Conference: Asia and Africa in Transition

Panel: Shifting the approach: decolonising academia in Africa and beyond

Conveners: Decolonising Global Health Working Group within the student organisation Eye on Global Health, University of Copenhagen

Inspired by current efforts to decolonise academic research in general, and the field of Global Health in particular, we propose a panel focused on the importance of decolonisation in scholarship, particularly with regards to Africa and Asia.

When organising a 2-day workshop in October with the support of School of Global Health and Sammen Mod Racisme (Together Against Racism), our goal was to educate students, ourselves included, on systemic racism and the legacy of colonialism within Global Health. Following a successful event where 100 tickets were sold out within the first few days, our objective was to spark conversations that would ripple through the University of Copenhagen.

With this panel, we aim to continue this effort placing a focus where we believe current Global Health academia lacks attention. Our idea for this panel is to present the importance and rationale for decolonising efforts in scholarship. We will invite academics who are experts in the field to share their perspectives and/or good practice. Perhaps most importantly, we would create a space where academics and students from all backgrounds could ask questions and share their experiences. We hope this panel will provide participants with the tools to critically analyse their own motivations for working in their chosen field, as well as reflecting on how they can use their platforms to challenge existing power structures and amplify marginalised voices. We believe this topic is relevant for the ‘Asia and Africa in Transition’ conference theme, in order to acknowledge that a shift in the academic approach is needed when moving towards solutions to global challenges. Furthermore, we believe that this panel would contribute to making sure that systemic inequities, current global power transitions and the enduring legacy of Eurocentric health agendas within Africa and Asia do not go unexamined during the conference.