WeDecolonizeVUB is a brand new project by the University Centre for Development Cooperation (UCOS) that takes place at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) campus.

The project consists of a library space on campus, a social media platform and a series of events that are all carried by a diverse group of racialized students, they are the beating heart of the project. With the before mentioned group we aim to give the students of the VUB the opportunity to learn more about (de)colonization and anti-racism by creating a safe space that will tackle these sensitive topics and make room for students to meet, interact and exchange their thoughts and opinions.

The library in the yellow campus dorms of the VUB is filled with books that were written by non-western authors concerning anti-racism and decolonization and other fiction and non-fiction books. In addition to this, WeDecolonizeVUB aspires to organize events where non-white speakers will be invited to dialogue with the students regarding specific topics within the (de)colonization and anti-racism theme.

Vision

The university, as a space and an institution, is based on white, male, heteronormative foundations and functions as a  continuation of coloniality.

Moreover, the university plays an important role in terms of knowledge production and has a significant influence on shaping the world view and overall knowledge. Therefore it is essential to deconstruct the so-called universal character of Eurocentric knowledge by supplementing and contrasting this knowledge with intellectual and cultural output from other backgrounds, perspectives and sources. It also requires a thorough examination of long-standing and integrated systems of knowledge production and pedagogical approaches in order to tackle this knowledge imbalance which universities often sustain.

The universal and perceived neutral character the university benefits from, is not only an epistemological issue, it also generates oppressing structures that create spaces on campus of suppression and violence experienced by racialized students.

© Elisa Hulstaert

© Elisa Hulstaert

Mission

The library was the first endeavor of the project, it provided books from racialized authors and/or non-Western authors on decolonization and antiracism, but also fiction books. The main idea is to provide students with tools to actively deconstruct their Western-dominated worldview.

Besides this, we also contribute to the deconstruction of the dominant Western worldview by organizing events, to provide students with knowledge and theories that are marginalized by structures of the university. WeDecolonizeVUB  wants to provide students with knowledge, theories, perspectives and topics for which the regular curricula have up to this point not provided a platform.
The lack of representation of racialized students and their experiences in courses, the lack of hotlines to report certain traumatic experiences and an adequate follow-up, these are just a couple of examples illustrate this violent character of the university as an institution.

WeDecolonizeVUB therefore also envisages creating a space for racialized students where they can express their aspirations, frustrations, struggles, joy, etc. in order to make the university a better place for racialized students to fully develop in.

Who is WeDecolonizeVUB?

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Library

Reserve your books online, using the form below

Click here to consult our library catalogue.

Books can be picked up Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the library (right next to the study guidance centre at the VUB).

Make a book reservation

Book donations

WeDecolonizeVUB is constantly looking for books to add to the library! In our library we want to offer books on decolonization, anti-racism, and fiction and non-fiction literature written by non-Western authors. If you have books that you want to donate or lend us, please send a message to latifah.abdou@ucos.be.

Contact

Got a question or recommendation for the team? You can contact daisy.vandevorst@ucos.be or latifah.abdou@ucos.be for anything related to WeDecolonizeVUB.

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