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The Decolonization of Knowledge: Radical Ideas and the Shaping of Institutions in South Africa and Beyond, Jonathan D. Jansen and Cyrill A. Walters

Reviewed by Paul M. Garton
 

The largest student movement in recent years is undoubtedly the #MustFall movement in South Africa from 2015–2016. What began as protests on a single campus calling for removing a statue of colonizer Cecil Rhodes soon merged with existing protests of university fees. #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall combined ideologically into a broad set of demands to reform tertiary education to be accessible and liberating for Black students and other students of color. One of the main pushes was to decolonize the curriculum, the topic of Jansen and Walters’ (2022) book. This is a thorough analysis of the trajectory of decolonization initiatives across universities in South Africa, tracing the organizational responses from the immediate rise during the protests to the gradual neutering and return to business as usual.

Research on curriculum generally takes two forms: either focusing on the content and pedagogical delivery, generally with some assumed inherent value associated with that content, or using organizational theories to analyze the process through which curriculum is developed in a manner reminiscent of legal positivism in that the content/delivery exists and is legitimized only through the processes through which it is created. The latter is the approach taken by Jansen and Walters (2022). One of their memorable contributions is coining the term &ldqu

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