Critical performativity for a decolonising curriculum: Possibilities in creating emancipatory classroom spaces for exploring alternative knowledge frames
This conceptual paper argues that the decolonising curriculum project at a faculty of health sciences reifies a paradigmatic tension between African and Western knowledge frames within the programmes’ curriculum. In the race to respond to students’ demand for decolonisation of university curriculum, in 2017 the faculty took a decision to focus on socio-economic determinants of health as a decolonisation trajectory. I contend that this approach is not a decolonising project as there is no engagement with what ought to be an alternative African paradigm. Drawing on the notion of critical performativity, I propose a pragmatic approach to explore African indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) in politically conscious and authentic ways to transform epistemologies and pedagogies in the faculty. Proposed as a possible pedagogical tool to engage students in co-curriculum construction, critical performativity could open up emancipatory spaces for academics and students to bring into classrooms extant African IKS to redress decades-long epistemic injustice.
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