ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

52- Moving towards a sustainable future: Decolonising theory, praxis and pedagogy in South Asia

The proposed panel aims to interrogate the systemic inequality embedded within the politics, society and culture of South Asia and the ways in which decolonial movements and pedagogy can espouse the meaning of plural communities and living in communal harmony devoid of hierarchies and colonial technologies of governance. In doing so, the panel aims to draw the connection between decolonising education and sustainable futures in South Asia



Long Abstract

Abstract: The protests and public outcries of the Black Rights Matter movement which gained significant momentum post the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis law enforcement have unfolded globally to address systemic inequality. While systemic racism and cultural violence are being recognised in the West as an environment issue and racial equity as the focal point of sustainable development, in India the situation is quite the opposite with everyday forms of caste, class, ethnic, cultural and religious prejudices being dispensed to maintain hierarchies and supress the marginalised. While many organisations rushed to respond to injustice suffered by the lowest rung of the society – the Dalits through public statement of solidarity with the Dalit Matters Movement in India, time has shown how symbolic stances of solidarity do not suffice to remedy systemic prejudices in South Asia at large and India in particular. The pandemic and its aftermath has widened the economic, political, cultural and social rift among communities in South Asia. Taking cue from the above, this panel through theoretical and empirical study aims to examine grassroots movements that are addressing structural issues in pedagogy that is preventing sustainable development. Some of the questions that will be looked into are: In what ways are agendas for decolonising education and sustainable futures connected? What is the role of cultural studies including the histories of colonized educational systems to develop decolonization methodologies for sustainable education and research in south-Asian nations? We invite academics from South Asia and beyond to begin renewed conversation concerning systemic racism and inequality is an opportunity to expand understanding of the SDGs and their respective indicators, refine materiality analyses, and prioritize actions for positive impact. The panel aims to generate intellectual space eventually revealing the “dialectical and multidimensional relationship” between the prevalent and predominant styles of discourse in educational research and the dormant objectives of the colonized countries to envisage their own traditional educational culture and history like Gurukul system and inculcation of life-skill courses. The Green School initiative introduced in Bhutan and parts of India is yet another example of not only inculcating eco-consciousness within the education system but also teaching students the meaning of plural communities and living in communal harmony devoid of hierarchies and colonial technologies of governance. Some of the themes this panel aims to examine are: roles and responsibilities of educational organisations/institutions, individuals and civil society stakeholders in decolonising education; activism and praxis in reimagining education in India; theoretical and political connections between the decolonial and caste, class and gender justice agendas in education.