The potential of critical race theory in decolonizing university curricula

McLaughlin, Juliana M. & Whatman, Susan L. (2011) The potential of critical race theory in decolonizing university curricula. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 31(4), pp. 365-377.

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This paper critiques our experiences as non-Indigenous Australian educators of working with numerous embedding Indigenous perspectives curricular projects at an Australian university. Reporting on these project outcomes alone, while useful in identifying limitations, does not illustrate ways in which future embedding and decolonising projects can persist and evolve. Deeper analysis is required of the ways in which Indigenous knowledge and perspectives are perceived, and what ‘embedding’ IK in university curricula truly means to various educational stakeholders.

To achieve a deeper analysis and propose ways to invigorate the continuing decolonisation of Australian university curricula, this paper critically interrogates the methodology and conceptualisation of Indigenous knowledge in embedding Indigenous perspectives (EIP) in the university curriculum using tenets of critical race theory. Accordingly, we conduct this analysis from the standpoint that EIP should not subscribe to the luxury of independence of scholarship from politics and activism. The learning objective is to create a space to legitimise politics in the intellectual / academic realm (Dei, 2008, p. 10). We conclude by arguing that critical race theory’s emancipatory, future and action-oriented goals for curricula (Dei, 2008) would enhance effective and sustainable embedding initiatives, and ultimately, preventing such initiatives from returning to the status quo (McLaughlin & Whatman, 2008).

Impact and interest:

12 citations in Scopus
11 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 42346
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: decolonising university curricula, critical race theory, Indigenous Australian education , Indigenous knowlege, Indigenous perspectives, HERN
DOI: 10.1080/02188791.2011.621243
ISSN: 0218-8791
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Chancellery
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: This is an electronic version of an article published in [Asia Pacific Journal of Education (in press)]. [Asia Pacific Journal of Education] is available online at informaworldTM
Deposited On: 04 Jul 2011 02:57
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2013 23:30

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