Research Group Literature & Religion
UiB Literature and Religion and Høgskulen i Volda Literature Research Groups

Decolonizing our Research and Teaching: A Collaborative Seminar

Students protest for decolonization in the UK
Students protest as part of the anti-colonial Rhodes Must Fall campaign in the UK
Photograph: DAVID HARTLEY/REX/Shutterstock

UiB Literature & Religion Research Group and the Høgskulen i Volda Literature Research Group invite members of both research groups and other interested members to a two-day collaborative workshop on "Decolonizing our Research and Teaching". Places are available first to members of either research group, and then on a first-come, first-serve basis to other UiB researchers. Please be sure to register by 11 October at noon to secure your place at the registration link on the side of the page.


The schedule of events is as follows. Please note that for the Thursday discussions, advanced readings have been posted:


THURSDAY 17 OCTOBER - Decolonizing Workshop

10:30-12:00 Plenary Discussion lead by Dr. Rebecca Scherr, UiO

“Unpacking the phrase ‘Decolonizing higher education’”

Discussion questions:

  • What is your understanding of the phrase “decolonizing higher education”? And what is your initial reaction to the phrase? Why do you think this perspective has come to Norway now?

  • What might “decolonization” look like in practice? In teaching? Research? Administration? 

  • Why is it important--or not--to navigate decolonization efforts and discourses? When is it relevant and/or not a relevant perspective?

12:00-13:00 lunch

13:00-14:00 Discussion groups on pre-circulated critical readings (Links are available at the bottom of this page, or in a Dropbox link here.)

Choose one reading (or read both!):

  1. Ngūgī wa Thiong’o, Decolonizing the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (London, 1986), Ch 1: “The Language of African Literature” 

  2. Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (London, 1999), Ch 1: “Imperialism, History, Writing, and Theory” (Introduction also included in PDF, but optional) 

14:00-14:30 Plenary debrief lead by Dr. Scherr

14:30-15:00 coffee

15:00-16:30 Workshop  Challenges and Opportunities in Our Own Research and Teaching

  • For this workshop, please bring in a list of 2-3 concrete ways in which your teaching/research could be changed to bring in other perspectives: either opportunities that you already see, or challenges that you would like to brainstorm how to overcome.


FRIDAY 18 OCTOBER - Nugget Workshop - Open Theme/Methodology

The ’nugget workshop’ approach was first developed by the Literature and Religion Research Group at a workshop with Mieke Bal in 2015. It is based on the idea that discussing a ’nugget’ sized piece (1-2 pages) of the primary material you’re researching (literature, historical text, sacred text, image, artefact, etc) with colleagues from outside your immediate field can result in fresh, stimulating ways of thinking about it. Doing this in small, interdisciplinary groups encourages new connections between different kinds of evidence and different kinds of questions - and it’s a great way of learning about what your colleagues are working on too. 


  • For this seminar, please send in a “nugget” handout by Monday 14 Oct to Siri.Vevle@hivolda.no. Your nugget should be about 1-1.5 pages of text or other media of primary material from your current research (in original language & English translation), followed by 3 research questions to drive group discussion. 

  • A nugget can be a key extract of anything you are working on at the moment that might benefit from an interdisciplinary conversation of people outside your immediate field. 

  • On your nugget handout please include a heading with your name, institution, department, and email address. 

  • We will group nuggets and pre-circulate the handouts by email on Wed 16 Oct. 

9:00-9:15 Introduction: How to get the most out of the nugget-based workshop approach 

9:15-10:15 Nugget session 1: in small groups by theme/methodology

10:15-10:30 coffee

10:30-11:30 Nugget session 2: in small groups by theme/methodology

11:30-12:00 Plenary reporting

12:00-13:00 lunch

13:00-14:00 Update about relevant research projects in Volda and Bergen

14:00-15:00 Brainstorm on collaboration and networking: what’s next? 

Generously funded by the HUMEVAL grant to the Literature & Religion Research Group