Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights


25 January 2018
15:30 - 17:00
Utrecht University

Doing Gender Lecture: ‘Decolonizing the University: Gender and Race in Academic Space’ – with Zethu Matebeni, Kopano Ratele, Gloria Wekker, Rolando Vazquez and Phoebe Mbasalaki

Doing Gender Lecture: ‘Decolonizing the University: Gender and Race in Academic Space‘


This conversation is part of the Doing Gender Lectures, organised by the Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies in cooperation with the Graduate Gender Programme (GGeP) at Utrecht University.

On January 25, 2018 from 15.30-17:00 we will host a round table conversation on ‘Decolonizing the University: Gender and Race in Academic Space‘ with Dr. Zethu Matebeni, Prof. Gloria Wekker, Prof. Kopano Ratele, Dr. Rolando Vazques and Dr. Phoebe Mbasalaki. 

The #MustFall movement in South Africa and UK/Oxford as well as the #ReThink movement in the Netherlands have urgently addressed the need to rethink the epistemological foundations of academic knowledge production and the ways in which these foundations might be gendered and racialised. In this conversation between South African and Dutch scholars we’ll discuss experiences, strategies and theories regarding the development of diasporic knowledge networks and new ways of inhabiting academic spaces.

Zethu Matebeni is a senior researcher at the University of Cape Town’s Institute for Humanities in Africa, a convenor of the Queer in Africa series, and a part-time documentary filmmaker. She’s been active in numerous NGOs and activist groups working issues of gender, sexuality, intimacy, and race in South Africa, and has been closely involved with the Rhodes Must Fall movement at the University of Cape Town since it began in 2015.

Gloria Wekker is emeritus Professor in Gender Studies at Utrecht University. A social and cultural anthropologist, she specializes in Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies, African- American and Caribbean Studies. Her book White Innocence; Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race, was published in April 2016 by Duke University Press and has recently been released in a Dutch translation by Amsterdam University Press.

Kopano Ratele is Professor in the Institute for Social and Health Sciences at the University of South Africa (Unisa) and researcher in the South African Medical Research Council-Unisa Violence, Injury and Peace Research Unit. Best known for his work on men and masculinity – specifically in relation to violence, race, sexualities, culture, and tradition – he has published a number of books, scholarly essays, research papers, and shorter pieces on a range of psychological, cultural and social topics. His list of publications included the co-edited book ‘From Boys to Men: Social Constructions of Masculinities in Contemporary Society’ with Rosemarie Buikema among others.

Rolando Vázquez belongs to the movement of decolonial thought. He is associate professor of sociology at University College Roosevelt and  affiliated with the Gender Studies programme of Utrecht University. With Walter Mignolo, he has coordinated for nine years the Middelburg Decolonial Summer School. In 2016 with Gloria Wekker et. al. he wrote the report of the Diversity Commission of the University of Amsterdam. In 2017 he curated the workshop: ‘Staging the End of the Contemporary’ for MaerzMusik at the Berliner Festspiele. His work seeks to contribute to the decolonization of dominant epistemologies, aesthetics and notions of subjectivity.

Phoebe Mbasalaki will defend her PhD thesis ‘Re-imagined Sexualities: Lived Experiences of Black Township Women who Love Women’ at Utrecht University on January 24, 2018. The dissertation centres the lived experiences of black township women in same-sex relationships in Cape Town and Johannesburg and discusses the role of sexuality in colonial and decolonial discourses.


Doing Gender Lecture details:

Thursday January 25, 2018

  • Lecture:    ‘Decolonizing the University: Gender and Race in Academic Space’
  • Time:         15:30 – 17:00 hrs
  • Location:  Utrecht – Kromme Nieuwegracht 80, room 0.06
  • Chair:        Prof. Rosemarie Buikema

This Doing Gender Lecture is free of charge.

Registration is compulsory: