Panel Discussion on Decolonising Historical Research

Interested in non-western epistemologies or methodologies? What does decolonial practice mean to you as a historian? Is it feasable to adopt different methodologies for your own research?

This event, part of the Sadler Seminar Series 2018-19 'Curating/ Creating the Decolonial Classroom' brings together a panel of resaearchers working in this field to discuss, interrogate and reflect on current academic practices in the discipline of history, especially those that take into account non-western epistemologies or methodologies. The Decolonial Classroom project has so far engaged in building a network of researchers within the University of Leeds whose research is aligned to our project objectives. 

The most recent event in this Sadler series was ‘Decolonial Practices in Theatre’, which brought together a range of practitioners & academics for a thought-provoking round table & energetic multi-media performative workshop. We looked at ways in which theatre can be a transformative vehicle for preserving knowledge, folklore, stories and a way to help communities to reinforce their sense of identity and to overcome trauma. 

We also take inspiration form the recent Decolonial Geographies event at the University of Leeds, which was a great success.

The event will consist of a panel discussion and Q&A. The initial panel discussion questions will be as follows:

1.       How can we be self-reflexive in our research as ‘westerners’ who ‘excavate’ and extract non-western histories in ways that do or do not benefit the communities whose stories we aim to understand, and to represent to the academic community and the wider world? How important is the discussion of our own positionality as academics who broker ‘knowledge’ about non-westerners and their histories/historiographies/archives?

2.     Have you found opportunities for research from non-western perspectives on history rather than research about non-western perspectives?

3.      What methodologies could we use to (theoretically) write a history of the world that does not place Europe at the centre of the narrative?

4.     What does ‘decolonial’ practice mean to you as a historian?

5.     Are you able to adopt a decolonial methodology and/or epistemology in your research, or have you found it easier to ‘decolonise’ at the level of choosing particular sources to work on?

6.     'Decoloniality and impact: can you offer examples/case studies where your research has brought material or other support and resources to the communities whose histories you work on?'


Panel Participants:

Sanjoy Bhattacharya (York), Siobhan Lambert-Hurley (Sheffield), Jesús Cháirez-Garza (Manchester), James House (Leeds), Iona McLeery (Leeds) and with Nina Wardleworth (Leeds) as Chair. We will begin with a few words from the Decolonial Classroom lead Fozia Bora (Leeds), who will outline the objectives of the project, and few more from Monisha Jackson (Leeds) on the superb recent event on Decolonising Geographies. 


For further information please email the Series administrator Arunima Bhattacharya