Re-tracing the "new map of learning":

(Post)colonial library and archival legacies and decolonial struggles in higher education

This RLUK-AHRC fellowship by Dr Alice Corble investigates the postcolonial political economy of the university through the lens of its library, via an archival and ethnographic case study of the University of Sussex. The project interrogates (post)colonial legacies of knowledge constructions, spaces and cultures produced via the Sussex library and archives. It explores historical and diasporic landscapes of learning using a cartographies of knowledge and power approach, in order to inform present calls to decolonise the university and understand the library’s integral role in this. Methods include archival research in the University of Sussex Collection, Library Legacy Collection, and the British Library of Development Studies Legacy Collection, as well as interviews with current and former staff and students. Exploring these untapped archives and lived library experiences reveals both reproduction of, and resistance to, colonial or racialised knowledge formations and disruptions across the university’s 60-year history. Sussex is a powerful site for this case study due to its postcolonial origins and status as the first of Britain’s “new universities” or “plate glass universities‘, founded in 1961.

Follow Alice’s emerging findings on her Sussex research blog Decolonial Maps of Library Learning.

4 archival images depicting moments at sussex uni