Cold War University. Humanities and Arts Education as a (Battle)field of Diplomatic Influence and Decolonial Practice
Recent calls to “decolonize the university” have captivated campuses all over the globe. From the #RhodesMustFall movement in Cape Town and Oxford to campaigns against casteism in Indian universities, the supposed universality of the university and its epistemologies are under public scrutiny. Students and scholars across the world increasingly question the terms upon which the university and education more broadly exist and operate. In 2012, Ramón Grosfoguel, Capucine Boidin and James Cohen dedicated a special issue to the question, asking “what it could mean to decolonize the Westernized university and its Eurocentric knowledge structures'' (Boidin, Cohen, and Grosfoguel 2012). They claim that “one important path to renewal would involve opening the university resolutely to interepistemic dialogues with a view to building a new university”. This university is imagined as a “pluriversity”, based on an understanding of “universal knowledge as pluriversal knowledge” (ibid.).
This special issue seeks to address these epistemological questions from historical, geopolitical, and institutional perspectives by investigating the mutual influence of Cold War politics and universities. The contributors to this issue elaborate on the role Cold War politics played in the development of the university and arts education – in particular theatre education – as we understand them today; and, conversely, the role that the university and arts education – again, in particular theatre education – played in Cold War politics and the politics of decolonization that formed part of it.
Copyright (c) 2021 Judith Rottenburg , Lisa Skwirblies
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