Postcolonial Pedagogy in Practice

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:15
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Marietta MAYRHOFER-DEAK, University of Vienna, Austria
Inspired by the lecture of Raewyn Connells "Southern Theory", I started to held a seminar entitled "Southern Perspectives - Southern Actions" in the winter term 2010/2011 at the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna. As a young scholar and PhD student interested in postcolonial, global issues I tried to follow some of Connells advices in practice: including sociological theories written by African, Latin-American and Asian scholars and addressing some of the major effects of colonialism, especially eurocentrism in present-day social theory. Connells contribution to the “decolonization” of sociology by discussing its history and presenting the wide variety of social theories emerging out of the global South became an important starting point for the whole class. Connell showed clearly that there is so much unrecognized but rich material which can be used fruitfully in “postcolonial”, “global” sociology classes. However, Connell did not address the equally important question how to teach Postcolonial Sociology. As Maureen McNeil points it out: “[in general] much critical theory is rather vague about specific pedagogic activities” (qtd in Heble 148). In this paper I want to share my reflections and experiences linked to the growing and vivid, but also often neglected discussion on postcolonial pedagogy in higher education (see Andreotti 2011, Arnove 2013).  I argue that it is not sufficient to get other kinds of texts into the classroom, but that we – as postcolonial teachers – have to open a democratized field of discussion where the role of the teacher and the role of the student can be easily exchanged. I will give examples showing that this means also: reflecting on personal roles, values and prejudices, learning to listen to each other, learning to take decisions collectively without putting pressure, reflecting on a responsible exercise of power.