Learning and Unlearning – A primer on critical race studies, postcolonial and decolonial work

July 20, 2020

Lauren Hutfield (Bristol)


‘Decoloniality asks: where do we start the story? Who has the microphone & who usually doesn’t? What do we consider expertise? What are the implications of Eurocentric bias in knowledge production? Do our practices… contribute to the struggle against colonial power relations?’ Dr. Olivia U. Rutazibwa, ‘What’s there to Mourn’, 2019


A key part in decolonising our present-day institutions and addressing ongoing ignorance and power inequalities that persist requires us to draw attention to how colonial legacies have prioritised certain people’s knowledge, whilst silencing and erasing others. A focus on empowering voices who have previously been underrepresented and undervalued is crucial, and an exposure to resources that allow you to think critically and confront your own biases and ignorances is equally as important. Here are some resources for you to expand your own knowledge by listening and learning from people’s experiences and research in areas that may or may not be that familiar to you. There are various types of resources here: from classic black scholarly works, to TED talks on racism. It starts with you as an individual taking the time to educate yourself in order to contribute to a racially just world.

After all, we as individuals all make up the institution, meaning every single person has a role to play in the dismantling of colonial legacies.

Start learning and unlearning.

(this is an ongoing list and will be regularly updated)


Collections of Readings (and Recommendations)

Decolonising the Curriculum Zotero library developed by @DecoloniseUEA

Pan-Africanism, Afrofuturism and Decolonisation: A reading list by Dr. Foluke Adebisi

Global Social Theory


Anti-Racist/General Resources

Ibram X. Kendi – How to Be an Antiracist (2019)

Reni Eddo-Lodge – Why I’m no Longer talking to White People about Race (2017)

Ijeoma Oluo – So you want to talk about race (2018)

Layla F. Saad – Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World (2020)

Alana Lentin – Why Race Still Matters (2020)

Elisa Camahort Page, Carolyn Gerin and Jamia Wilson – Road Map for Revolutionaries (2018)

Crystal Fleming – How to be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide (2018)

Evelyn Miller – On being a space invader: negotiating whiteness in education https://migration.blogs.bristol.ac.uk/2020/06/16/on-being-a-space-invader-negotiating-whiteness-in-education/

Adam Rutherford – How to Argue with a Racist (2020)



Critical Race Studies/Theory

What is Critical Race Theory: Global Social Theory on CRT

Frantz Fanon – The Wretched of the Earth (1961)

Patricia Hill Collins – Black Feminist Thought (1990)

Kimberle Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda et al., Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement (1995)

Kimberle Crenshaw, ‘Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory: Looking back to Move Forward’, Connecticut Law Review (2011)

bell hooks – Ain’t I a woman: black woman and feminism (1981)

Bonilla-Silva, E. (2015) ‘More than Prejudice: Restatement, Reflections, and New Directions in Critical Race Theory’, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 1(1), pp. 73–87.

Delgado, R. and Stefancic, J. Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (2001)

Gillborn, D. (2006) ‘Critical race theory beyond North America: Toward a trans-Atlantic dialogue on racism and antiracism in educational theory and praxis’, in Dixson, A. D. and Rosseau, C. K. (eds) Critical race theory: All God’s children got a song. (2006)

Ladson-Billings, G. ‘Critical Race Theory – What it is Not!’, in Lynn, M. and Dixson, A. D. (eds) The Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education, (2013)

Kwame Anthony Appiah – The Ethics of Identity (2005)

Paul Gilroy – The Black Atlantic: modernity and double consciousness (1993)

W.E.B Du Bois – The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

Audre Lorde – Sister Outsider (1984)

C.L.R James – The Black Jacobins (2001)

Stuart Hall – Representation (1997)

Melissa Harris-Perry – Sister citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (2011)

Michelle Alexander  – The New Jim Crow (2011)

Molefi Kete Asante – An Afrocentric Manifesto: Toward an African Renaissance (2007)

Fred Moten – Black and Blur (consent not to be a single being) (2017)

Charles W. Mills – The Racial Contract (1997). ‘White Ignorance’ (2007)

Marcus Garvey and Amy Jacques Garvey – Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey (1923-25)

Malcolm X – The Autobiography of Malcom X (1965)

Robbie Shilliam – Race and the Undeserving Poor: From Abolition to Brexit (2018)

Angela Davis – Women, Race and Class (1981)

Cornel West – Race Matters (1993)

Oliver Cromwell Cox – Caste, Class and Race (1948)

Carter G. Woodson – The Mis-Education of the Negro (1933)

Olaudah Equiano – The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789)

Claude M. Steele – Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (2011)

Ta-Nehsi Coates – Between the World and Me (2015)

Kalwant Bhopal – White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-racial society (2018)

Sylvia Wynter – ‘No Humans Involved’ (1994), https://www.newframe.com/long-read-knowledge-must-mutate-be-fully-human/

Katherine McKittrick – Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis (2014)

Derrick Bell – Faces at the Bottom the Well (1992)



Post-colonialism, decolonialism and the politics of knowledge

Kwame Nkrumah – Neocolonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism (1974)

Errol Henderson – African Realism? International Relations Theory and Africa’s Wars in the Postcolonial Era (2015)

