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50 Years of Sociology

At the University of Cambridge

Students around the world are now questioning what has been at the essence of academia for the past centuries. Why is my professor white? Why is my curriculum Eurocentric? Why do my topics of study rarely cover issues of race, ethnicity, and racism? Engaging with these questions has opened Pandora’s Box, where all the answers lead to the requirement to decolonise the academy. But what does decolonising mean? What does decolonisation involve? What is decolonisation for? This panel considers decolonisation in the context of sociology.

This panel will primarily focus around a discussion of ‘What does decolonising sociology mean?’ Consequently, this session will pay attention to the historical ‘colonisation’ of sociology, as well as how thinkers, systems of thought, topics of study, and geographical areas have historically and presently been excluded from sociology’s canon and periphery.

Panel Members:

  • Jun Pang, MSc candidate, Forced Migration Studies, University of Oxford (2018 HSPS graduate). Jun Pang recently graduated from HSPS, and has been active in the Decolonising Sociology, and Decolonise Cambridge working groups, as well as initiatives rolled out by CUSU BAME. Jun played a very large role in spreading support for decolonisation among the undergraduates during their time at Cambridge, and we ought to recognise the role undergraduates have played in giving momentum to this movement (00:27).
  • Tanisha Spratt, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge. Tanisha Spratt has been a member of the Decolonising Sociology working group since its creation. Tanisha has been involved in constructing the decolonising workshops that are due to become mandatory to members of our Department. Tanisha is also a member of the new CRASSH group ‘International Black Radicalism’ (09:01).
  • Linzhi Zhang, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge. Linzhi has recently submitted her doctoral dissertation titled Contemporary Art and the Exhibitionary System: China as a Case Study. Driven by her passion for sociology and art, she endeavours to build social theories based upon empirical studies of non-western societies (15:56). 
  • Dr Manali Desai, Reader, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge. Dr Desai will be the Chair of the Decolonising Sociology working group in 2018/19, and was previously a co-convenor of the CRASSH group ‘Decolonising the Curriculum’ (22:30).
  • Asiya Islam (Moderator), PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge. Asiya Islam is a new member of the Decolonising Sociology working group, and has a firm interest in the (de)colonial roots and uses of sociology. Asiya will work to engage the panellists in critical dialogue with one another (30:47).

Video Recording:

Watch on Youtube.

Tuesday, 13 November, 2018 - 13:30 to 15:00
Event location: 
Riley Auditorium, Memorial Court, Clare College