WP259 Decolonising linguistics: A southern African textbook project

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This paper uses a decolonial lens to explore the development of a southern African Linguistics textbook. Working with Santos’s sociology of emergences, it argues that the project created a participatory space which enabled emerging academics to develop as scholars. It suggests that a key aspect of this growth can be attributed to the shift in register that writing for a first-year audience required, and that writing collaboratively allowed new and enriching collegial relations to emerge. It further traces how the experience of bringing the text to publication engendered a sense of confidence and ‘euphoria’, a prerequisite for the development of voice and epistemic authority. Also drawing on Mignolo, this paper argues that changing the ‘terms’ of the disciplinary conversation is a prerequisite to changing the ‘content’. In other words, decolonising the curriculum depends first on enabling local scholars to see themselves as producers, not just consumers, of knowledge.