New collective volume: Working with Theories of Refusal and Decolonization in Higher Education

Co-edited by Michalinos Zembylas, Professor of Educational Theory and Curriculum Studies, Academic Coordinator of the Postgraduate programme "Educational Studies" of the Open University of Cyprus, and Dr Petra Mikulan, lecturer and researcher at The University of British Columbia, the new collective volume entitled “Working with Theories of Refusal and Decolonization in Higher Education”  argues that refusal is a viable political ethics in education, and that it is an ethics that allows space for new possibilities to emerge, with the potential to enrich higher education study and pedagogies in the future.

Chapters of the collective volume, published by Routledge, examine the ethical, epistemological, political and affective premises of refusing the colonial university, and reflect upon what refusal means for higher education decolonization across international settings. “Refusal” marks a political ethos and praxis that denies, resists, reframes and redirects colonial and neoliberal logics, while asserting diverse sovereignties and lifeworlds. Whereas resistance may reinscribe the weakness of the colonized in the power relations with the colonizer, “refusal” interrupts the smooth operation of power relations, denying the authority of the settler state and remaking the rules of engagement. This collection views “refusal” not as an end in itself, nor as a mode of critique, but as a necessary first step for educators and students in higher education to invest in the idea of radically different modes of futurity. It explores how educators and students in higher education can invent pedagogies of refusal that function ethically, affectively and politically, and asks: What do pedagogies of refusal look like? How might western universities sustain and support refusal, rather than discipline it? What assumptions are sustained by ruling out certain educational futures as out of bounds, or impossible?

This book will be important reading for researchers, scholars and educators in Decolonizing Education, Higher Education Transformation, and Philosophy of Education. It will also be valuable to policymakers and activists who are considering how refusal might be carried out within and outside institutions.


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