Tamara Soukotta and Maria Gabriela Palacio Ludena shared their experiences with decolonizing research in their own research as well as in their experiences as lecturers working with students who want to explore topics and methods that are considered too critical.
As part of European Week Against Racism, Tamara Soukotta and Maria Gabriela Palacio Ludena (current and former PhD researchers at the International Institute of Social Studies) participated in a panel discussion at Leiden University to share their experiences on working with decolonizing research in their own research as well as in their experiences as lecturers working with students who want to explore topics and methods that are considered too critical.
They discussed how to create safe spaces in universities for themselves and their students in regards to race and racism. They shared their experiences working with decolonizing methodologies/decolonial approaches in doing research and discussed how they use critical/decolonial approaches in their teaching and the risks of doing this within the context of universities.
The difficulties in researching 'critical' topics
The discussion started because students, particularly students of colour, brought up their experiences of being discouraged from researching topics that are personally important to them, including colonial history and racism in academia.
Although decolonial perspectives are becoming popular, the panelists were asked whether this new interest is reflected in university research and what happens to those who choose this path. Researchers pay a price for conducting such research and the panelists were asked to share whether they would encourage their students to take this path.