1. Behind the project
2. Who we are
3. Goals
4. Interventions
5. Funding
6. Bibliography

1. Behind the project

We are inspired by Arturo Escobar’s Designs for the Pluriverse which presents an anti-capitalist and activist view that reorients design toward the radical interdependence of all life. His approach to design showcases how designing anything (objects, tools, knowledge, policies, or institutions) simultaneously designs ways of being. And unfortunately, the designs for universality that typify the western university eclipse many possibilities for knowing and being in the world. “Designing the Pluriversity” emphasizes participatory, collaborative, situated, and socially responsible design that responds to the various crises (racism, sexism, neoliberalism, Eurocentrism) brought about by hegemonic western university.

In opposition to the universality presupposed by Eurocentrism, the pluriverse is defined as a world where many worlds fit, a world where the process of knowledge production is open to epistemic diversity, a world that transcends disciplinary divisions, abandons the notion of universal knowledge for humanity, and embraces instead a horizontal strategy of openness to dialogue among different epistemic traditions.

We wholeheartedly embrace the project to decolonize the university, and following Walter Mignolo, believe that “decoloniality is opening the horizon of pluriversity.” We aim to complement “delinking” decolonial work with “relinking” and affirmative world-building practices that not only critique the repressive forces of coloniality at work in the university, but also imagine, prepare, design, and celebrate the founding of the Pluriversity.  

2. Who we are

Stacey Moran 
Stacey Moran is Assistant Professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English. Her work lies at the intersections of feminist theory and technoscience, design studies, and critical pedagogy. Her current research investigates how methods in the physical sciences provide a foothold for thinking about the materiality of knowledge production.
Moran is also Associate Director of the Center for Philosophical Technologies (CPT), a global hub for critical and speculative research on philosophy, technology and design. Through the CPT’s Global Education initiative, Moran directs a design summer school in the Netherlands, and collaborates with the Laboratory for Expanded Design (LxD). Moran’s research informs her creative practice as a member of the design collective, NON+ based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Their work explores the relation between design, mythology and material practices.

Cala Coats
Dr. Cala Coats is Assistant Professor of Art Education at Arizona State University. Her teaching and research examine intersections of ethics and aesthetics with an emphasis on public pedagogy and socially engaged art. She is particularly interested in the affective potential of curiosity and attunement, using place-based, sensorial, and embodied inquiry to explore ecological interconnectedness.

Mirka Koro

Mirka Koro (Ph.D., University of Helsinki) is a Professor of qualitative research and Director of doctoral programs at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University. Her scholarship operates in the intersection of methodology, philosophy, and socio-cultural critique. She has published in various qualitative and educational journals and she is the author of Reconceptualizing qualitative research: Methodologies without methodology (2016), co-editor of Disrupting data in qualitative inquiry: Entanglements with the Post-Critical and Post-Anthropocentric (2017), and co-editor
of Intra-Public intellectualism: Critical qualitative inquiry in the Academy (2021).

3. Goals

- To take seriously critical knowledge production and knowledge genealogies from a plurality of traditions.

- To design the Pluriversity through collaboration and experimentation in multiple locations and traditions.

- To build an archive of experimental tools and techniques to be shared across disciplines, knowledges, and institutions.

- To widen the conversation and promote cross-national, cross-sectoral, and cross disciplinary communication.

- To catalyze dialogue around the relations between decolonizing the university and designing the Pluriversity.

- To initiate tools and action items that “unground” the western university and found the pluriversity.

4. Interventions

Possible areas of intervention:

- BIPOC student access to and retention in the university

- BIPOC faculty access to careers and support for publication, funding, tenure and promotion

- Research content and methods

- Disciplines of knowledge, curricula, and syllabi

- Teaching and learning methods

- Institutional structure, university governance, and materiality of higher education            

- Relations between the university, labor and working conditions     

- Relations between the university, land grants, and gentrification
- Relations between the university and neoliberal capitalism

- Attending to epistemological dominance of Eurocentric knowledge and seeking cognitive justice

- Attending to intercultural translation

- Acknowledging the individuals and groups who have been contributing to decolonizing work without compensation, promotion or recognition

- Acknowledging that our educational programs are colonial constructions, and having conversations about how we construct them

- Preparing our people and programs to engage in “dangerous dialogues”

- Eliminating the “deficit model” in which BIPOC must “overcome” systemic racism

Areas ripe for experimentation:

