Topic outline

  • Lecturers
    Kiia Beilinson:

    Miia Laine:

    Where & When
    Thursdays 15.15-18.00

    Course Description
    This course is an introduction to decolonial thinking and practice. Students will develop a critical lens to look at norms and power structures within their own disciplines. Through discussion and reflection we will find tools to look at objectivity, methods, narratives and the production of knowledge in order to unlearn and create a more just academia.

    Learning Outcomes
    After completing the course, students will be able to

    • understand the complexity of decolonisation as an international and interdisciplinary process

    • be able to contextualise their own discipline within the sphere of decolonial thinking

    • understand the power dynamics of how knowledge is produced and distributed

    • critically apply decolonial methods within the university setting as well as in work and industry environments

    Course Schedule
    Pre-reading materials provided a week prior to each session

    4.3. 15.15 - 18.00: Introduction, role of academia and the university
    11.3. 15.15 - 18.00: Virtual visit to National Museum
    18.3. 15.15 - 18.00: Eatnameamet – Hiljainen taistelumme
    25.3. 15.15 - 18.00: Maija Baijukya
    1.4. 15.15 - 18.00: Giovanna Esposito Yussif
    8.4. 15.15 - 18.00: Decolonising disciplines
    15.4. 15.15 - 18.00: Group work presentations: Where to go from here?

    23.4. Learning Diary deadline

    Total: 81h
    of which
    Lectures: 21h
    Individual work (class preparation, learning diary and reflection): 40h
    Group work & communication: 20h

    Grading and Assessment
    The assessment of this course is pass/fail. To receive a pass and the 3 ECTS, students are expected to:

    • attend 6 sessions

    • prepare to sessions with the provided materials

    • participate actively in class

    • write a learning diary

    • produce a group project to be presented in the last session

    Students are provided with pre-reading material to prepare for each session.

    Learning Diary
    A learning diary should be written throughout the course, as reflections after the sessions or readings. It should have a minimum of 1500 words, with a section dedicated to each session.

    Group Work
    At the end of the second session you will be put into groups of three and produce a group work throughout the course that will be presented at the final session. The group work should be inspired by the themes of the course and can be anything born out of reflection with the intent of turning the thoughts from the course into something concrete. Examples of the group work can be a zine, online publication, poster, mindmap, game, code of conduct, ethical guideline, exhibition, performance etc. The group will also be a space for reflecting and discussing outside the sessions.

    Assisting questions for personal reflection in between sessions:
    - What were the core things in class today? Name 1–3.
    - What new discoveries did I make? What did I learn?
    - How are these things related to my field of study?
    - Based on today's class, how do I understand what decolonising means in my field of study/ in my studies in Aalto University?
    - What does decolonising look like in my field of study/ in my studies in Aalto University?

    Online platforms
    The lectures will take place on Zoom.

    Reading materials and all other information about the class will be on MyCourses. There will also be a discussion board where students can start threads.

    Attendance will be marked for every session. Students more than 15 minutes late to the session will be marked as absent.

    Active Engagement
    This class is dependent on the engagement of the students. The more prepared and open you will be, the more rewarding the lectures will be. Zoom can be a tiring learning environment so be aware and forgiving.

    Feedback, questions and discussion are always encouraged. Feel free to ask questions during class in the zoom chat or between classes on My Courses or e-mail. We will start each session with a short feedback round regarding the course and learning where you can share general thoughts. We will also provide a link for giving anonymous feedback.

    Safer space principles for conversation and learning

    • introduced and agreed upon as a group as well as in smaller groups
    • shared responsibility
    • this list is not complete, feel free to suggest edits or additions throughout the course
    1. This shared space is for the process of learning & unlearning. Be compassionate to yourself and others and apologise when needed.
    2. Respect each other, our identities, backgrounds, and rights for self-determination. We all come from various experiences, so let’s appreciate that while staying curious and sensitive to each other’s perspectives.
    3. Converse with respect. Listen to each other's perspectives and ideas, even when they differ from our own. It’s ok to ask questions and it’s ok to disagree. Let’s not judge but strive for understanding. Stay considerate and use trigger warnings if necessary.
    4. Examine and be aware of your own prejudice, bias, and privileges. Consider the power dynamics in your group. 
    5. Respect each other’s physical and emotional boundaries. Express your needs and listen to others' needs.
    6. Respect each other’s time, space & effort. Share the work equally. Do your share, participate, reply/ react to messages, don't leave your peers on hold.
    7. Take care of each other, take breaks and express our needs. 
    8. In case of possible live gatherings, wear face masks, keep a safe distance and avoid using strong scents. Always consider accessibility and the possibility to attend a session virtually from a distance.

    Feel free to contact Kiia or Miia if you have concerns at any time.

    Aalto Code of Conduct

    Additional literature
    Below you can find a list of additional reading recommendations to which students are also encouraged to contribute throughout the course.

    • This is a collaborative list of words and terminology related to the subject of decolonizing.

      Feel free to contribute, when you think of or find out about words that would be helpful in the process of decolonizing your studies! Be sure to include the source to your entry.

    • URL icon
      A collaborative list of resources URL
      Not available unless: You belong to UWAS Currents: Decolonize your studies (Oodi)

      A list of books, articles, links or anything else related to the course that you'd like to share with the other students.

    • URL icon
      Collective whiteboard (FLINGA) URL
      Not available unless: You belong to UWAS Currents: Decolonize your studies (Oodi)
    • Not available unless: You belong to UWAS Currents: Decolonize your studies (Oodi)
    • URL icon
      Anonymous Course Feedback URL
      Not available unless: You belong to UWAS Currents: Decolonize your studies (Oodi)