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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Decolonial Perspective of Knowledge, Power and Place in the Eastern Cape Education System
by Dingle, Ashton Vicky, Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2020, 233; 28262761
Abstract (Summary)

South Africa has a complex history of contested places and knowledges. Through colonization and apartheid, places of importance were taken from the indigenous people and the education system aimed to colonize their minds. These issues of place and knowledge tend to be studied separately; however, they grew out of the same colonial seed. The aim of this dissertation is to examine how knowledge and place tie together in the life of Xhosa students living in the Eastern Cape with particular interest in the experiences of high school learners in regions impacted by former apartheid segregation laws. Using mixed methods, consisting of surveys, interviews, and focus groups, this study explores decolonial themes by assessing students’ relationship with place and knowledge and examining how these differ across place contexts, and education level. Furthermore, archival methods highlighted ways in which these relationships have varied over time. The main results emphasize that the Xhosa are place-makers, not only by changing place names but also changing the meaning of places. Moreover, they have not passively accepted Euro-American knowledge and have maintained key components of their indigenous knowledge system over time. Hopefulness is another way in which students’ express their agency against persisting coloniality and those with a hopeful sense of place also showed a stronger relationship with their indigenous knowledge. It is important to consider high school students’ perceptions of place and knowledge when strategizing ways of decolonizing higher education because these experiences are not static throughout their education. University participants expressed the ways in which their perceptions of knowledge and place had changed since leaving school and the disciplines they studied played a role in their perceptions. Ultimately, the strongholds of coloniality in the entire education system not only impacts the endeavor to decolonize the university but also to redistribute land and decolonize places in South Africa.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Chikanda, Abel A.
Commitee: Egbert, Stephen S., Johnson, Jay J.T., Adams, Glenn G., Ojiambo, Peter P.
School: University of Kansas
Department: Geography
School Location: United States -- Kansas
Source: DAI-A 82/9(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Geography, Multicultural Education, Education history, Education, African history
Keywords: Agency, Coloniality, Decolonization, Epistemology, Indigenous knowledge, Place-makers, South Africa
Publication Number: 28262761
ISBN: 9798597008110
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