BSC Learning and Teaching Network Seminar Series – 22 May 2024

BSC Learning and Teaching Network Seminar Series – Decolonising the Criminological Curriculum

Date/time: Wednesday 22nd May 2024, 12:30-14:00 (GMT)

Location: online (via MS Teams)

Cost: free

Register: click here

Hear the arguments and experiences of those at the forefront of decolonising criminological curricula in this free online seminar, hosted by the BSC Learning and Teaching Network.

The BSC Learning and Teaching Network is delighted to host this free online seminar, that explores decolonisation of the criminological curriculum.
The 90-minute seminar comprises a 3 x 15-minute presentations, followed by approximately 30 minutes for questions and networking.

An overview of each presentation is provided below:

Towards Decolonisation of Criminological Reading Lists

Kelly Stockdale (Northumbria University)

There are deep structural inequalities across higher education, with specific concerns raised in relation to the exclusion, omission, and marginalisation of certain voices (female, disabled, racialised, colonised, non-western, and LGBTQ+) which has distorted the production of knowledge in relation to key criminological topics (see the work of Agozino, 2003; Cuneen and Rowe, 2015; Connell, 2007; Bacevic, 2021; Boliver, 2007). In this discussion I will reflect on the work I have done and what more needs to be done to ‘decolonise’ or diversify reading lists. Including sharing tools and strategies for auditing reading lists, ways to work with students as curators, I will also reflect on findings from my latest project re. staff experiences of ‘decolonising’ the criminology curriculum and the barriers and opportunities faced.

The Criminological Herstory of Apartheid South Africa

Bev Orton (University of Hull)

This paper demonstrates the paucity of information regarding the political activity and criminalisation of women during apartheid. Their marginalisation and suffering is evident in the lack of positive acknowledgement both within history, criminology and decolonialisation studies. It is through using male Western ideologies that students are introduced to the continent’s context and realities.

During apartheid African women were seen as being bad and to be kept away from white men and white women. There was an overwhelming feeling of how violence on the streets was played out on the bodies of children and women, both of whom were brutalised by the security forces and the police. The bodies of women were subjected to more intimate violence such as solitary confinement, beatings, rape and torture. African women were treated in an inhumane manner. The violence against women after apartheid has increased. The rates of femicide and rape are one of the highest in the world.

South African history and criminology privileges, in particular, white male voices. Since 1913 African women had been protesting against apartheid and pass laws. Nationalist leaders did not acknowledge women’s oppression nor their political mobilisation under either colonialism or patriarchy. On the 23rd September 1913 Charlotte Maxeke led the women’s resistance against the imposition by the government of pass laws on women by ‘deciding to stop carrying passes or buying permits’ (Chiwengo, 2007, p .187). About six hundred women handed in their passes to the Mayor of Bloemfontein. Similar demonstrations took place in Jagersfontein, Fauresmith and Winburg. The women refused to carry passes in spite of being arrested and given sentences of imprisonment and hard labour.

During the apartheid era many women, such as Albertina Sisulu and Lilian Ngoyi to name only two, spent time in solitary confinement. Women were punished for taking part in political activities by being issued with banning orders or placed under house arrest. Women placed under banning orders were treated differently to men. They were spied upon by the police and accused repeatedly of being in the liberation movement merely as ‘a black bitch on heat ‘(Mthintso n.d.cited in Krog 1999, p.273), there to service the sexual needs of men. That these women were regarded merely as being used for sexual favours is clearly depicted in the evidence of Ms Tsobileyo before the TRC which showed that the policeman deliberately shot her in her vagina as she was running through the shacks in Crossroads.

The South African apartheid regime was characterised by violence, political upheaval, brutal oppression and violations of human rights. The neglect of gender issues, their victimisation and the need to remedy the invisibility that is accorded to women in recording the herstory of South Africa is a serious consequence of patriarchal structures within South Africa during the colonial and apartheid era.

Decolonising the Criminological Curriculum: Why Students Should Lead the Way

Hind Elhinnawy (Nottingham Trent University)

This presentation discusses a study comprising ten criminology students from minorities ethnic backgrounds, through semi-structured interviews and self-administered questionnaires. I emphasise the practice of “affective awareness” and “decolonial reflexivity,” acknowledging personal discomforts as part of the process. The findings suggest that decolonizing the curriculum should extend beyond merely expanding content and revising reading lists. It necessitates a profound examination of entrenched power dynamics and a transformation in how knowledge is constructed, importantly, integrating the perspectives of the students themselves to make the process genuinely inclusive and effective.

Should you have any queries about this event, please contact Sean Butcher (s.b.butcher@leeds.ac.uk).