Internationalisation of higher education for pluriversity: a decolonial reflection

by Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni

01 Apr 2021
Journal of the British Academy
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Number of pages
22 (pp. 77-98)

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Abstract: At the centre of the debates on internationalisation one can notice tensions between the agenda of completing the incomplete project of modernity, which dovetails into the current hegemonic neoliberal capitalist globalisation with its ‘global turn’ towards the creation of ‘global’ universities; and the resurgent and insurgent agenda of completing the incomplete project of decolonisation predicated on deracialisation, de-hierarchisation, decorporatisation, and depatriachisation of knowledge and education. This article contributes to the decolonisation of internationalisation of higher education at four main levels. In the first place, it underscores the primacy of knowledge in creating a reality known as ‘the international’ with Europe and North America at the centre. In the second, it makes a strong case for taking seriously the idea of the locus of enunciation of knowledge as a basis of critique of the hegemonic neoliberal globalisation’s notion of a global economy of knowledge that is decontextualised and ignores the resilient uneven division of intellectual and academic labour. In the third, it calls for intercultural translation, mosaic/convivial epistemology, and ecologies of knowledges as key to any successful decolonised internationalisation of higher education. In the fourth, it argues for the reconstruction of university into pluriversity informed by the practices of globalectics and the coexistence of particularities. These four interventions constitute essential enablers in the cultivation of transnational knowledge that is of service to a world characterised by planetary human entanglements.

Keywords: Ecologies of knowledges, decolonisation, Eurocentrism, higher education, mosaic epistemology, pluriversality.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 9, supplementary issue 1 (Repositioning of Africa in Knowledge Production: Shaking off Historical Stigmas).

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