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Decolonising Psychology

In Psychology, we are committed to creating Higher Education Environments that afford all students an equal opportunity for success, and are diverse and inclusive. We recognise that existing curricula disproportionately represent WEIRD and male voices.

For this reason, we borrow principles from Cultural Psychology (understanding culture from its own frame of reference) and Liberation Psychology (disrupting ideological discourses that attempt to give a hegemonic 'normality' and the differential, often disadvantaged, histories of nations, races, communities and peoples) to decolonise our curriculum and represent the diversity of our society and sources of knowledge.

Current initiatives

We do this through three main initiatives:

  1. Decolonising our curriculum (e.g. by diversifying our reading lists and citations to include BIPOC-authored papers and celebrating the achievement of BME scientists)
  2. Creating safe and welcoming spaces to discuss systematic biases in society and expand our own learning (e.g. Decolonise Psychology Book Club
  3. Inviting global experts to lend their expertise (e.g. Decolonize STEMEXE & EDI Guest Speaker Series). 

Share your ideas

We welcome and value students' input and suggestions. If you would like to share your feedback or experiences with us (confidentiality guaranteed) please do email psychologyEDI@exeter.ac.uk

Some of the books read so far at the Decolonise Psychology Book Club

We have a book club! In the book club, we read books that aim to disrupt systematic biases in society. We meet monthly to discuss what we learned, what we liked and what we didn’t like. Some of the books we have read include:

  • Propaganda Blitz by David Edwards and David Cromwell
  • Empireland by Sathnam Sanghera
  • Natives by Akala
  • The Doctor and the Saint by Arundhati Roy
  • feminism is for everybody by bell hooks
  • Sissy by Jacob Tobia

Book club ethos and principles (Dropbox file)

How to join and FAQs

Who can join? 

Anyone can join the book club- it is open to all students and staff. 

Why should I join? 

We believe that an informal and safe space used to discuss systematic biases is a great way of increasing our knowledge of things happening around us without feeling ‘put on the spot’. In the book club, every voice is heard and respected and dialogue is encouraged. This is also a great way to meet peers and interact with staff in more informal settings. 

How can I join?

If you want to join our book club please email psychologyEDI@exeter.ac.uk

What if I didn’t have time to finish the book?

It doesn’t matter! Everyone gets busy! Join us for fruitful discussions anyway!

Do I have to pay for the book? 

No! We choose books that can be found in e-format or the University library! So it’s free for all!

I cannot make a face-to-face session- can I attend online? 

Yes! We want this to be accessible to everyone, so you can attend online (via zoom). 

We apply principles from Cultural Psychology (understanding culture from its own frame of reference) and Liberation Psychology (disrupting ideological discourses that attempt to give a hegemonic 'normality' and the differential, often disadvantaged, histories of nations, races, communities and peoples) to help represent the diversity of society and actively engage in critical discussions about systematic biases.

For example, we (the EDI team) have begun assessing references and citations for each module across the BSc degree and proposing changes in citations using BIPOC-authored papers. We have also moved beyond this to propose in-class exercises that help showcase existing biases and ways to reduce them within HE and more generally.

BME Psychology and Anti-Racist work (Dropbox file) - please add your own contributions!

Useful resources (Dropbox file)

Example of work in progress

Decolonize STEMEXE is an initiative to bring together colleagues in STEMM departments for collaborative learning and action to support decolonization of curricula, teaching and research practices within STEMM at Exeter.

The initiative aims to provide an informal forum for discussion, advice and support – acknowledging that many members of the community are not clear on what it means to decolonize, particularly in STEMM subjects.

It includes the Decolonize STEMEXE Seminar and Discussion Series as a key focal point for this process and for bringing the discussion to the wider STEMM community at Exeter. The series focuses on topics brought forward by our STEMM community and alternates between internal and external seminar contributors.

Information and FAQs

What is the format of the series?

  • Monthly 1.5hr sessions with a mixture of internal and external speakers
  • Seminars focused on decolonization of teaching and research practices within STEMM

Who can come?

The series is aimed at anyone interested in or involved with decolonizing work across STEMM areas at the University of Exeter. 

How can I attend?

If you want to join please email psycholgyEDI@exeter.ac.uk or decolonizestemexe@exeter.ac.uk