Burn It Down: The Incommensurability of the University and Decolonization

Thumbnail Image
Supplemental Files
Date
2019-06-19
Authors
Mayorga, Edwin
Leidecker, Lekey
Orr de Gutierrez, Daniel
Major Professor
Advisor
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Authors
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Organizational Unit
Iowa State University Digital Repository
The Iowa State University Digital Repository is the open access institutional repository for the university to collect, manage, share, and preserve free, worldwide access to research and scholarship of Iowa State faculty, staff, and students. Material in the Digital Repository covers a wide range of disciplines from engineering to social sciences to arts and humanities.
Journal Issue
Is Version Of
Versions
Series
Abstract

As students and a professor in, but not of, an American liberal arts college, we ask whether our current institutions of higher education are compatible with a project of decolonization. Grounded in our own testimonios and drawing on a genealogy of Western knowledge, we argue that U.S. higher education authorizes and perpetrates settler colonial violence. Furthermore, based on our experiences surviving this violence, we conclude that the Universitas adapts to inhibit and neutralize institutional reform that might challenge its coloniality. As such, we find that higher education is not only incompatible, but irredeemably incommensurable with decolonization. In being incommensurable, we ask ourselves whether we should transform higher education or burn it down and start anew? We argue that we do need to burn it down, and we look to how individuals within the institution already work towards the development of a new social structure, one that will outlast and supplant higher education. We identify three constructive and transformative techniques currently used for this purpose: empowerment, survival, and conversion. These techniques are a combination of stances towards, relationships to, and practices within, the institution that build collective futurities no longer dependent upon higher education.

Comments
Description
Keywords
Citation
DOI
Source
Copyright
Collections