- Create opportunities for imagining and envisioning BIPOC presence under current material and ecological conditions

- Create physical and material spaces that reflect BIPOC peoples, histories, contributions, languages, aesthetics, diversities

- Consider recruitment and retention strategies

- Implement and sustain programmatic approaches to the inclusions of knowledges

- Develop an advisory circle to imagine and guide new implementations

- Collaborate with BIPOC scholars 

- Celebrate and honor BIPOC students, faculty, staff, and alumni

- Deconstruct the neutrality of whiteness

- Work to challenge colorblindness and meritocracy

- Identify, name, and work to correct White dominance in the curriculum design, outcomes, and resources materials

For more decolonizing ideas, see Dr. Shauneen Pete:
Pete, Shauneen. "100 Ways: Indigenizing & decolonizing academic programs." aboriginal policy studies 6.1 (2016).

5. Funding

“Designing the Pluriversity” is funded by Arizona State University’s Institute for Humanities Research and the Studio for Germinating Technologies (SGT) at the Center for Philosophical Technologies (CPT) which “offers a tempo­rary home for ideas, pedagogies,and provocations that need careful attention so they can grow, evolve, and find their place in the world. The SGT is especial­ly interested in technologies for thought and practice that are in their embryonic phase of development, but that chal­lenge dominant systems of knowledge and power, and for this reason have yet to find a suitable environment to promo­te their growth and maturation.”

6. Bibliography

Aman, Robert. "En Route from University to Pluriversity via Interculturality." Decolonizing the Westernized University: Interventions in Philosophy of Education from Within and Without (2016): 95.

Arday, Jason, and Heidi Safia Mirza, eds. Dismantling race in higher education: Racism, whiteness and decolonising the academy. Springer, 2018.

Boidin, Capucine, James Cohen, and Ramón Grosfoguel. "Introduction: From university to pluriversity: A decolonial approach to the present crisis of western universities." Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge 10.1 (2012): 2.

de Sousa Santos, Boaventura, et al. Decolonizing the Westernized university: Interventions in philosophy of education from within and without. Lexington Books, 2016.

Escobar, Arturo. Designs for the pluriverse: Radical interdependence, autonomy, and the making of worlds. Duke University Press, 2018.

Hall, Budd L., and Rajesh Tandon. "Decolonization of knowledge, epistemicide, participatory research and higher education." Research for all 1.1 (2017): 6-19.

Iseke-Barnes, Judy M. "Pedagogies for decolonizing." Canadian Journal of Native Education 31.1 (2008): 123-148.

Mignolo, Walter. The darker side of western modernity: Global futures, decolonial options. Duke University Press, 2011.

Moten, Fred, and Stefano Harney. "The university and the undercommons: Seven theses." Social Text 22.2 (2004): 101-115.

Law, Ian. "Building the Anti-racist University, action and new agendas." Race Ethnicity and Education 20.3 (2017): 332-343.

Martin, Fran, Fatima Pirbhai-Illich, and Shauneen Pete. "Beyond culturally responsive pedagogy: Decolonizing teacher education." Culturally responsive pedagogy. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2017. 235-256.

Mbembe, Achille Joseph. "Decolonizing the university: New directions." Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 15.1 (2016): 29-45.

Pete, Shauneen. "100 Ways: Indigenizing & decolonizing academic programs." aboriginal policy studies 6.1 (2016).

Pete, Shauneen, Bettina Schneider, and Kathleen O’Reilly. "Decolonizing our practice: Indigenizing our teaching." First Nations Perspectives 5.1 (2013): 99-115.

Quijano, Aníbal. "Coloniality and modernity/rationality." Cultural studies 21.2-3 (2007): 168-178.

Reiter, Bernd, ed. Constructing the Pluriverse. Duke University Press, 2018.

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. Decolonizing Methods: Research and Indigenous Peoples, 1999.

Tate, Shirley Anne, and Paul Bagguley. "Building the anti-racist university: Next steps." (2017): 289-299.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o Decolonizing the Mind, 1981.

Tuck, Eve, and K. Wayne Yang. "Decolonization is not a metaphor." Decolonization: Indigeneity, education & society 1.1 (2012).

Wilson, Shawn. Research is Ceremony: Indigenous research methods. Fernwood Publishing, 2008.

Silvia Pillow Neretti ︎ Visual Communication & Web work ︎