“To decolonise, or not to decolonise, that is the question?” Comparing value transmission in British and Australian English classrooms

Date: Monday 27th April 2020

Time: 15:30-17:00

Address: Middlesex University, The Burroughs, Hendon, NW4 4BR

Can we stop the transmission of injustice issues through the teaching and reading of English literary texts? The visceral and deleterious nature of the propagation of ‘colonial’ values is well discussed in sociological fields in terms of the ‘hidden curriculum’ (Apple, 2004) and theories of social reproduction (Bourdieu, 1986; Bernstein, 1981). However, such approaches tend to take a ‘black box’ construction of the classroom and focus on the mechanics of material persistency in wider society (Morrow & Torres, 1995), rather than critical resistance, thereby ignoring the complexities of social and psychological interactions at various levels of schooling. With the more recent attention placed on decolonising the education curriculum amongst other practices, this talk dives into the complexities of and with the possibilities of such a process.

Examining the interconnectivity of the relevant spaces and theoretical frameworks has important implications for the way we think about resisting social injustice and the role of the ‘hidden curriculum’ in education. Jogie’s 2020 book promotes the importance of overseeing the connections that are overlooked in the endorsement (politics), teaching (pedagogy) and assimilation (students) of English literary texts using a comparative study of UK and Australian senior secondary curricula. Drawing on inspiration from Foucault, Adorno and Ricoeur, this seminar will demonstrate how a reinvigorated and interdisciplinary postcolonial approach can attend to such questions as: • How are English literary texts selected to be on prescribed school lists in the UK and Australia? • Are teachers prepared to deal with multiculturalism and latent issues of citizenship and identity in texts? • What do present ‘decolonisation’ and ‘multicultural’ education agendas have in common? • Do league tables and students’ perceived abilities factor into schools’ text selection, and how does this interact with curriculum direction? • What are the effects of text coupling strategies and new text formats (Visual Media) on students’ engagement with English Literature? Biography: Melissa’s research focuses on cultural reproduction and social injustice drawing from scholarly fields of philosophy, sociology, psychology, economics, literature and education. Her forthcoming book Transmission of Colonial Values (2020, Routledge) establishes a meta-theory of knowledge reproduction known as the ‘postcolonial hegemonies of knowledge’. Her insights into social and cultural reproduction have led to her recent award of a British Academy Grant to a UK-Australia Knowledge Frontier Forum to work with a small group of selected scholars on the shaping of the ‘future’ of research in the humanities and social sciences. While completing her PhD at the Australian National University (2017), she was awarded a Visiting Fellowship at the University of Oxford, Department for Education, Centre for Comparative and International Education (2015). Her publication ‘Desperate Shadows of Belonging’ inspired changing the Education Curriculum in NSW Australia and was nominated by the Australian Educational Researcher Journal for ‘Paper of the Year’, 2015. She also holds two international awards for presentations on her research from the University of Hong Kong (Faculty of Social Sciences, 2013) and the RMIT University (European Union Centres Graduate Workshop, 2014). Her projects and publications can be found at http://www.melissajogie.com

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