Maria Lugones – Toward a Decolonial Feminism (2010)

Walter Mignolo –  The Darker Side of Western Modernity (2011), Local Histories / Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking (2012)

Walter Rodney – How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972)

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak – “Can the subaltern speak?” (1988)

Paulo Freire – Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970)

Mahmood Mamdani – Citizen and subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Colonialism (1996)

Daniel Bendix, Franziska Muller, Aram Ziai – Beyond the Master’s Tools? (Kilombo: International Relations and Colonial Questions) (2020)

Partha Chatterjee – The Nation and its Fragments: colonial and postcolonial histories (1993)

Julian Go – Postcolonial Thought and Social Theory (2016)

Leela Gandhi – Postcolonial Theory: A critical introduction (1998)

Linda Tuhiwai Smith – Decolonising Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (2012)

Gurminder K. Bhambra, Kerem Nişancıoğlu and Dalia Gebrial, Decolonising the University (2018)

Robert Vitalis, White World Order, Black Power Politics (2015)

Lisa Lowe, The Intimacies of Four Continents (2015)

Alexander Anievas, Nivi Manchanda and Robbie Shilliam (eds), Race and Racism in International Relations (2014)

Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana (ed.), Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance (2007)

Elizabeth Philipose, ‘Decolonizing Political Theory’ (2007) – http://radicalpedagogy.icaap.org/content/issue9_1/philipose.html

The Decolonial Atlashttps://decolonialatlas.wordpress.com/

The Environmental Justice Atlashttps://ejatlas.org/

Syed Hussein Alatas, The myth of the lazy native (1977)

Olivette Otele, African Europeans (2020)

Daniel Bendix et al (2020) Beyond the Master’s Tools?: Decolonizing Knowledge Orders, Research Methods and Teaching

Francis B. Nyamnjoh, Decolonising the Academy: A Case for Convivial Scholarship (2020)


Diversifying and Decolonising the Curriculum: Politics, IR and Sociology

On Decolonising Political Theory: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1txZCXgwb0jS6OUdVL4xdMgOnWaEa9jy9OC-00dLGuuQ/mobilebasic

On Decolonising Research Methods: https://helenkara.com/2020/07/29/decolonising-methods-a-reading-list/

Diversifying International Relations, a sample syllabus: https://www.dropbox.com/s/knkovnma1mt6x62/IntroIRSyllabus.pdf?dl=0

Farid Alatas and Vineeta Sinha, ‘Sociological theory beyond the canon’ (2017)

Forthcoming books by Dr Manjeet Ramgotra (Decol Political Theory) and by Robbie Shilliam (Decol IR)




About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge (Spotify, BBC Sounds)

1619 (Spotify)

H.E.R Space: Uplifting Conversations for the Black Woman (Spotify)

Black Like Me (Spotify)

Good Ancestor Podcast (Spotify)

Dear White Women (Spotify)

Have You Heard George’s Podcast (BBC Sounds)



TED Talks

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – The Danger of a Single Story: https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_ngozi_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story#t-1108234

Kimberle Crenshaw – The agency of intersectionality: https://www.ted.com/talks/kimberle_crenshaw_the_urgency_of_intersectionality

Verna Myers – How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them: https://www.ted.com/talks/verna_myers_how_to_overcome_our_biases_walk_boldly_toward_them/discussion#t-17346

Baratunde Thurston – How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time: https://www.ted.com/talks/baratunde_thurston_how_to_deconstruct_racism_one_headline_at_a_time/up-next#t-90323

Ibram X. Kendi – The difference between being ‘not racist’ and antiracist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCxbl5QgFZw

Nita Mosby Tyler – Want a more just world? Be an unlikely ally: https://www.ted.com/talks/nita_mosby_tyler_want_a_more_just_world_be_an_unlikely_ally/up-next?language=en

Aid for Africa? No thanks: https://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_mwenda_aid_for_africa_no_thanks/up-next



Novels/Novelists and storytellers of racism and (post)colonialism

Toni Morrison – Beloved (1987)

Alice Walker – The Colour Purple (1982)

Maya Angelou – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)

Chinua Achebe – Things Fall Apart (1958)

James Baldwin – Go Tell it on a Mountain (1953)

Zora Neale Hurston – Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

Ralph Elison – Invisible Man (1952)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Americanah (2013)

Richard Wright – Native Son (1940)

Octavia Butler – Kindred (1979)

Ben Okri – The Famished Road (1991)



Documentaries and Series

13th (Netflix)

Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (Netflix)

Black and British: A Forgotten History (BBC)

Alt History: Black British History We’re Not Taught in Schools (BBC)

A Black and White Killing: The Case that Shook America (BBC)

Reggie Yates: Life and Death in Chicago (BBC)

Dear White People (Netflix)

I Am Not Your Negro (Netflix)

When They See Us (Netflix)

Self made (Netflix)

Who Killed Malcolm X? (Netflix)

Black Hollywood: They’ve Gotta Have Us (BBC & Netflix)

Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain Changed? (BBC)




Moonlight (2016)

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (2013)

The Colour Purple (1985)

Black KKKlansman (2018)

Hidden Figures (2016)

Black Panther (2018)

Selma (2014)

12 Years a Slave (2013)

Fences (2016)

The Butler (2013)



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