Annual Lecture and Performance Series

The Griot Institute for the Study of Black Lives and Cultures ensures consistent intellectual and artistic engagement with issues of importance to Black lives and cultures. Lectures and discussions provided through the annual speaker series, book groups and co-sponsored film series allow students, faculty and staff to engage directly with emerging and prominent, cutting-edge thought leaders. The Griot Institute conducts research and hosts lectures that examine Black Lives and Cultures from Africa to its global Diasporas. The speakers in the series align with faculty led courses to enhance student learning with high impact learning experiences through critical dialogues.

Griot Spring Series 2025

Decolonial Education and Liberatory Learning

A decolonial approach does not confine itself to critiques of colonial epistemes and world order; it demands employing heterarchical approaches to knowledge.

The Griot Institute theme in 2024–25, Decolonial Education and Liberatory Learning, centers the simultaneous yearning for and creation of decoloniality in Black intellectual, artistic, activist and educational traditions. Building on Toni Morrison's vision of a clearing, the Griot Institute for the Study of Black Lives & Cultures intends for this yearlong focus to create a clearing for the Bucknell community to grapple with how to create decolonial education and liberatory learning. In response to questions raised by students and as we cross over the 150-year mark of Black students studying at Bucknell, the aim is to foster conversations across campus about the legacies of colonialism, the erasures of non-European ways of thinking and doing, the persistent practices of anti-blackness, and how we might apply decolonial approaches in reclaiming alternative strategies in our lives. A decolonial approach offers alternative conceptualizations and examples of how to exist in the world, including how to interact with knowledge.

Hegemonic imposition of European colonial knowledge and colonial ways of being emerged with Atlantic expansion (1440–1600), settler colonialism (1492–present) and enslavement of Africans (1525–1888). Decolonial theory and strategies envision, draw upon and deploy thinking, institutions and language that existed before and beyond colonial theory and praxis. Pushing against post-colonial theorists, Claire Gallien and جالیان كلیر contend that "the decolonial turn is not about augmenting and elevating Western episteme with new content. Rather, … it clears a space for other epistemologies and cosmovisions to circulate in Western academia."

A decolonial approach does not confine itself to critiques of colonial epistemes and world order; it demands employing heterarchical approaches to knowledge. If decoloniality is a gesture that de-normalizes and problematizes normative epistemologies while bolstering formations that were repressed or erased under coloniality, how might we apply decoloniality in our practices of education and learning? Kihana Miraya Ross and Jarvis R. Givens provide a starting point. They echo Morrison's theory of the clearing as a space of creativity and security when they commit to "carving out space — a clearing, if you will — for Black folks to sit with the weight of antiblackness in education while also engaging in the political act of freedom dreaming, to imagine strategies for wrestling with our educational realities while building toward more just educational
futures."

Recent Lecture and Performance Series Events

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Griot Institute for the Study of Black Lives & Cultures