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Interculturality for social justice: Launch event

 The first event of the Interculturality for Diversity and Global Learning research group, a colloquium on  ‘Decolonizing theories and methodologies for researching interculturality for social justice’, took place on 26th January 2021. 

Decolonizing theories and methodologies for researching interculturality for social justice: Programme

Professor Nikita Dhawan: "What difference does difference make? Intersectionality, diversity and global justice"

Focusing on the intersections, but also the tensions between key categories like race, class, gender, sexuality, religion and caste from a transnational  postcolonial-queer-feminist perspective, this paper addresses the question whether the formative concepts of intersectionality and diversity are an efficacious tools for achieving global justice for marginalized constituencies or whether they inadvertently consolidate the hegemony of an entitled majority by failing to realize the emancipatory possibilities they promise.  

About Nikita Dhawan

Nikita Dhawan is Professor of Political Science and Gender Studies at the University of Gießen, Germany. Her publications include: Impossible Speech: On the Politics of Silence and Violence (2007); Decolonizing Enlightenment: Transnational Justice, Human Rights and Democracy in a Postcolonial World (ed., 2014); Global Justice and Desire: Queering Economy (co-ed., 2015); Negotiating Normativity: Postcolonial Appropriations, Contestations and Transformations (co-ed., 2016); Difference that makes no Difference: The Non-Performativity of Intersectionality and Diversity (ed., 2017) and Reimagining the State: Theoretical Challenges and Transformative Possibilities (co-ed., 2019). She received the Käthe Leichter Award in 2017 for outstanding achievements in the pursuit of women’s and gender studies and in support of the women’s movement and the achievement of gender equality. 


Dr Giuliana Ferri: Beyond otherness: a post-human framework for intercultural communication

The focus of my work in the intercultural field is to problematise essentialist notions of culture and identity and instrumental notions of intercultural competence. I argue that the binary self/other from which much research on interculturality is theoretically dependent is increasingly problematic and fails to capture the complexities of intercultural experiences. I use Donna Haraway’s notion of cyborgs to focus on the contextual, processual and immanent character of engagement between embodied subjects.

This theoretical engagement with the field of interculturality aims to inform methodological approaches that seek to capture the complexity of cultural belonging and its embodiment in language, lived experiences, artefacts and personal narratives.

Dr Gunjan Wadhwa: ‘Negotiating difference, Contesting temporalities: Education as a site of struggle in Adivasi identities in India

In this talk, I highlight the dominance of colonial/temporal discourses of development in the production of indigenous Adivasi identities through education in a local village community in India. I illustrate how the Adivasis reiterate the dominant view of development, which invokes referring to themselves in deficit. However, I argue that the taking up of normative temporal discourses by the Adivasis is constitutive of their resistance to the regulatory categories and their struggles to demand social justice in a strategic navigation of their identities.

About Gunjan Wadhwa

Gunjan is an incoming ESRC Research Fellow at the Department of Education, Brunel University London. She completed a PhD in Education at the Centre for International Education, University of Sussex, UK on Adivasi identities in an area of civil unrest in India. Her research troubles the dominant discursive strains that produce the post-colonial nation-state and citizen, and through this position marginalised groups like the Adivasis in opposition to ideas of the ‘modern’. In engaging with national policy and local communities, her work encourages a critical approach to social categories and difference in the Global South.


Professor Maria Tsouroufli and Dr Dorottya Redai:  ‘The abject others’: Intercultural research as a site of resistance of white hegemony and Anglo centrism

In this talk, we highlight the dominance of Anglo centric discourses of gender, culture, and religion in the conceptualization, conduct, and dissemination of empirical, funded research about social justice within a European context. We illustrate how European researchers/scholars resist dominant notions of female emancipation and progress encapsulated in colonial discourses of ethnic deficit and Anglo hegemony. We reflect on stereotypical notions of East-West and North-South divide and academic self-colonization in the framework of the current anti-gender political propaganda. We also discuss how through emotional labour, researchers negotiate difference and a safe space for completing intercultural work. We argue that although European research funding provides platforms for knowledge production and exchange across different cultures, it can also operate as a site for perpetuating entrenched inequalities and injustices. 

About Maria Tsouroufli

Maria Tsouroufli became Professor of Education at Brunel University in 2019, having worked in education, health and medicine for 20 years. Maria’s international and cross-disciplinary work explores the interfaces of gender, educational policy discourses and professional identities in neo-liberal contexts.  Maria’s research interests and publications cover a wide spectrum of topics, including school related and workplace gender-based violence, academic motherhood, feminist sisterhood, and the reproduction of intersectional inequalities in higher education, collaborative research, and work. Maria and Dori’s book on ‘Gender Stereotyping in Secondary Schools: Case Studies from the UK, Hungary and Italy’ was published in Dec 2020 by Palgrave Macmillan, Gender and Education series.  Her edited collection: Tsouroufli, M. (Eds.) Gender, Careers and Inequalities in Medicine and Medical Education: International perspectives, Series: Equality at Work (Series Editor M. Ozbilgin), Emerald ISBN: 978-178441-690-4, was published in 2015.

About Dorottya Redai

Dorottya Rédai is an independent scholar working in the field of gender, sexuality and education in Hungary. She has a PhD in gender studies from Central European University. Dorottya’s research interests include the reproduction of intersectional inequalities in compulsory education, sex education, and gender in education policies in Central Eastern Europe. Besides her research and training work, she is also an activist in LGBTQ and women’s non-governmental organisations. Her monograph “Exploring Sexuality in Schools. The Intersectional Reproduction of Inequality” was published in 2019 by Palgrave Macmillan.