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290107 VU Decolonising and Diversifying Knowledge (2021W)

Understanding Different Worldviews and Theoretical Lenses on Environmental Policy, Practice and Science

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 29 - Geographie
Continuous assessment of course work
Mo 31.01. 11:30-13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 20 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

This course is now being taught online only until the lockdown ends. The Zoom link is as follows: Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 867 1776 8989
Passcode: 650997

Monday 04.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Monday 11.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Monday 18.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Monday 08.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Monday 15.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Monday 22.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Monday 29.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Monday 06.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Monday 13.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Monday 10.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Monday 17.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Monday 24.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II


Aims, contents and method of the course

In Western higher education, we tend to think of scientific reasoning as beyond comparison, suggesting that any other forms of knowledge and knowledge finding are beliefs or cultural traditions, rather than counterpart – and equal – epistemic communities. The purpose of this course is to understand how different ways of seeing the world can enrich the way that we approach environmental change, policy and meaning-making, and why decolonising knowledge is not just a question of equity, but also a way to improve outcomes in science and policy. Rather than suggesting that there is only one way to know the truth (how to research, what counts as knowledge), or one truth, we need to recognise multiple different models of the world. We will examine different examples set by the facilitator, and students (working individually, in pairs or small groups) will be required to bring examples to discuss according to the different themes. The types of questions we will address include ‘What can we learn about different conceptions of time?’, ‘Can you ask the same research question from different disciplinary perspectives?’, and ‘What are different understandings of wellbeing and why do they matter?’. The class emphasises the notion of ‘decolonising’ knowledge and will address this from different perspectives.

In order to support critical thinking, the classes will be emphasise discussion based on presentations by the students. Feedback by the instructor in written and oral form, and feedback by peers in oral form, will help ensure learning, including in how to give constructive peer feedback.
After taking this class students will be able to:
1. Understand key concepts around diversifying knowledge in academia and policy, including sub-disciplines, theoretical perspectives and key terms.
2. Identify the impact of different worldviews on how knowledge and research are framed.
3. Understand the internal disciplinary struggles in Geography.
4. Hone their individual and group presentation skills in English.
5. Learn how to give constructive peer feedback.

Assessment and permitted materials

The assessment will be based on:
2 Short essays of 1500 words (10% each)
Weekly reactions to readings (10%)
Class participation (10%)
Oral presentations (10%)
Summative (final) essay of 4000 words (50%)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

100 - 86 % - Mark 1
85 - 71 % - Mark 2
70 - 56 % - Mark 3
55 - 41 % - Mark 4
40 - 0 % - Mark 5

Examination topics

Marking will take into account the degree of analysis and discussion of relevant literature and documents on the subject, the independent research of sources and materials, the presentation of these results in presentation form and their written elaboration.

Reading list

The course reading list will be available on 1 October. There will be 2-3 mandatory readings per lecture and students will be expected to send comments on readings in advance to the lecturer by email. Readings will primarily be from journal articles.

Association in the course directory

(MG-S3-PI.f) (MG-S4-PI.f) (MG-S6.PI.f) (MG-W5-PI) (BA UF GW 19) (MA UF GW 02-3)

Last modified: Su 21.11.2021 17:28