we can change it.