Whose pedagogy is it anyway? Decolonizing the syllabus through a critical embrace of difference

Sulafa Zidani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The higher-education student body in the United States is increasingly diverse. Diversity and transnationalism are present in the classroom through the increased numbers of students and instructors who are international and/or non-White-identifying. However, syllabi in media, communication, and cultural studies remain centered around an orthodox body of literature that has come to be conceived of as the canon, consisting of scholars who are mostly white, male, and U.S.-American or European. This essay brings communication, culture, and media studies theories into conversation with critical pedagogy to suggest changes in the organization of syllabi and class activities. Namely, I use participatory culture, critical and decolonial pedagogical theories, and Black and transnational feminist pedagogy, to suggest a critical embrace of different as an approach for designing syllabi that center the students rather than the Western-rooted tradition. This paper is part of the critical body of knowledge that pushes for a decolonizing and transnationalizing intervention in higher education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-978
Number of pages9
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • critical
  • decolonial
  • feminist
  • global
  • pedagogy
  • transnational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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