PERSPECTIVES — seeing differently | What does it mean to decolonize your syllabus?

The page offers materials to consider before building a syllabus.

“...decolonization is the double movement of anticolonialism and rematriation -- restoring the futures that Indigenous land and life were meant to follow. This double movement is the fundamental charge of a third world university.”  - la paperson, A Third University is Possible, p. xxii


“Education has always been a massive passion of mine. I’ve always loved learning about new things, thinking critically, and challenging the world around me. However, formal education can often curb that love and enthusiasm that we see in so many young people."

"He threw out any information that wasn’t absolutely necessary, and created a syllabus that looked more like a spread from a comic book than a contract. "

“Decolonization offers a different perspective to human and civil rights based approaches to justice, an unsettling one, rather than a complementary one. Decolonization is not an “and”. It is an elsewhere.”

“I envision a future where we can list the names of indigenous and person of color writers just as fast, if not faster, than white men. Sure, Emerson had some great things to say — “Nature” blew my mind as a teenager. But have you read Leslie Marmon Silko or LeeAnne Howe? How about Jesmyn Ward or Gloria Anzaldúa or Erika Wurth or Kiese Laymon or Tarfia Faizullah? They didn’t just blow my mind — they changed my life. But more than that, what I hope to see with the decolonization of syllabi is a reframing of the American narrative and a return to modes of thinking and knowledge that colonization tried so hard to destroy.” 

"The term culturally sustaining requires that our pedagogies be more than responsive of or relevant to the cultural experiences and practices of young people—it requires that they support young people in sustaining the cultural and linguistic competence of their communities while simultaneously offering access to dominant cultural competence....That is, culturally sustaining pedagogy seeks to perpetuate and foster—to sustain—linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of the democratic project of schooling." (p. 4) 


Kelly Gavin Zuckerman
Syllabus Workshop Facilitator 

Chanelle Wilson
Syllabus Workshop Facilitator