Navigating the Modern University: Coloniality, Racism, Neoliberalism and Racialized Bodies

Speaker: Dr. Sereana Naepi, University of Auckland

Date: May 23, 2:30-4 PM

Location: Ponderosa 2012 map

Title: Navigating the Modern University: Coloniality, Racism, Neoliberalism and Racialized Bodies

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Abstract:  Aotearoa New Zealand’s universities are currently grappling with what it means to exist within Aotearoa and the Pacific. Our universities are based on colonial values centring European knowledge and scientific methods. Recent public controversies have included open letters pointing to racism at the University of Waikato, the celebration of the first Pacific vice-chancellor, who then announced massive academic cuts and the Listener Seven Article, which condemned the inclusion of Mātauranga Māori in the New Zealand science curriculum. However, while these national controversies play out, racialized bodies are expected to continue their business-as-usual activities in the face of racism, colonialism and neo-liberal measurements of success. This presentation traces these broader controversies and their impact on the everyday lived moments in New Zealand universities to raise questions about how we navigate our institutions when these wider public debates shape our existence.

Bio: Dr. Sereana Naepi is a Rutherford Discovery Fellow whose work considers how neoliberalism and equity intersect in higher education. Dr Naepi’s work in inequity in universities and the research sector has sparked national debate and shaped the sectors’ funding in Aotearoa, New Zealand. As an emerging Pasifika researcher, she was the Associate Director of All My Relations, an Indigenous research centre at Thompson Rivers University (Canada) and co-founded the Indigenous research development program Knowledge Makers in Canada. She is a senior-lecturer at the University of Auckland, a councillor on the Royal Society Te Apārangi Board and member of New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s Science Board.