Drawing a line in the sand: social mapping of responses to calls to ‘decolonise the university’
Keywords:social mapping, decolonise; hybrids, radicals, conservatives
The task of decolonisation is convoluted as the complexities of meanings as well as the multiple dimensions of decolonisation are vast and textured, depending on one’s vantage point and vested interests. This situation warrants a critical examination of what decolonisation has come to mean in the global South and how different subjectivities at a particular academic institution in the country are responding to the call for change.
The academic, social and political movement of decolonisation evokes a variety of reactions, responses and repercussions from a wide spectrum of the university community and its stakeholders. Ranging from conservative to radical, these responses reflect the range of discourses, values, beliefs and actions that the academic community embraces and might determine the extent to which the decolonisation movement can in fact succeed in its goals. This chapter critically analyses responses to the calls for decolonisation of the academy by #Fallist student movement. The aim is to ascertain whether the vision for transforming a largely socially exclusive and unjust academic project into one that is socially just, inclusive and transformed can be actualised in spite of resistance from those who wish to maintain the status quo. Reproducing old ways and patterns based on views of gratitude and charity by some academics has become confused with a social justice agenda and needs to be called out. Drawing on the work of Andreotti et al (2015), the paper uses social cartography (Paulston, 2009) as a discursive and analytical tool to understand the vocabularies and imaginaries of decolonisation at a research-intensive, traditional university.