“Prescription of the correct cure is dependent on a rigorous analysis of the reality.” Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Decolonising the Mind
The School of Oriental Studies began as a colonial project in 1916 to deepen Europe’s understanding of the Global South. “Africa” was eventually added to the schools name in 1938. With the 100th year of SOAS coming up, it’s important to assess the colonial origins of the institution and look ahead to the ways in which the school is developing. Despite being an institution that specialises in Africa and Asia, the curricula at SOAS are not adequately representative of thinkers that emerge from the Global South.
We are launching a campaign to examine this and we hope to host a series of events looking at how we can establish a “decolonised university.” Decolonising SOAS will be in collaboration with UCL’s Why Is My Curriculum White Campaign which garnered national press for its examination of UCL’s “Pale, Male and Stale” curricula.
One of the key aspects of this campaign is for us to examine the ways in which Western philosophy puts a specific conception of Man at the centre. This enables the myth of “universal truth” as being a body of knowledge that has dictated the current colonial structure of the world we live in today. The campaign will be looking at ways SOAS as an institution can incorporate other forms of knowing and grant the same credence to metaphysical and transcendental systems of knowledge from the Global South as it does to systems of knowledge that have emerged from Western Europe.
Keep an eye out for events, meetings and working groups and be sure to pop into G8 (The SU Office) to ask for more details and get involved!