Our June 2021 episode features two accomplished leaders in the movement to decolonize higher education. Graduates Leah Trotman and Catherine Morkel share their work to establish a more anti-racist, decolonial liberal arts curriculum at Agnes Scott College,. We analyze institutional responses to student leaders who demand that institutions make good on their surface commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
More About Our Guests
Our guests authored, with colleagues Elizabeth Dudley and Alexis Mack, a valuable example of the necessary thinking about the importance of decolonizing the curriculum.
Leah Trotman is 2021 Student Government Association President at Agnes Scott College and a senior International Relations major. She is also both a Truman and a Marshall Scholar, with public health research experience at the CDC and in her home island, the U.S. Virgin Islands. Catherine Morkel is the 2021 SGA Vice President. She is a senior Chemistry major and peer leader on campus.
Some would say that a podcast with college students is somewhere down the intellectual hierarchy chain from the top Freirean and radical pedagogy scholars—and if this is you, we suggest re-reading Freire. He reminds us: “Liberatory education is fundamentally a situation where the teacher and the students both have to be learners, both have to be cognitive subjects, in spite of being different. This, for me, is the first test of liberating education, for teachers and students both to be critical agents in the act of knowing.”
What Leah and Catherine are up against, of course, is a neoliberal, capitalist institution, a panopticon of power relations, if you will. And they are up against an institution they care deeply about in our critical assessment. Any one listening to this podcast who has been or is a student activist can attest to the obstacles the dominant structure places in the path of systemic change.