Jonathan Jansen

Jonathan Jansen

Stellenbosch University
Jonathan Jansen

Jonathan Jansen is distinguished professor of education at Stellenbosch University and president of the Academy of Science of South Africa. He is a curriculum theorist, and his research is concerned with the politics of knowledge. His 2022 books include The Decolonization of Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, with Cyrill Walters) and Bewitched? A study of dysfunction in South African universities. He holds a PhD (Stanford) and five honorary degrees in education.

Talk Information:

How Institutions Defang Radical Curriculum Ideas: The Fate of Decolonization in South African Universities
February 25, 2022 | 9:00 AM
Associated Edited Volumes: 5

The decolonization protests represented a powerful moment in the recent history of universities from Cape Town to Oxford and, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, sparked the toppling of confederacy and imperial statues from Richmond to Antwerp. The downing of the statue of the imperialist Cecil John Rhodes on the campus of the University of Cape Town launched the decolonization moment in South African universities. Institutions responded enthusiastically to this signal moment in which students demanded a ‘free, decolonized education.’ Five years later, what actually happened within university classrooms around the country? This presentation drawing on more than 200 interviews with academic teachers will detail the processes by which institutions defang radical curriculum ideas even as university leaders appear to participate in and make room for the decolonization of knowledge. The full account of this project appears in the forthcoming book, The Decolonization of Knowledge, Cambridge University Press (2022).


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