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Decolonisation and Anti-Racism

What's on your reading list?

"Why should we care about reading lists? Because they remain an important site of pedagogy & possibility: whose history matters, who gets to write about the past in the present, and how that collectively informs the futures we imagine" (@Madjane_, 2021).

The dominance of scholars from the Global North is pervasive in academia, and this has a direct impact on student curricula.  Institutions are starting to examine data on reading lists and it is clear that there are often significant imbalances in the diversity and representation of authors. This homogeneity has consequences for students’ thinking; limiting the methodological tools available to them, reinforcing dominant paradigms and curtailing academic potential.

The University of Sussex Law Department undertook a student-led evaluation of subject reading lists. Some of the recommendations around decolonising included: 

  • give consideration to the proportion of authors from underrepresented backgrounds
  • consider where the narrative of the materials are centred
  • ensure diverse materials are central to teaching (essential reading)
  • consult a wide range of materials
  • do not represent materials by authors from underrepresented backgrounds as 'other'
  • engage with students about the choice of content

Module conveners and teaching staff should consult the Reading Lists Guide for further tips on best practice for making inclusive reading lists.

All of us in the academy and in the culture as a whole are called to renew our minds if we are to transform educational institutions - and society - so that the way we live, teach, and work can reflect our joy in cultural diversity, our passion for justice, and our love of freedom.    bell hooks TEACHING TO TRANSGRESS

You can check out our reading lists on Anti-Racism and Black History and teaching collections as useful starting points. Further resources below. 

Teachers and students (leadership and people), co-intent on reality, are both Subjects, not only in the task of unveiling that reality, and thereby coming to know it critically, but in the task of re-creating that knowledge. As they attain this knowledge of reality through common reflection and action, they discover themselves as its permanent re-creators. - Paulo Freire Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Embedding decolonising practices into teaching and assessment

Many staff are committed to developing decolonised teaching and learning practices. Identifying approaches to translate theory into classroom practice can present a challenge. The Library can support teachers in the following ways:

  • helping tutors identify and familiarise themselves with a wide range of resources, including resources that are freely available
  • delivering decolonial library skills training sessions for students and module conveners
  • developing digital learning resources for inclusion on a module's Canvas site. 

Global Social Theory


Global Social Theory

This site is intended as a free resource for students, teachers, academics, and others interested in social theory and wishing to understand it in global perspective. It emerges from a long-standing concern with the parochiality of standard perspectives on social theory and seeks to provide an introduction to a variety of theorists and theories from around the world. The particular impetus for the setting up of the site was the recent campaign organised by students in the UK asking ‘Why is my curriculum white?‘ This site is one attempt to build resources that will hopefully complement and broaden our shared conversations in this area.

The site is being developed and resourced collaboratively and will be added to on a regular basis. It hopes to draw upon the knowledge and expertise of all those who read it and so, please, do get in touch and offer an entry on a topic, thinker, or concept that you think should be included at the email address below.

The site is organised by Professor Gurminder K Bhambra (Sussex School of Global Studies) with web design and support by Pat Lockley. 

Databases and Open Access Online Resources

Discover Diverse Databases: knowledge from the global majority

Library shelves with a globe in the foreground

This collection of databases includes resources we subscribe to as well as open access ones that cover literature and data from diverse global voices. Research has shown that dominant databases such as Scopus and Web of Science have a Global North and English language bias, so this collection is designed to encourage you to look for information from more marginalised sources to re-centre knowledge from the Global Majority. With thanks to Sally Dalton from University of Leeds Library for crowdsourcing many of recommendations in this collection. If you have suggestions of databases to include, please contact