Epistemological Conversations with the South: New Conceptual Models of Intercultural Higher Education in Latin America

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:10
Location: Hörsaal 47 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Filipa LOURENCO REIS, Universidade Lusofona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Portugal
Manuela GUILHERME, Centre for Social Studies, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
Sociology of education has revealed to be a suitable covering umbrella for intercultural education issues in that it deals with educational programmes, at all levels, in contemporary diverse societies by underlining a growing awareness of equity. The tug-of-war between homogeneous and heterogeneous globalization has confronted the ‘marketization’ of most universities with the ‘inter-culturalization’ of some. Albeit with different societal visions and, consequently, aims in mind, both have pushed toward the transnational mobility of ideas and knowledge workers, both teachers and students, and the increasing opportunities for knowledge exchange. This paper will introduce the topic of intercultural universities in Latin America, by starting with the discussion of a few founding principles such as ‘interculturalid(e)’, and its correlates, from a South-North-South postcolonial perspective, based both in Europe and the Americas.

An intercultural approach to university curricula, both in classical as well as in indigenous higher education institutions, pressuposes, on the theoretical side, new study plans according to new conceptual frameworks and, eventually, an ‘ecology of knowledges’ and the testing of different rationalities which are nonetheless well placed in critical and complex thinking. Such a vision of university wisdom encompasses a different institutional structure allowing for experimental knowledge and communitarian practice, that is, extension programes that challenge the modernist idea of university, without jeopardizing it.

This paper will discuss the ideological and epistemological issues put forward above as well as present various practical examples being undertaken in Latin America, e.g. in Bolivia, both documental and experiential,  which emerged from the RIAIPE3 project (2010-2013, ALFA Programme, funded by the European Commission, http://www.riaipe-alfa.eu/index.php/en )